Joe Ramage: Luke Molyneux's inevitable Hartlepool United exit offers chance to focus on new season ahead

The will he, won’t he saga surrounding Luke Molyneux’s future has finally drawn to a close and maybe it will now give Hartlepool United a chance to move on and really focus on the new season ahead.

By Joe Ramage
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 1:00 pm

Undoubtedly, Molyneux’s exit casts a dark cloud over things at the Suit Direct Stadium - and with perhaps a similar decision pending from defender Timi Odusina to come over the coming days, that cloud may well burst into a little rainfall before the glimmers of light break through under Paul Hartley.

In an ideal scenario, Molyneux would have remained with Pools this season and looked to kick on and progress from what was something of a breakout year for him last season.

Unfortunately that is not the case.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Luke Molyneux has left Hartlepool United to join Doncaster Rovers after failing to agree a new deal at the Suit Direct Stadium. Picture by FRANK REID

But in truth, the news of Molyneux’s departure, much like Odusina’s should a similar story play out, was not much of a surprise.

Negotiations between Molyneux and the club have prolonged over four months now with no outcome. It became clear that Molyneux would be exercising his right to move away from Pools on a free transfer.

Arguably, the contentious part in all of this is the destination in which Molyneux has landed at Doncaster Rovers.

Following their relegation from League One last season, Rovers will compete with Pools in League Two next season which feels somewhat of a missed opportunity for Molyneux to advance up the pyramid.

But while Molyneux’s impact for Pools last season cannot be questioned, and the trend the club appear to be setting in losing their player of the year each season without any monetary gains is a concern, his exit may now provide an opportunity to start focusing on the season ahead and draw a line under things.

Much like Gary Liddle’s recent exit from the club, Molyneux’s departure feels similar.

New manager Hartley has already made moves in the transfer market in what is expected to be a busy summer at the Suit Direct Stadium and he will know only too well he needs to replace Molyneux.

But all of that work can really get going from now following this closure, and in particular over the next week as the club jets off to the Algarve for a warm weather training camp.

There’s always a slight confusion as to when to start referring last season as last season and next season as this season but by the time Pools arrive in Moncarapacho they will already have had a week of training under their belts and the new EFL fixtures will have been released. It feels like then you can really get stuck into the new campaign.

And the week in Portugal will be crucial for Hartley.

While in recent years Pools have had to make do with a pre-season tour of the North East, a trip to the Algarve represents a step up in both class and ambition with regards to where the club intends to be.

Not only that, it will provide Hartley an intimate opportunity to bond with his squad of players and implement his ideas in a unique environment.

It’s a critical summer for Pools, and one of huge transition. Sometimes there can be no in between as to how it unfolds, but that process is now well under way.