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Club News

New To The National League: Harrogate Town

6 June 2018

The CNG Stadium Mark Fletcher (Shutter Press)
Harrogate Town's CNG Stadium

We continue our summer series focusing on the clubs joining Pools in the National League next term and today's spotlight falls on a quite local opponent.

Formed: 1914
Nickname:
Town

Who’s in charge?
Simon Weaver was appointed as Player Manager of Harrogate Town in May 2009 though he hung up his boots in 2012 to concentrate on his role in the dugout where he is assisted by former Sunderland and Carlisle United midfielder Paul Thirlwell.

A former Sheffield Wednesday trainee, Weaver plied his trade at centre-back and went on to play for a number of clubs in the lower leagues and non-league including Nuneaton Borough, Lincoln City, Kidderminster Harriers and Scarborough.

His first season in charge saw Town finish bottom of National League North only for Northwich Victoria to be demoted in their place for financial issues – and since then Weaver has led the club on an upward path which culminated in last term’s glorious promotion.

Where do they play?
Wetherby Road (known as The CNG Stadium) has been home to Harrogate Town since 1920 although it’s undergone some redevelopment since then with new stands being built in 1990 and in 2014.

However, the club has exciting plans to redevelop their stadium further with the installation of a new club house and renovated changing rooms and corporate hospitality areas as well as an increase in capacity to around 5,000 at a cost of £1million.

Town also bring with them in to the National League an artificial playing surface, adding to those of Bromley, Maidstone United, Sutton United.

How did they get here?
Harrogate Town made the decision to go full-time at the start of last season and it paid dividends as they immediately began to challenge for top spot in National League North.

They got off to an incredible start to the campaign, winning 11 of their first 16 games and tasting defeat just once to lead the pack in the early stages.

Two surprise losses from their last three games left Town hanging on to second spot but they cemented their place as runners-up with a 5-0 thrashing of Curzon Ashton on the final day.

That took them straight in to the semi-finals of the new-look play-off system where they defeated Chorley 2-1 before overcoming Brackley Town 3-0 in the Final to clinch promotion.

When did we last meet?
Next season will be the very first time the two clubs have met in competitive action though we have gone head-to-head in a couple of friendly encounters in recent years.

Mick Wadsworth took a side to Wetherby Road in 2011/12 when goals from Neil Austin, Colin Nish and James Poole ensured a 3-0 victory for Pools.

However, last pre-season we returned to Harrogate and were beaten 2-1 despite a stunning free-kick from Nicky Deverdics near the end.

When do we play them?
The National League fixtures for 2018/19 are due to be released towards the end of June.

Bates’ View
“We saw how well organised they were on and off the pitch when we went there in pre-season last year and I have no doubts they will come in to this division full of determination to impress.

“There are obviously long-term goals in place and they have big ambitions along with some money to spend so it will be interesting to see how they get on at the higher level in the new season.

“It’s another plastic pitch coming in to the league but that doesn’t really faze me and it shouldn’t for the players either because we played quite well on some of the 3G surfaces towards the end of last term.”


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