Pools legend Ritchie Humphreys has sent an open letter to supporters following his departure from Victoria Park.
To everybody connected with Hartlepool United…
Where do I start?
I never imagined when I signed in the summer of 2001 that we would gain two automatic promotions and be involved in three play-off semi-finals and one Play-Off Final, which saw us on the brink of the Championship.
Two relegations have been our lowest moments but we came back stronger last time and I’m sure we will again.
Becoming the Club’s all-time appearance record-holder with 544 is an honour I will cherish. Walking out on to the pitch with my daughter in my arms, my family and friends in the stands and Victoria Park chanting my name prior to my testimonial match was incredible and I will always be so grateful to all you Poolies.
Three Player of the Year awards, Player of the Decade and a Player of the Century all awarded to me by the fans are a special memory and have pride of place in my home.
Being selected in the PFA Divisional Team of the Year twice is a massive personal honour, especially as it’s voted for by my peers.
I wish nothing but success for Hartlepool United. The last twelve years have been a special time in my life and although I was raised as a Sheffield United fan, myself and my family were welcomed so kindly by all you Poolies that Hartlepool United will always be part of all of our lives.
It has been no secret that I believe in players getting re-educated whilst they are still playing, as you never know when your career will finish. Therefore I have been getting fully-qualified as a UEFA A Licensed coach as well as attending and passing an Applied Management course at Warwick University.
Although it’s my intention to carry on playing for as long as possible, I do hope one day to try my hand at coaching and management. I’d love the opportunity to pass on my experience when the time is right.
So to my former team-mates, ex-managers, coaches, physios and ground-staff, to the Chief Executive Russ Green and the Chairman Ken Hodcroft, the owners IOR and our brilliant fans, I thank you all for such wonderful memories.
Nothing lasts forever but, for me, Hartlepool United will always have a special place in my heart.
Good luck for next season and beyond.