Hartle­pool United’s Di­vi­sion Four pro­mo­tion win­ners of 1990-91

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE -

JOE ALLON ad­mits he thought it was an April Fools’ joke the day he was asked if he wanted to sign for Hartle­pool United.

The Pools were peren­nial strug­glers at the foot of the Foot­ball League and had to ap­ply for re­elec­tion on an al­most an­nual ba­sis.

But the part­ner­ship be­tween Allon and Paul Baker was the foun­da­tion on which the club’s sec­ond ever pro­mo­tion-win­ning cam­paign was built.

And when man­ager Cyril Knowles put a de­fence in place to match his strike force, the jig­saw was com­plete and the dream was about to be re­alised.

Allon said: “It was only the sec­ond time in the club’s his­tory that we had gained pro­mo­tion, and it was a ma­jor achieve­ment for us be­cause the sea­son be­fore we had fin­ished some­thing like fourth or fifth from bot­tom.

“I still man­aged to score a few goals, mind you, some­thing like 20 league goals.

“The next sea­son started pretty aw­fully but we ended up go­ing on this run which went right to the death and took us up for the first time since 1967-68.

“At the time Hartle­pool were more or less the laugh­ing stock of foot­ball be­cause of the num­ber of times we had to ap­ply for re-elec­tion.

“I re­mem­ber when Bobby Mon­cur and Pop Rob­son first got the job as Hartle­pool bosses, they said: ‘We want you to come’ and I thought they were jok­ing.

“They sold the club on the fact they were go­ing to be suc­cess­ful, they put the ground­work down and then Cyril came into the club and put us on an­other level.

“He ba­si­cally got ev­ery­body to­gether. We were al­ready a close knit bunch of lads and it was a very, very spe­cial part of my life.”

Hartle­pool fin­ished in third place, a point be­hind north-east ri­vals Dar­ling­ton, who were cham­pi­ons, and only goal dif­fer­ence sep­a­rated Pools and run­ners-up Stock­port County.

Allon scored 35 goals that sea­son, which earned him a move to Chelsea, and he has no com­plaints about fin­ish­ing third.

“Brian Lit­tle was man­ager of Dar­ling­ton and I have to say that they de­served to go up as cham­pi­ons. We beat them 1-0 away and I scored the win­ner.

“Then we drew 0-0 with them at The Vic. If you took four points off the team that fin­ished above you, you would ex­pect to be cham­pi­ons.

“But at the same time you can­not take it away from Dar­ling­ton.

“We were only in­ter­ested in Hartle­pool, though. We went to places like Stock­port and Alder­shot who were fly­ing at the time and Northamp­ton on the fi­nal day and beat them con­vinc­ingly.

“Go­ing into the fi­nal game of the sea­son we could ei­ther have got au­to­matic pro­mo­tion or sunk into the play-offs. Amaz­ing to think that the sea­son be­fore we could quite eas­ily have gone out of the league.”

1. Steve Fletcher: The Hartle­pool­born striker is still play­ing in the Foot­ball League for Bournemouth and has served the club as player-

as­sis­tant man­ager.

2. Paul Baker: Worked at New­cas­tle’s academy be­fore man­ag­ing Non-League clubs in the north east, then be­came chief scout at Nor­wich City, a job he is now do­ing back in Hartle­pool.

3. Chris Er­ring­ton: Lives in Hartle­pool and is goal­keeper coach at East Durham Col­lege’s Foot­ball Devel­op­ment Cen­tre. Also runs his own academy.

4. Rob McKin­non: He re­turned to live in East Kil­bride in Scot­land and was last known to be act­ing as a player agent.

5. Ian Ben­ny­worth: He is back liv­ing in Bev­er­ley on his na­tive North Hum­ber­side and runs I J Con­sul­tancy ser­vices.

6. John Craggs: Af­ter man­ag­ing Charlton Ath­letic, he scouted for Brighton, Manch­ester City and Hud­der­s­field Town.

7. Garry MacDon­ald: He is now a di­rec­tor at iFoam Ltd in Dar­ling­ton.

8. Mick Smith: He is still liv­ing in the north east and be­came a po­lice­man in Jar­row.

9. Keith Nobbs: Af­ter a short spell work­ing as a hous­ing of­fi­cer, he re­turned to Hartle­pool United and is now com­mu­nity sports foun­da­tion co­or­di­na­tor.

10. Alan Lamb: He is liv­ing in his na­tive Gateshead and runs a kitchen fit­ting and floor­ing busi­ness.

11. Gary Hen­der­son: The physio is now a se­nior lec­turer at the Univer­sity of Teesside.

12. Ian Dun­bar: He is now a staff coach with Chicago Magic Soc­cer Club, and was pre­vi­ously di­rec­tor of soc­cer op­er­a­tions at Evansville Elite.

13. Andy Davies: He owned a fruit and veg shop and then be­came a gro­cery man­ager for a cou­ple of lo­cal su­per­mar­kets.

14. Steve Tu­pling: A PE teacher in the north east, he also coached ju­nior foot­ball in Tynemouth.

15. Kenny Davies: He is now be­lieved to be liv­ing and work­ing in

the Billing­ham area.

16. Pop Rob­son: He man­aged Sun­der­land and Carlisle as well as coach­ing at Hartle­pool, Manch­ester United, Leeds United and Sun­der­land. He is now a newsagent in Hex­ham.

17. Paul Ols­son: He has man­aged Scar­bor­ough Ath­letic and was foot­ball in the com­mu­nity of­fi­cer at York City.

18. John Tin­kler: He worked at the Sam­sung fac­tory in Wyn­yard, Billing­ham for many years.

19. Joe Allon: Has worked in the me­dia and on the coach­ing staff at Leeds United and is now a di­rec­tor of an en­ter­tain­ment com­pany called Play­ers Inc.

20. Cyril Knowles: He stepped down be­cause of a brain tu­mour and died in Au­gust 1991 aged 47. There is a stand named af­ter him at Vic­to­ria Park.

21. Paul Dal­ton: Is still liv­ing in the north east and worked as a coach in Mid­dles­brough’s academy. Teaches at Dar­ling­ton Col­lege.

22. Brian Hon­our: Lives in Blackhall, runs a lo­cal soc­cer school and has been in­volved in Non-League man­age­ment as Durham boss.

23. Don Hutchi­son: Has gone into the me­dia sum­maris­ing on ra­dio sta­tion talk­SPORT and work­ing for Sky. NOT PIC­TURED Brian Cox: Has worked as a vol­un­tary driver, run bet­ting shops and worked for an off­shoot of the NHS in his na­tive Sh­effield.

Ric­cardo Gab­bia­dini: Pre­vi­ously a ware­house su­per­vi­sor, he runs The Limes Ho­tel in Ful­ford and coaches at a lo­cal school.

Neil Heaney: Is based in Wel­wyn, Hert­ford­shire and is CEO of Ju­di­care Group overseas prop­erty com­pany.

John MacPhail: Af­ter a spell man­ag­ing Hartle­pool he is now a car sales­man in Dar­ling­ton.

Kevin Poole: Is player-goal­keep­ing coach at Bur­ton Al­bion at the age of 49.

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