We kick-off our brand new series of My Club features as we turn the spotlight on the lifeblood of Hartlepool United Football Club – the fans.
First up, we’ve got 28-year-old Poolie, Samuel Newton who really is a lifelong Poolie – let’s find out more…
How long have you supported Pools?
My first away game, I’m told, was at six months old (I cried when Birmingham scored apparently!) and I am 28 now so… 28 years, I guess.
Where you usually stand/sit for matches at The Vic?
Cyril Knowles Stand.
How did you first get involved with supporting Pools?
My mam and dad have always been Pools fans too. Living where I come from, it was Pools or Darlo. Not exactly a touch choice!
What can you remember about your first game?
Absolutely nothing! My earliest memories come from constant battling to survive relegation in the late 90s.
Who was your first favourite Pools player?
Ritchie Humphreys is a Club legend and Joel Porter was fantastic but, as a defender, my first player I looked up to was Graeme Lee.
What is your best memory during your time supporting Pools?
I think after relegation from the Football League it made me realise just how incredible the survival had been previously. Cardiff in the Play-Off Final was just too painful to include that season.
Which Pools game stands out most for atmosphere?
Darlo 0 Pools 3 on their own patch. Both clubs were on good runs and had good sides at the time for the game in their new stadium. Enough said.
Which Pools game would you rather forget?
Bristol City beating us in the play-off semi-final when we ended up with no defence to finish the game. There’s been a few though!
What’s the best thing about supporting Pools?
It’s my club! I wouldn’t want it any other way. You don’t get the passion anymore in my eyes at the higher leagues. Fans are being priced out. It’s a more raw emotion at our level and winning and success isn’t common enough that it becomes expected. It’s like a drug when, even though it gets you down, you still want more and more!
If you’re told to lock yourself way for 7-14 days then…
If you had to watch one Pools game on repeat for the whole time, which one would it be?
I would go for Hartlepool 8 Grimsby Town 1, after I looked at conditions and called a dull 0-0 draw before kick-off. Awkward. If you want a second answer, a more bizarre game was perhaps the 2-1 win over Morecambe away. We played some brilliant football that day and it was a proper joy to watch. I remember thinking we had thrown it away when they equalised late on but Jonathan Franks scored a 94th minute (maybe?!) winner in front of a large away following. Absolute limbs!
If you had to watch one Pools goal on repeat for the whole time, which one would it be?
For different reasons, Eifion Williams against Darlo in the 0-3 win is possibly the best goal I’ve seen live for control and finish. But Hugh Robertson’s thunderbolt against Luton at home for sheer destruction of a football.
If you could pick one player, past or present, to be in isolation with who would it be and why?
I never actually saw him play myself, but at one of the reunion evenings I spoke briefly to John MacPhail. There’s a guy who knew his football and knew what it meant to play with commitment and pride. It would be great to get his insight in to the game, how it was and how it is going in the current era at all levels!