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From Westgarth To McLean: 1945 to 1968

8 February 2017

We take a journey from World War Two to promotion

The position as Manager of Hartlepool United FC has been filled by a few interesting characters over the years . and indeed by a greater number of people than at most clubs! 

Fred Westgarth's length of tenure is unlikely to be beaten in the modern game - neither will his practice keeping hens at the ground. 

Brian Clough cut his managerial teeth at the Victoria Ground, arriving in May 1966. He turned around a club in the doldrums and instilled a sense of pride. Along with Peter Taylor his assistant, he built a side which went on to gain the first promotion in the Club's history under Gus McLean 

1943 - 1957
Fred Westgarth's term as manager is unlikely ever to be equalled in the modern game. He brought stability and success to the club, almost got them into the second division and enjoyed cup success too. 

31st August 1946
Pools play their first post-war game wearing blue & white striped shirts and black shorts, drawing 1-1 with Barrow - Leo Harden scored the goal. The team was: Heywood, Brown, Gregory, Spellman, Lambert, H Jones, Copeland, Moses, Price, McMahon and Harden. 

June 1948
Club Chairman J M Stathers installs new terracing at Victoria Ground, with the aim of increasing average attendances for the first team to 10,000 and the reserves to 4,000! 

12th January 1952
Pools are drawn away to then First Division Burnley in the FA Cup Third Round. Hartlepool is little more than a ghost town as thousands travel to Turf Moor to swell the crowd to 38,608. Burnley are expected to win easily, but Pools push them all the way, and eventually lose 1-0 in a classic cup-tie. 

7th January 1956
Pools lose 1-0 at home to Chelsea in front of a crowd of 16,862. 

5th January 1957
Possibly the most famous game in Pools' history - the FA Cup 3rd round tie against Manchester United's Busby Babes. In front of 17,426, Pools eventually lose 4-3 in what Matt Busby later described in his autobiography as "the most exciting match I've ever watched." 

27th April 1957
A 2-0 victory at home at Bradford Park Avenue sees Pools finish second in the Third Division North, but miss out on promotion as only champions Derby were promoted. 

Having finished in the bottom half of the previous season's Third division north, Pools find themselves in the newly formed Fourth Division. 

25th October 1958
Visitors Aldershot take the lead through Albert Mundy in six seconds and go on to win 3-0. 4 April 1959 Pools record their record league victory - a stunning 10-1 home win over Barrow which sees each of the five man forward line score. 

March 1964
Goalkeeper Ken Simpkins signs and wins Welsh Under-23 international honours. However he is possibly best remembers for his last season where he was pressed into action as an emergency centre-forward and scores the winner in a 3-2 victory over Port Vale. 

October 1965
Brian Clough appointed manager and brings in Peter Taylor from Burton Albion to help him. The legendary manager famously visits every pub and club in the town to raise funds for the club and builds one of the most successful teams in the club's history. 

21st May 1966
Clough gives a debut to John McGovern, then still attending Henry Smith School, at the age of 16 years 205 days - a club record. 

May 1967
Having built a successful team, clough and Taylor move on to Derby County and are succeeded by Angus 'Gus' McLean. 

6th May 1968
Pools win 2-0 at Swansea and gain promotion for the first time in the club's history. A crowd of 11,011 see them celebrate promotion in their final home game - also against Swansea. 

10th August 1968
Hartlepools United gain promotion, but it is "Hartlepool AFC" who play in the Third Division after the amalgamation of the two boroughs of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool. Pool fall 2 points short of survival and are relegated in 22nd place after just one season out of the bottom flight.

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