For those making the trip to the north-east, it’s a round trip of over 500 miles that will take about 4-5 hours each way by car or coach.  Supporters coach(es) leave the Fully Charged New Lawn at 8am.  Rail travel isn’t an option unless you plan to stay in the area on the Saturday night – you can’t get a train back on the Saturday evening.  The fixture rivals Carlisle as FGR’s furthest away game.

Hartlepool’s guide for away fans can be found here hartlepool away fans guide

There is a bit of turmoil going on at Hartlepool in recent weeks.  Their manager, Dave Challinor, who guided them back to the EFL last season, has left to manage Stockport County.  The reason for the turmoil is that Challinor signed a new 3 year contract with Pools at the end of September.  He is regarded as one of Pools most successful coaches and a coach who had, apparently, always wanted to manage an EFL side.  So, it was curious that, 3 weeks after signing his new contract, he moved to a lower league club on a 2 and a 1/2 year deal.  Stockport County are currently 10th in the National League.  Anthony Sweeney is in interim charge as Pools look for a new coach.

Dave Challinor signed a 3 year deal at Hartlepool in September then left 3 weeks later

This is a game which pits the best home record in League 2 (Hartlepool) against the 2nd best away record in League 2 (FGR).

The striking thing about Hartlepool’s start to the season is the contrast between their home and away form.  Until their last outing, Hartlepool were unbeaten at home, winning 6 of their 7 home games and netting 19 out of a possible 21 points.  Their fortress of Victoria Park was finally breached by Newport last time out with a 93rd minute goal that secured County a 2-1 win.  Away from home Hartlepool have picked up just 4 points from 8 games – a solitary win away at Bradford and a 0-0 draw at Oldham their only away successes.  So good is Hartlepool’s home form that they have the best home record in the division (in spite of their recent loss against Newport).  So poor is Hartlepool’s away form that they have among the worst away records in the division.

Hartlepool are currently in 10th place in the league with 23 points from 16 games.  They have 7 wins, 7 defeats and 2 draws.

Pools were relegated to the National League in 2017 for the first time in their history.  The club earned promotion back to the EFL in 2021 via the play-offs.  After finishing 4th in the regular season they defeated Bromley in the play-off eliminator, then Stockport County in the play-off semi final.  A dramatic final against Torquay went to extra time and penalties after the Torquay goalkeeper, Lucas Covolan, scored a dramatic 95th minute headed equaliser.  Hartlepool won the shoot-out 5-4.

Lucas Covolan’s dramatic equaliser for Torquay against Hartlepool.  In spite of this, Pool went on to win the play-off final on penalties.  Covolan is now at Port Vale.

Tyler Burey, on loan from Millwall

Hartlepool’s Millwall loanee, Tyler Burey, had an electric start to the season with 3 goals and an assist in his first 4 games.  In his 5th game Burey tore a hamstring which is likely to keep him out of action until the end of November.  Burey’s absence seemed to coincide with a dip in form and a dip in goals for Hartlepool but things have steadied recently and Pools have started to climb the table.

Hartlepool usually set up as a 5-3-2, but recent injuries may change this.  Aside from Tyler Burey, Hartlepool fans point to Nicky Featherstone, Gary Liddle, Jamie Sterry and Gavan Holohan as their stand-out players but worry about where the goals will come from in Burey’s absence.  If they have a weakness, they believe it’s against teams that like to keep the ball on the deck.  Pools fans are reasonably optimistic about the season, especially with their ‘fortress-like’ home form.

Aside from Burey, Pools leading goalscorer with 4 goals is a defensive midfielder, David Ferguson (number 3).  Ferguson seems to be Pools’ dead-ball specialist who notched his 4th goal from a free-kick in Pools’ last game v Newport.

The home of Hartlepool United has been Victoria Park, ever since the club was formed in 1908.  The capacity of the ground is nearly 8,000.  Away supporters are seated in the Rink End/Simpson Millar Stand (behind one of the goals) which has a capacity of just over 1,000.

In 1916, the stand on Clarence Road (now the Cyril Knowles Stand) was bombed by a German Zeppelin and completely destroyed. The club had a go at claiming compensation from the German government, but failed!

Hartlepool have been in either the 3rd or 4th tier of the EFL since they were admitted in 1921,except for a 4 season spell in the 5th tier (mentioned above).

Their 2 most famous managers have been Brian Clough (his first managerial appointment) between 1966 and 1967 and Cyril Knowles between 1989 and 1991.  Under Knowles, a legend at the club even today, Hartlepool enjoyed relative success.  But in 1991 Knowles was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away later the same year.

Brian Clough rejuvenated Hartlepool in his short spell in charge before moving to Derby County

Some say Cyril Knowles was the best full back Tottenham have ever had.  Hartlepool fans remember him as a legendary manager

The mascot monkey that became Mayor of Hartlepool!

Hartlepool’s nicknames are ‘Pools’ or ‘the Monkey Hangers’.

Legend has it that during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, a shipwrecked monkey was hanged by the people of Hartlepool, believing him to be a French spy! To this day, people from Hartlepool are still known as ‘monkey hangers’.

The team’s mascot is a monkey called H’Angus.

In 2002, H’Angus, also known as 28 year-old Stuart Drummond, beat off opposition from the main political parties to be elected to the £53,000-a-year job as mayor of Hartlepool.  His winning slogan in the campaign was “free bananas for schoolchildren”.  Even though his candidacy was just a publicity stunt, he was subsequently re-elected and served until 2012 when the post of mayor of Hartlepool was eventually abolished.  He never made good on his promise of free bananas!