'People saying you’re my hero' - Mark Shelton on the incredible Hartlepool United fan celebrations in Bristol's Millennium Square
For many Hartlepool United fans last Sunday was the best day of their life as Pools clinched a dramatic promotion victory – and Mark Shelton admits it was his too!
Luke Armstrong fired Pools ahead at Ashton Gate against Torquay United in the National League play-off final with Dave Challinor’s side less than a minute away from promotion back to the Football League.
Torquay United goalkeeper Lucas Covolan popped up to equalise deep into injury time to send the game into extra time, thankfully Pools held firm and won 5-4 on penalties to send the travelling 3,100 fans wild.
And the celebrations lasted long into the night, with fans celebrating alongside the players in Bristol’s Millennium Square.
Shelton said: “The lads mean so much to them and I never really saw it like that until we got promoted back to the Football League.
"I kept having fans coming to me say this is the best day of my life and I’m like, it’s the best day of my life as well so we’re in it together man.
“People saying you’re my hero, I don’t see myself as someone like that but if they’re saying it they must mean it.
"This sort of fan base is something you just don’t get in the National League.
"We were saying even if it were a Championship club, would the players be able to go and sing for five hours in a square? Probably not, it just wouldn’t happen.
"No matter how high you go up and play football now, you will probably never get a moment like that after a game with the fans in your life.
"I just tried to take it all in to be honest because you know you’re probably not going to experience anything like it again.
“I tweeted Millennium Square at quarter past 10 and it got 300 likes or something like that so we were like, we have to go now.
"I was the first there, me and Tom Crawford came in a taxi and then everyone started to come. By around midnight the gaffer was there and Buster was one big pole or something as you’d expect!”