Team From The Past - Hartlepool - 1968/1969

Kenny Allen - Goalkeeper

Began his career as an amateur with Hartlepool, who he joined in August 1968 from non-league Tow Law Town.  He played only 7 league games for Hartlepool, before leaving for South African side Hellenic. In December 1972 he returned to England, signing for West Bromwich Albion, but left without appearing in their league side.

He had a spell with Workington before joining Bath City in July 1973, making nearly 300 appearances for Bath over the next five years. In August 1978, Allen joined Bournemouth, where he was to make 152 league appearances. In 1983, he signed for Bury on non-contract terms, but failed to make the first team, and in December 1983 he joined Peterborough United. From Peterborough, he moved to Sweden, playing for Halmstads BK, before joining Torquay United on a free transfer in March 1984. In September 1985. He left Plainmoor to join Swindon Town again on a free transfer. He played 40 league games the following season as Swindon won the Fourth Division title, but early the following season he lost his place, only playing a further 5 league games, before being transferred back to Torquay in December 1986

David Atkinson - Midfield

He made 8 appearances with Hartlepool in 1968/69, scoring 1 goal against Torquay in a 2-2 draw. 

Terry Bell - Midfield/Forward

Bell played for Burton Albion, Nottingham Forest, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Nuneaton Borough, Hartlepool United, Reading, Aldershot, Wokingham Town and Hillingdon Borough

Bell was Brian Clough’s first-ever signing at Hartlepool United in 1966, He turned into a fine forward having played as a midfielder at his previous club Nuneaton Borough. He flourished in his new role, scoring plenty of goals during a four-year stint at the Victoria Ground. He topped the club’s scoring charts in a historic promotion-winning side of 1967/68.

Bell moved south and joined Reading in 1969. The transfer fee of £8,000 enabled Hartlepool to survive a dire financial crisis. Bell soon became a favourite with the Elm Park crowd and was voted Reading’s ‘Player of the Year’ in season 1970-71. The next two seasons saw Bell drop back into a deeper, midfield role so his goal-scoring return was reduced. In the Summer of 1973 Bell made the move to Aldershot where he made 124 appearances scoring 49 goals. 

Tony Bircumshaw - Defender

Bircumshaw was a product of the youth system at Notts County. He made his Football League debut on 3 April 1961 for Notts County at Brentford and at 16 years and 54 days he set a record as the club's youngest player.

Bircumshaw left Notts in July 1966, to move to Hartlepool United, remaining at the club until 1971. Whilst there, he was a member of the side that won promotion in the 1967–68 season.

Peter Blowman - Forward

Blowman played for Billingham Hartlepools and Stockton. He made 66 appearances with Hartlepools scoring 15 goals over a 3 year period. Blowman was a member of the side that won promotion in the 1967–68 season.

Bobby Cummings - Forward

He scored 31 goals from 62 appearances in the Scottish League for Aberdeen and 69 goals from 170 appearances in the Football League playing for Newcastle United, Darlington and Hartlepools United. He played as a center-forward or outside right. He also played in the South African National Football League for Port Elizabeth City.

Cummings first joined Aberdeen on a part-time basis. He made his Scottish League debut on 1 March 1960 against Rangers and a year later, playing at outside right, he became only the third Aberdeen player, and first Englishman, to score a hat-trick against that club. In October 1963, Cummings played as a guest and scored for a Newcastle United XI in a testimonial match for Alf McMichael, and five days later he signed for the club for a £5,000 fee. He stayed with Newcastle for two seasons, scoring 14 goals from 44 games. In the 1964–65 season, he was second in the club's scoring charts, with 8 goals behind Ron McGarry's 16. In October 1965, dropped down to the Fourth Division to become Darlington's £6,000 record signing. He went on to become the club's top scorer for the 1965–66 season as they gained promotion for the first time in more than 40 years. In two-and-a-half seasons at Darlington he scored 46 goals.

In 1968 he was persuaded to return to Division Four with nearby Hartlepools United for a £1,000 fee. His 9 goals from 18 games helped Hartlepools to third place, and consequent promotion to the Third Division. He played regularly at the higher level, but scored only three times, and then went to South Africa to play in the National Football League for Port Elizabeth City.

Bryan Drysdale - Defender

Brian Drysdale played junior football for Lincoln City and made his League debut for Lincoln City before signing as a professional. Drysdale joined Hartlepool United on a free transfer in July 1965. He played under the Brian Clough and Peter Taylor management partnership and starred in the 1967-68 promotion from the Fourth Division when Hartlepool United finished in 3rd place. Hartlepool were relegated the following season finishing in 22nd place in the Third Division. In May 1969, for £10,000, he signed for Bristol City. He had a loan spell at Reading in 1977. Drysdale left Bristol City to join Oxford United in July 1977.

Brian Drysdale then joined Western League side Frome Town as player-manager. Drysdale was also player-manager at Shepton Mallet before playing for Clevedon Town. Drysdale finished his footballing career in the Bristol area with spells as player-manager of Clandown F.C. and Hengrove F.C. In all He made over 500 appearances as a footballer.

John Gill - Defender

Started his career at Nottingham Forest in 1958 but failed to make his professional debut with the club. He moved to Mansfield in 1961 and made 139 appearances. In 1966 Gill moved the Hartlepools and was an integral part of the club's promotion-winning side in 1967/68. Gill was the archetypal hard-man defender who took no prisoners. Clough's signing would certainly add steel to the defence. Following his time at Hartlepool Gill had brief stints at Nuneaton Borough and Atherstone Town.

Alan Goad - Defender/Midfield

Started his playing career with Exeter City before moving to Hartlepool in 1967. He was a young member of the promotion-winning side in 1967/68. Goad went on to make over 418 appearances scoring 11 goals for the club and is still ranked 5th in games played and still ranked 1st in League Cup Starts with 23. He played in every position and wore every number, except goalkeeper and is the only player in the club's history to be part of 3 name changes at the club (Hartlepools United, Hartlepool FC and Hartlepool United).

Alan was voted 'Player of The Season' in 1975 and was voted as a Player Of The Decade (1970's) along with Bill Green and Billy Ayre during the Club's Centennial Season in 2008. He was awarded a Testimonial Match in 1977 where Pools tied 2-2 with League Champions Nottingham Forest. In his final two seasons with Pools he was Player/Coach under Manager, Billy Horner and retired in 1978 before moving to Canada 

Alan resumed his playing career in 1980 when he was signed as Player/Coach for the Fraser Valley Allstars in Canada and then played two seasons for the Vancouver Whitecaps NASL Indoor team. He then resumed his coaching career with the Whitecaps Reserves and Youth Teams as well as running the Vancouver Whitecaps Coaching Camps.

Wilson Hepplewhite - Defender

Hepplewhite started his career ay Arsenal as an apprentice before moving to Carlisle United and Hartlepool. He later emigrated to Port Elizabeth in 1969 where he played for PE City. In 1972 he moved to Johannesburg where he played for Highlands Park. He made over 50 appearances with Pools and scored 2 goals and was part of the promotion-winning side in 1967/68.

John McGovern - Midfield

McGovern is most famous for captaining the Nottingham Forest side that won the European Cup twice under the management of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor.

At the age of 19 he became the youngest player to play in all four divisions of the Football League. During his playing career he won promotion with Hartlepools United, Derby County and Nottingham Forest. He won titles as English League champions with both Derby and Forest. At Forest he also won the UEFA Super Cup, two Football League Cups, the FA Charity Shield and the Anglo-Scottish Cup. He was Forest's club captain throughout this period of success.

McGovern won two Scottish under-23 caps. He is one of only two Scots players to win UEFA's premier club trophy to never win a full international cap. He was a 2017 Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductee.

McGovern has player-managed Bolton Wanderers and joint-managed Rotherham United with Archie Gemmill, with whom he won the Football League Trophy. He has served as assistant manager for Plymouth Argyle and Hull City. He has also worked in media punditry.

Bobby McLeod - Midfield

Mcleod played for Hartlepools United and South Shields. He made 29 appearances for Hartlepools from 1965 to 1969

George Smith - Goalkeeper

George Smith made 435 appearances in the Football League. He began his career with local minor side Dale Rovers before attracting the attention of Football League club Notts County. He signed for the club in July 1953 but did not make his debut until the 1955-56 season, although before long he established himself as number one, a position he held for over a decade. He left the club in 1967 to play three seasons as first-choice goalkeeper at Hartlepool.

Ken Solan - Striker

Solan began his career as a youth player at hometown club Middlesbrough, and spent loan spells at Hartlepool United and Darlington. Solan never made a league appearance for Middlesbrough. Solan died in a car crash on 23 November 1971, at the age of 23.

Tony Parry - Defender

Parry made nearly 200 appearances in the Football League playing as a central defender for Hartlepool United, Derby County and Mansfield Town.

He was Brian Clough's first signing as manager of Hartlepool and was a mainstay of the side which won promotion from the Fourth Division in the 1967–68 season, and won the club's inaugural Player of the Year award.

In 1972 the club was on the brink of going out of business, needing to sell a player to survive, when Clough, by then manager of Derby County, bid £2,500 for the player. It is usually regarded as a philanthropic gesture by Clough (albeit using Derby's money) as Parry made few appearances for Derby before moving on to Mansfield Town. He later played non-league football for Gresley Rovers, where he was Player of the Year in the 1982–83 season.

John Sheridan - Defender

Sheridan made 118 appearances with Hartlepool from 1966 to 1970 scoring only 1 goal with the club. He was captain of the side which won promotion from the Fourth Division in the 1967–68 season.

Malcolm Thompson - Forward

He played for Goole Town, Hartlepool United, Corby Town, and for Scarborough where he scored the winning goal in the 1973 FA Trophy Final, in extra-time against Wigan Athletic. He made 46 appearances for Hartlepool in the Football League, scoring 9 goals.

Cliff Wright - Midfield

Wright played as a midfielder in the Football League for Hartlepools United and Darlington. He began his career as an apprentice with Middlesbrough, but never played for them in the league, and after leaving Darlington spent four-and-a-half seasons with Northern Premier League club Boston United. He was a member of the Hartlepool team promoted to the Third Division for the first time in 1967–68 and made 184 appearances with Pools scoring 31 times.

Ron Young - Midfield/Forward

Young joined Pools from Hull City in 1968 as the club was beginning an unsuccessful fight against relegation. Young was a regular for the next five seasons and contributed a very useful supply of goals. His best spell came in the second half of the 1971/72 season when his goals helped to lift Pools out of the bottom four and avoid re-election for the first time in three seasons.


The images above were taken from the scrapbooks of Alan Goad. Custom art was created by Paul Goad.

Alan’s career at Hartlepool started in 1967 after a brief apprenticeship stint at Exeter City. In the 11 years Alan spent at the club he collected programs, pictures, and newspaper clippings from the many matches he played in Hartlepool (418 in total). I am happy to share these memories so that Hartlepool Fans around the globe can enjoy a piece of history.

Alan Goad is still ranked 5th in games played at the club, ranked 1st in League Cup starts, and is the only player in the club’s history to see the club go through 3 name changes. His time with the club began with the celebration of their promotion into Division 3 but the 70’s were unkind with many relegation votes required to keep the club in the league.

Despite the club's luck and with very little money to be made Alan remained committed to the club, the fans, and the town of Hartlepool. He looks back fondly of his time at the club and the career he was fortunate to have.

Special Thanks:

Special thanks to Phil Dunn, Geoff Wilkinson and John Phillips for their contributions, guidance and wealth of knowledge on Hartlepool and their Club.

Information on the above mentioned players and teams was sourced from various locations including match programmes, newspaper articles, Wikipedia and the "In The Mad Crowd" website -

The inspiration for the kit designs is from John Devlins, "True Colors: The Football Kit History Site". His staggering work is featured in books, publications and various websites. Check out his amazing work -

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