Ryan Donaldson on his Hartlepool United future, his pride at wearing the armband and the club's 'unbelievable' fanbase
Ryan Donaldson admits Hartlepool United's 'unbelievable' fanbase is one of the best around as the midfielder's future remains in the balance.
Skipper Donaldson is one of a number of players who are on the chopping block at the Super 6 Stadium as Craig Hignett considers the make up of his squad for the upcoming National League campaign.Donaldson, one of the higher earners at the club, is out of contract next month, having spent two years at Pools.
And, as yet, a new deal has not been confirmed, a situation which also affects the likes of Scott Loach, Nicky Featherstone, Liam Noble and Carl Magnay.
Donaldson is keen to remain at Pools, but when asked about his future, he said: "I'd rather not talk about it.
"I love being here, but knows what could happen."
One thing that is for certain, though, is the impact the fans had on the players, particularly at the back end of the 2018/19 season.
Noise levels not only increased away from home, but also at the Vic, with punters getting behind the players despite their slide down the National League table.
"I don't imagine you'll get many fanbases outside League One that would follow the club in such numbers," said Donaldson.
"It was just unbelievable on the Bank Holiday weekend at Barrow.
"Even at home, the atmosphere has been superb. The north west corner is something that gets talked about in the dressing room after every game - particularly Halifax but also the atmosphere for Wrexham and Orient.
"I hope the fans don't underestimate the importance they have, or the role they play.
"Home games have just become more enjoyable to play in because of that extra atmosphere created.
"It's a brilliant place to play."
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When asked to summarise the season in a few words, Donaldson came up with four.
"Promising but lacked consistency," he said.
"You know there’s times where we think we play like a really good team, but times where we’ve just let our standards slip, too many times really."
Should his time at Pools end this summer at least Donaldson can walk away having had the honour of captaining the club.
"It's been a sustained high for me," he said.
"The little things have been great - leading the boys out, things like that.
"I have been proud to lead these players out and play for a club of this size."
Captaincy, Donaldson admits, has been one of the high points of his career - and it's a responsibility he's relished.
"People are looking to you for answers and you’ve got to be a bit more diplomatic I think," he said of the qualities he's learned with the armband.
"I’ve really enjoyed it, I won’t lie and say it’s just an armband because i have enjoyed it and it’s something I’ll look back on and say I was captain at this football club.
"The captaincy means a lot to us this club, and to me."