Michael Raynes has revealed that he knew he wanted to sign for Pools from the moment he heard Craig Hignett’s vision for the future at The Super 6 Stadium.
The experienced centre-back was announced as Pools’ second summer signing on Thursday evening, agreeing a permanent deal after playing three games on loan for the Club last term before being struck down by injury.
Raynes was released by Crewe Alexandra at the end of 2018/19 and Hignett was quick to make his move – and that was what sold the fit again 31-year-old on a switch to the North East.
“I’m excited to get going,” he told us.
“I feel like I have unfinished business with Hartlepool, considering how it ended so abruptly last season, so I am really looking forward to getting back there.
“Last year was a horrendous one for me, football-wise, and at times I felt like I was banging my head against a wall but, when I got the opportunity to go on loan to Pools, I really enjoyed it.
“I don’t know what it is, sometimes when you go to a club you just feel at home straight away and that’s what it was like at Pools, a bit like when I was at Carlisle.
“People welcomed me in immediately, it was a good football environment and maybe it’s a Northern thing because fans here appreciate people like me who perhaps aren’t the prettiest but will do anything to win a game!
“I am running out of years to get some more medals so that’s the goal now.
“I think every player and every club up and down the country will have that target at the start of the season but the way the Club is gearing up is really exciting.
“I chatted things over with the missus and we talked about how we want to make these next few years of my career as happy as they can be so once I met the gaffer and Mark (Maguire, Chief Executive) they really sold the vision to me.
“This is a massive Club and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be in this division so I see no reason why we can’t go and have a really good go at it next season.”
The Achilles problem which cut short Raynes’ promising stay with Pools last term is now a thing of the past and the former Stockport County and Oxford United star is back to full fitness.
Indeed, Raynes has revealed that, with his loan deal still in place, there were some discussions about him returning to The Super 6 Stadium for last season’s run-in.
“I’m back fit again now, that injury is all behind me and I have worked hard to get back in to the right condition.
“I don’t think the football Gods were looking after me last season but now I am just totally focused on getting back playing, as I am getting to the later years of my career.
“I could probably have come back up to Pools for the last couple of games last season but we agreed that it wasn’t worth the risk of rushing back when there was nothing too much to play for.
“But I am fit now, I am raring to go and I can’t wait to get started.”