We continue our summer series investigating the clubs who have joined Pools in the National League for 2019/20 – and today we’re off to see an old friend.
Nickname: The Hatters
Who’s in charge?
Jim Gannon returned to Stockport County for a third stint in the hotseat in January 2016, leaving his post at Northwich Victoria to rejoin The Hatters.
A club legend having played over 350 times for County during the 1990s, Gannon was also a hit in the dugout, saving them from relegation to non-league in 2006 before guiding them to promotion to League One two years later.
Financial meltdown saw him made redundant in 2009 and, following spells at Motherwell, Peterborough United and Port Vale, he was back at Edgeley Park as boss in 2011 to engineer another escape from relegation to National League North.
He was sacked in 2013 but remained hugely popular with Hatters fans and they were delighted to see him drawn back to Cheshire for a third spell as boss three years ago.
How did they get here?
Stockport County clinched promotion from National League North by winning their first title in over 50 years, securing top spot with a 3-0 win at Nuneaton where they were cheered on by 4,000 travelling fans.
The Hatters had to fight off strong competition from Chorley to land automatic promotion though it looked as though it may have slipped through their fingers when they lost to their rivals in a crunch fixture three games from the end.
However, Chorley’s defeat at Spennmoor two days later reopened the door for Jim Gannon’s men and they won their final two games to move back to the top of the pile and cue huge celebrations.
When did we last meet?
Next season will see the two clubs reignite a long rivalry which stretches back as far as the 1920s – though there hasn’t been a meeting since the 2009/10 League One campaign.
Pools came from two down to claim a point at Edgeley Park thanks to second half goals from Adam Boyd and Denis Behan, before thumping The Hatters 3-0 at The Vic courtesy of goals from Joe Gamble, Andy Monkhouse and Roy O’Donovan.
In all there have been 131 competitive meetings between the clubs and County have won more, taking victory on 53 occasions in comparison to Pools’ 47.
When do we play them?
The fixtures for the new National League campaign are not expected to be released until early July.
Where do they play?
Stockport County are still based at Edgeley Park, where they have played their football since the beginning of the last century. It currently has a capacity of just under 11,000.
“They are such a big club. I remember playing against Stockport County when they were in the league and I also played against them for Middlesbrough in the semi-final of the League Cup. They have a great fanbase and a manager in Jim Gannon who knows what it takes to be successful at this level. I am sure they will be alright coming up a division and going there will be a tough game for anyone because Edgeley Park has never been an easy place to play. I have seen them play a couple of times during 2018/19 and I am pretty sure they will do okay next season.”