Buster to Leave Pools
Head physio Ian “Buster” Gallagher is to leave Hartlepool United due to business and personal reasons.
Buster, the nickname Ian is widely associated with at Victoria Park, believes he can no longer dedicate the length of time required to carry out his role to the best of his ability at his beloved Pools.
The 43-year-old wants to take a break from professional football to focus on building up his First Team Physiotherapy business alongside his son, Liam.
He will continue to operate in his role while the club finds a replacement.
Buster said: “Nobody will ever understand how hard it has been to take this step. Every time I think about it I well up. It has been an absolute honour and privilege to have worked for the club I have supported all my life.
“I first started playing for this club as a YTS in 1994 and 27 years later it was amazing to be part of Dave Challinor’s backroom team this summer when we celebrated Pools’ return to the Football League – where we belong!
“I want to thank Dave for bringing me back to the Vic after a few years away and I will cherish the memories of that promotion season and those scenes in Bristol after the play-off final, for the rest of my life. And, of course, I was so proud to see the town come out like it did for the open top bus parade in June.
“Dave is a brilliant manager, we are lucky to have him, and we will always remain good friends. I am looking forward to watching him lead the team from the stands, something I haven’t done for years. I will probably be at every home game anyway as a fan!
“Stepping away has been on my mind for a while. Not only do I want a break from the demands of professional football, but I’m also excited at the thought of working with Liam and building up First Team Physiotherapy.
“I wish everyone at the club, and the fans, all the best and good luck for the season.”
Pools boss Dave Challinor is sad to see Buster leave.
Challinor said: “Buster and my friendship started back in 2007 when we did our physiotherapy degree together for five years. It has continued since then and will remain until well after today.
“Even from back at that time he spoke about the club like he owned it and his love for it is there for everyone to see.
“When I came to the club, one of the first things I did was do everything I could to get him to come back and join me and was delighted when he accepted the offer to.
“He left the club the first time on bad terms and in bad circumstances, this time he goes on his terms, for understandable reasons and with everyone’s best wishes.
“As I’ve said previously with firstly Ross (Turnbull) moving on and more recently Joe (Parkinson), we’ll bring in a replacement for Buster and I’ve already spoken to him about being involved in that process.
“We’ll replace him as a physio but he’s impossible to replace as a character. He’s unique, I’m not sure whether that’s in a good or a bad way!
“But primarily he’s very good at his job, gets the club and its supporters as he’s one of you and he’ll be greatly missed, although not in person as he’ll probably spend as much time here as he does when he is working.
“He’s built up his own company and that is something that will not only be his income for the rest of his life but something that he’ll pass on to his son Liam and for him to work together with him is something that he needs to focus on.
“Like I’ve said before, the work that the staff do behind the scenes is immense and hugely stressful and there comes a time when you need to make decisions that are personal for you.
“I totally support the decision he’s made and can only thank him for being part of a special season with us last year and wish him good luck in the future.”
Everyone at Hartlepool United wishes Buster all the best in his future endeavours.