Our Town with a population of approx. 98,000 has always punched above its weight, and was originally two towns, the ancient town of Hartlepool, known locally as the Headland, and the more recent West Hartlepool. They amalgamated in 1967 to form what is now the single entity known as Hartlepool.
Such was our importance within the country that during the First World War the Germans deemed it a suitable target for their first attack on British soil, three warships firing on the town at dawn on December 16th, 1914, killing 119 people. It was again singled out by the Germans as an important target in the Second World War, being bombed long before London.
As the British economy moved away from heavy manufacturing industry, Hartlepool declined, and unemployment rose. In the 1970s and 1980s it could have been a depressing place with decaying buildings and old redundant works. The future looked bleak; however, the town saw a revival, and the Never Say Die attitude of its people helped bring about the building of the marina complex built on the site of the old docks. New jobs were found in service industries, light manufacturing, and tourism.
The Covid pandemic no doubt brings with it worrying times ahead for the people of Hartlepool, but Hartlepool people are made from stern stuff, and our future can be as bright as we want to make it.
Our Club was founded in 1908, “Hartlepools United Football Athletic Company”, the name representing both the town of West Hartlepool and the original settlement of Old Hartlepool.
In 1922 we became one of the founder members of the third division North.
In 1959 regionalisation ended and a new division 4 was formed.
Our time in division 4 resulted in 11 applications for re-election, in 1977 the team’s name was changed over the close season to its current form of Hartlepool United, reflecting the merger of West Hartlepool with Old Hartlepool in 1967.
In 1967/1968, the season after Brian Clough had left the club, we managed to finish the season in 3rd place and won promotion to the third division for the first time in our history, it was short lived, one season.
The 1985/1986 season saw the introduction of the playoffs and the end of re-election was welcomed with open arms as we looked more and more certain every time we faced re-election to be voted out (a record 14 times in total).
In 1991 we finished in third place and managed to gain only the second promotion in our history. This stint in division 3 was longer than our last one and we even ended up in the second division for the first time in our history due to the renaming of the league.
In the1993/1994 season however after 3 seasons in the ‘higher’ divisions of English football we were relegated back to the third division.
Our time back in the third division were marred by financial crisis and the team narrowly avoided relegation for 5 seasons in a row. In 1999/2000 our problems seemed to be over and we reached the playoffs, we failed that time but with our Never Say Die attitude we kept trying and we reached the playoffs for the next 3 seasons. In 2002/03 we finished in second place and won automatic promotion to the Second Division once more. After an exceptional campaign, we finished 6th, making the playoffs. However, we lost to third placed Bristol City. In 2004/5 we made the play offs again defeating Tranmere Rovers 6-5 on penalties, losing 4-2 to Sheffield Wednesday in the play-off final at the millennium Stadium after extra time.
We all have our own memories, but apart from the games mentioned above, who could forget the games against………
Sunderland away 1987/1988 and again in 2003/2004
Sheffield United away in the FA Cup 1992/1993
Blackburn at home in 1974
Aston Villa at home and away also in 1974
Darlington away especially 1972 and 2007
Crystal Palace at home
Leeds at home
Sheffield Wednesday at home
The memories good and bad are endless.
What a ride we are on, not many, if any clubs with our history, briefly mentioned above, can muster up such passionate and dedicated support.
We are all fiercely proud of Our Town, and Our Club.
Our Chance to return to some of the previous heady heights mentioned above is not lost. We have an owner desperate to succeed, we have a new generation of fans creating an atmosphere unlikely to be matched in the lower leagues, we now have the older fans beginning to feed off the energy of the younger fans, we have a Manager in Dave Challinor building a squad more than capable of competing in this league and a one which was building momentum last season, but such is our luck, Covid 19 prevented our chances and our season was cut short before it had reached it’s conclusion.
We have a United front and a growing force that will be hard repel.
Not only have we been turning managers over at an alarming rate, we have also been turning owners over at an equally disturbing rate and with it, it should come as no surprise that with the quick turnaround of owners and managers we will come across some that don’t have the same passion and feeling for the club that we have. We actually looked as though we’d used all our owners up and we desperately needed someone to come to our aid and help us, we were pleading with anyone to come in and pick up the pieces of the previous regime, but it appeared no one was listening and we were running out of time, we were haemorrhaging and asking for help, it was desperate times.
Thankfully in our hour of need, Raj Singh decided to offer us the help we were asking for and give both of us the chance to put the recent wrongs of previous times right.
Earlier this year Raj Singh turned to the fans and asked if we could now help him.
Not only do we Never Say Die, we do not forget those that offer us help and work alongside us, particularly for Our Town, Our Club, now this is Our Chance to repay that debt.
Our Time has been spent supporting the club, yet all of us at some point has criticised the owners and at the same time conveniently forgot that without these owners putting their hard-earned money into Our Club with little likelihood of a return we would not have a club to support.
Never has that been truer than now.
Our Time is here now, we have the chance to make a difference, football is at a standstill, only the fittest will come out the other end. We have been through too much; we have spent too much effort recently in rocking the Vic to simply stand aside to see what happens next and hope we will be alright.
This is not a film set, this is real, there will be no actors to play our parts for us and nor should we want them to.
We are Hartlepool United, and this is