Nicky Deverdics believes that Hartlepool United are totally “out of place” in the National League.
The midfielder, who spent a chunk of last season on loan at fifth-tier Dover Athletic, believes that Pools are too big a club to be in with some of the division’s less than appealing, smaller outfits.
The atmosphere around the place changed. The difference was immense and they brought us all together as oneNICKY DEVERDICS
And the people he feels for the most are the fans.
“This club is going to be out of place in the Conference - there is no doubt about it,” said the 29-year-old who joined Pools from Dover 12 months ago.
“The fans here do not deserve that.”
Blame is something which has been flying about after the stark reality of life in the National League begins to hit.
Whether it is down to the players, management or the board, it matters little to Deverdics now.
What he does think, though, is that had interim boss Matthew Bates and his coaching staff been trusted with the reins a game earlier, the future of Pools could well have turned out differently.
“I said to Batesy that if we’d had him in charge before the Barnet game
we would have stayed up – that is just my personal opinion,” he said.
“The atmosphere around the place changed.
“The difference was immense and they brought us all together as one.
“One or two more games and we would still be in the league.
“We can’t pass the buck too much – the players played their part, too.
“But the difference in atmosphere was amazing.”
Deverdics came back into the fold under Dave Jones following a loan spell at former club Dover.
But the former Newcastle United product explained that life for the squad under the previous regime was difficult.
Deverdics continued: “For me it was chalk and cheese.
“All of a sudden when Batesy took over I felt like a player again.
“I was playing under Dave Jones but on the bench under Batesy and yet I felt more valued.
“For me it always seemed to be ‘us and them’ – the management team and the players.
“Danny Cowley has gone in at Lincoln, who were mid-table last season, barely changed any of the squad, and they have romped the National League.
“That is the difference an atmosphere can make. It doesn’t take a lot for things to change.”
Reflecting back on the day Pools suffered the drop, Deverdics has relived the moment when the players found out it was not set to be the historic day everyone hoped for.
“The place was absolutely rocking and then it went quiet,” he said.
“Everyone to a man did their job on the day - we didn’t know the score at Newport but we could sense it.
“It was silence. I looked to the bench and Billy Paynter had his head to the sky. I didn’t have to ask, I knew Newport had scored.”