IT FEELS JUST LIKE WE’VE WON THE POOLS!
HARTLEPOOL United have become the latest club to form their own women’s side – and are already plotting a promotion campaign from the Durham Women’s League Division One.
Having joined forces with Seaton Carew Ladies, the team is now directly associated with Pools.
Boss Andy Stuart said: “I felt this was the best time to approach Hartlepool as the club has been taken over and the buzz around women’s football at the moment is phenomenal.
“What is brilliant is that the new chairman (Gary Cox-hall) has made a huge impact and one of the first things he asked was how the club was planning to promote and develop women’s football.
“It all snowballed pretty quickly after that and it came at just the right time.We had outgrown our facilities at Seaton and needed to progress in all areas.”
Hartlepool currently play five levels below WSL1 but Stuart is convinced the side can play at a higher level.
“I believe this team can play three leagues above and survive comfortably but finances have held us back so far,” he said.
“Technically, we have a strong squad and being a part of Hartlepool United can only help us push on. The girls are so excited about all the exposure and getting to wear the kit. They are like young children at Christmas.”
Victoria Park played host to England in 2014 and Stuart recalls the impact the occasion had on his players.
“Everyone was so excited to watch the highest level of the game,” he said. “For the team to speak to Steph Houghton after the match was a massive boost. She is a real role model and all the girls look up to her.
“I have told the whole team that now we are Hartlepool United Ladies there is no reason why they cannot aspire to play at the highest level. I am already seeing a difference at training. The numbers have increased, they are feistier than ever and they are taking my advice to avoid boozy Saturday nights!”
Pools face Redcar Town in the second round qualifying of the FA Cup today in their first game as Hartlepool United. The new side are hoping for a large crowd at Billingham Town with admission free of charge.