Joe Ramage: Hartlepool United's continued loss of key players is a concern after duo leave for Doncaster Rovers and Bradford City

There’s a fine line in football when it comes to players leaving clubs and which side of the fence you then sit on.

By Joe Ramage
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 1:00 pm

In a nutshell, there are usually two theories.

You either believe a player wants to leave, in which case you say good riddance, or you believe a club has not ‘done enough’ to keep said player and thus hold grievances against the club.

And for Hartlepool United, at the moment, that coin flip of a decision seems to be happening quite regularly following the departures of Luke Molyneux and Timi Odusina.

Timi Odusina joined Bradford City after rejecting a new deal with Hartlepool United. Picture by FRANK REID

A week ago I wrote how Molyneux’s departure was, at the very least, an opportunity to move forward with things and focus on the new season ahead.

That is not to say that Molyneux’s exit isn’t a worrying blow for Pools who have once again lost their player of the season.

This week, it was the turn of Odusina to confirm his exit from the club and while there was far more grace in the way in which both player and club dealt with Molyneux’s exit, the 22-year-old will be another big miss for Pools.

It’s true, if a player really does have their sights set on leaving then it is difficult for a club, as ultimately the decision always lies with them when they are coming out of a contract.

Luke Molyneux left Hartlepool United for Doncaster Rovers in June. (Credit: Mike Morese | MI New)

It’s also arguable that money talks when it comes to football. The truth is more than likely somewhere in between the two concepts.

But in losing both Molyneux and Odusina, Pools are losing two key players who helped ensure their survival last season.

Irrespective of whether you believe Odusina ‘could’ have a mistake in him, or Molyneux ‘could’ do more in an attacking sense, these are two big players to lose, which also perhaps works against the message the club would ideally like to send out.

Let’s face it, how often do teams lose two of their star men each year? Not very.

Omar Bogle has been linked with a move away from Hartlepool United. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

And who knows, that may increase to three with speculation surrounding the future of striker Omar Bogle.

Bogle was brought in as the ‘statement signing’ for Pools in January, who rescued him from his exiled misery at Doncaster Rovers, but could now be set for a quick exit.

Bogle, who still has two-years remaining on his contract at the Suit Direct Stadium, made a fast start to life at Pools scoring four in eight and was pivotal in the upturn in form for Graeme Lee’s side in February and early March.

But like most, his form nosedived as Pools slumped into an end of season mediocrity.

Again though, if Bogle were to join Molyneux and Odusina in leaving the club, that would represent three big players heading for the exit.

While new manager Paul Hartley is hard at work in the transfer market, there remains something of a question mark as to how some of his new recruits may fare in League Two.

It remains early in pre-season, which means one thing Hartley does have is plenty of time to piece together what is looking like almost a complete overhaul of his squad this summer.

But after Rhys Oates and Luke Armstrong 12-months ago, and Molyneux and Odusina now, Pools cannot afford to continue losing key players season after season.