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To The Brink And Back: 1972 to 1995

8 February 2017

Ups and downs of a roller-coaster ride at The Vic

The Club's first spell out of the bottom division lasted just one season, and it took them another twenty years of often soul-destroying struggle before they enjoyed their next promotion. 

Cap in hand visits to the Football League AGM were the order of the day to plead the case for re-election and "one more chance". 

Thankfully the days of automatic relegation to the Conference were a long way off. Former Spurs full-back Cyril Knowles built the squad which won our second promotion but sadly didn't live to see them achieve success and Alan Murray takes the team up. 

They enjoy two good seasons ending mid-table but the third ends in relegation and financial crisis forces the dismantling of what many say was one of our best line-ups. 

The darkest hour was the winding-up order served on the Club in the High Court. However local businessman Harold Hornsey saved the day and re-built the Club on solid foundations. 

February 1972
Pools release a single - "Never Say Die / Who Put Sugar in My Tea" - sadly it fails to reach the charts. 

An excellent League Cup run sees Pools beat Workington, Bournemouth (in a third replay), Blackburn (again in a replay) before going out in yet another replay at Aston Villa. Villa go on to win the cup, playing fewer games than Pools' nine cup-ties. 

October 1976
Billy Horner appointed manager replacing Ken Hale. The 7 year stint is Horner's first of two as full time manager and numerous in a caretaker role. 

20th August 1977
Pools kick off the new season as Hartlepool United, having dropped the "Hartlepool AFC" appellation. 

28th  February 1978
Pools go down 4-1 at Ipswich Town in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, having beaten Tranmere, Runcorn and Crystal Palace on the way. 

2nd October 1982
United lose 3-2 at Torquay and after Roy Hogan is sent off, Kevin Johnson and Rob Smith are dismissed . for squaring up to each other! 

The temporary wooden stand on the Clarence Road side, erected as a "temporary" measure after the Zeppelin bombing, is demolished following new safety concerns after the Bradford City fire tragedy. 

23rd October 1986
Middlesbrough FC are locked out of Ayresome Park, having been declared bankrupt, and play their opening fixture of the new season at Victoria Ground immediately after our opener against Cardiff City. 

9th February 1988
On a windswept night at Roker Park, a Brian Honour goal direct form a corner seals victory over Sunderland in the Sherpa Van Trophy and a Northern Area Semi-final against Preston. Black Cats' manager Dennis Smith describes the defeat as a "stigma". 

24th August 1988
Pools beat Manchester United containing Viv Anderson, Paul McGrath, Mike Duxbury, Lee Sharpe and Chris Turner 6-0 in a pre-season friendly. 

Cyril Knowles is appointed manager and builds a promotion-winning side, but sadly a terminal illness means he doesn't see his side gain the reward. 

11th May 1991
A 3-1 home victory over Northampton Town wins automatic promotion in third place. Joe Allon scores 28 league goals and equals Bill Robinson's 1927-28 tally. 

2nd January 1993
An Andy Saville penalty seals a 3rd round FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace in a game broadcast live all over the world by the BBC. Pools then go a League record 1,227 minutes without scoring - Saville finally breaking the hoodoo at Blackpool on March 6th. 

23rd January 1993
Pools play at Sheffield United in the 4th round with a High Court winding-up order hanging over the club. 

Local businessman Harold Hornsey rescues the club from the hands of previous Chairman Garry Gibson, who had taken the club on a roller-coaster ride which included the heights of the second division but almost into oblivion. 

25th July 1995
Harold Hornsey fulfils his promise to build new East Stand. Cyril Knowles' widow Betty officially opens the stand named in his memory. 

August 1995
A new covered terrace at the town end of the ground is built in partnership with local company Expamet. Hornsey renames the stadium "Victoria Park" to reflect the transformation of the facilities.

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