Matthew Bates on the key role Hartlepool fans have to play in survival battle

Matthew Bates with his manager of the month award. Picture: HUFC.
Matthew Bates with his manager of the month award. Picture: HUFC.

Matthew Bates reckons the Hartlepool United fans have a massive part to play in his side’s relegation scrap.

Despite a shocking season, and some extremely low attendances from visiting supporters, Pools’ crowds have held up remarkably well after the drop from the Football League for the first time in the club’s history.

And Bates thinks that the punters on the terraces can have a big say in the club’s immediate future - although he accepts performances off the park often go hand-in-hand with what is produced on it.

“We have seen how good the fans can be at this football club,” said Bates.

“We need them to stick with us and help us over the line.

“But we understand that comes with the performance of the team.

“We have to keep playing well to keep them on side.

“We have to keep battling to the end of the season. You can’t not look at the table. We look at it, of course we do.

“But all we can do is keeping doing what we do. That’s the message.”

Bates was rewarded for his bright start in the Victoria Park dugout this week, by being handed the National League manager of the month award for March.

The Pools boss oversaw an unbeaten five game run in the month.

The caretaker only hung up his boots last summer and at the tender age of 31, is one of the youngest manager’s in the game.

He has revealed it was no snap decision to give up playing for coaching - in fact, it’s something he has been planning for since his mid-twenties.

“It was about four or five years ago when I picked up a few injuries,” he said, when asked about his first thoughts about coaching.

“I did my B licence around then. It was about making sure I had something when my playing days ended.

“The one thing is that I am enjoying it.

“I would say every manager I have ever played under has influenced me.

“I have taken advice from managers I have played under recently. I won’t say who they are, though.”