'What a feeling' - Nicky Featherstone reflects on a remarkable few seasons and promotion with Hartlepool United
Nicky Featherstone has experienced every emotion going during his spell with Hartlepool United, from the pain of relegation to the National League to the sheer joy of promotion on Sunday.
Hartlepool United are back in the Football League and Featherstone has been reflecting on a remarkable afternoon at Ashton Gate and how he was so pleased to be part of the squad to see Pools back into League Two.
Luke Armstrong had fired Pools ahead against Torquay United 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, incredible drama and adding to the occasion.
Even the penalty shoot-out was packed with drama but Pools did it, thanks to Brad James’ powerful save, and the club can now look forward to, and start fully preparing for, a return to the EFL.
Featherstone, who has captained Hartlepool for the majority of matches this season in Ryan Donaldson’s absence, said: “What a feeling!
"I’ve been here seven years and it’s been pretty dull for the majority of those times.
"It’s been a real struggle at times, I think I’ve had three owners, 10 managers, eight permanent managers in that time so to be amongst the squad that was relegated four years ago and to be part of the squad that has got this club back to where they belong is massive personally for me.
"I wanted to be part of building this team back together and getting it back to where it belongs.
“I didn’t even know it was the keeper [who scored] to be fair.
"We’ve got a lot of fitness in this team and we stick together and believe in how we play and we knew that if we could regroup at full-time, we could get together and go on to win the game and we’ve managed to do that on penalties,” he told BBC Tees.
It has been some turnaround for Featherstone at Pools.
With five goals and 10 assists to his name over the course of the 2020-21 campaign, it is statistically the best season of Featherstone’s career when it comes to goal involvement.