Hartlepool United F.C – meeting the opposition

Hartlepool United – meeting the opposition.

Ahead of Hartlepool United’s trip to Merseyside this weekend @StottyHUFC spoke to me about all things Pools. We delve into on and off pitch matters amongst a range of other relevant subjects including his experiences as a fan.

How long have you been a Hartlepool United supporter and how did you first come across the club?

Supported them all my life, so nearly 18 years due to it being my Dad and Grandad’s local club.

What are your best and worst experiences during your time supporting ‘Pool?

The best has to be the playoff final of last season, there’s no doubt about that. The roar when the pen got saved was unbelievable and I’ll probably never get a feeling like it again. The worst? Probably relegation back in 2017, although when the Torquay keeper scored last min that comes very very close.

Random fact about the club/the area?

I’ve only just found this out myself but American singer Meatloaf is a Hartlepool fan!

We’re currently a month into the 2021-22 league campaign but what are your thoughts and expectations for your club in the season ahead and how do they compare to those that you had at the start of last season?

Last season I expected us to get to the playoffs, maybe like 6th or 7th but to not win it. We were brilliant throughout the last campaign, especially the second half of the season. I expect and think we will get a mid-table finish maybe 10-13th although we have started very strongly and with Challinor in charge who knows, the man is magic. 

Dave Challinor is the current gaffer and has been since 2019. What are your thoughts on him and how does he normally approach games from a tactical perspective?

In my opinion Dave’s the best manager we have ever had, certainly the best I can remember. In my opinion, he’s the best in league two due to the fact he took us from a bottom half national league club to playoffs in league two however early it may be. This proves how good he actually is. We usually play with a back three and our captain Nicky Featherstone is the one who keeps us ticking and most of the play goes through him. As a team, we like to play football and not hoof it often. 

Who are the owners of Hartlepool United and what are your thoughts on them? Are there any current off-field projects that are exciting you and other supporters?

Our owner is Raj Singh, a local businessman and I loved him last season when he was backing Dave bringing in players like Luke Armstrong and Jamie Sterry which massively contributed to our promotion. However, he doesn’t seem to be giving Dave what he wants contract wise which is frustrating considering what he’s done for this club and apparently. In terms of off field projects, we are going to be starting on a new modernised stadium soon which brings an element of excitement.

Who are your key players and danger men?

Tyler Burey has to be the man, 3 goals 1 assist in 3 league starts. He has electric pace and his ability to get past a man is second to none. He has been quality, but you also can’t look past Gavan Holohan after his worldie last weekend and overall goal scoring prowess from midfield. 

If we are to take a look at this summer’s transfer recruitment, what are Challinor’s big pieces of business and would you have liked anything else to be done?

This summer we lost our two top scorers from last season who combined got 32 goals which is a big loss, we also lost our best centre back. However, Dave has done well with his recruitment bringing in the likes of Neil Bryne and Tyler Burey who have been brilliant. I still feel like another experienced forward could have been a useful addition, someone who’s good in the air ideally. 

What are your thoughts on Tranmere, as a club in general and who do you believe are their ones to watch?

Tranmere are a good club with great fans and a good side which probably shouldn’t be in this league, considering the way they were demoted. As for ‘ones to watch’ you can’t really look past Liam Feeney and Callum McManaman, both players who are surely too good for this league as they have played much higher in the pyramid. I’m also worried about new recruit Josh Hawkes as ex-players always seem to score against us.

Score prediction for Saturday afternoon’s encounter between Tranmere and Hartlepool at Prenton Park?

I’ll go with a 2-1 Pools win with Luke Molyneux scoring the winner.

20-year-old Tyler Burey is Hartlepool United’s danger man with three goals and one assist in his first three league starts for the club. 

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