Team From The Past - Hartlepool - 1977/1978

Billy Ayre - Defender

Ayre played for three clubs in a sixteen-year professional career, making over three hundred League appearances in the process. After retiring from the playing side of the game, he became a manager, and took the helm at five clubs between 1984 and 2000. He guided Blackpool to two successive play-off finals, in 1991 and 1992, during his four years in charge of the club.

Ayre began his professional playing career at Scarborough in 1975. He won the Scarborough Supporters' Player of the Year award in 1977. It was his uncompromising performances for Boro that earned him a move, also in 1977, to Hartlepool United.

Ayre played in over one hundred league games and score 27 goals for Hartlepool. He made his debut for Pools on 13 August 1977, in a 3–0 defeat at Grimsby Town in the League Cup. He made his league debut seven days later in a 2–1 home defeat to Torquay United. He was the club's top scorer in 1977–78, with thirteen goals, which assisted in his being named as the Supporters' Player of the Year.In 2008, Ayre was posthumously named Hartlepool's "Player of the 1970s".

In Ayre's second season at Hartlepool, 1978–79, he made 42 league appearances and scored five goals. In 1979–80, he made 43 league appearances and scored nine goals. In his final season at the club, 1980–81, he made ten league appearances and scored one goal before he was sold to Halifax Town.

At Halifax, Ayre made 63 league appearances and scored five goals in his first spell at The Shay. The summer of 1982 saw Ayre move again, this time to Mansfield Town. He spent two seasons with the Stags, making 67 league appearances and scoring seven goals. He scored a headed goal on his first-team debut in a Football League Trophy tie at Field Mill. Ayre re-joined Halifax for a second spell in 1984. In two years, he made 32 league appearances and scored two goals. He brought his playing career to a close with the club in 1986. On 5 August 1987, Halifax played a benefit match for Ayre against Halifax RLFC. At this point, he was the club's manager.

Ayre went on to manage 5 clubs after his playing career ended. He had Stints at Halifax, Blackpool, Scarborough, Southport and Cardiff and finally as an assistant at Bury.

Paul Bielby - Forward

As a young boy it was his ambition to play professional football for his fathers favourites Manchester United and as a 17 year old he made his first-team debut for United in the red hot atmosphere of a Manchester derby against City in front of 51,000 at Maine Road. He played for the England youth team winning the European Youth Cup with exciting young players such as Bryan Robson, Glen Hoddle, Ray Wilkins, Alan Curbushley and Peter Barnes.

His progress was halted with injuries and after playing nearly two hundred matches in the lower leagues with Huddersfield and Hartlepool.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours for his services to young people.

Peter Creamer - Defender

Creamer started his career with Middlesborough making 9 appearances before being loaned to York City and then to the Dallas Tornado in the N.A.S.L. in 1975. On his return from North America, he signed with Doncaster Rovers and then onto Hartlepool where he made 63 appearances scoring 3 times. Creamer ended his playing career with Rochdale in 1979 after making 20 starts.

Derrick Downing - Midfield/Forward

Downing played as a defender or a winger in the Football League for Middlesbrough, Orient, York City and Hartlepool United and in non-League football for Frickley Colliery, Scarborough, Mexborough Town Athletic, Hatfield Main and Sutton United. He also served as player-manager at Hatfield Main.

Eddie Edgar - Goalkeeper

Edgar played professionally for Newcastle United, although he made only one appearance for the club in a 4-2 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Derby County in 1976. In 1976, he signed with Hartlepool United in the Football League Fourth Division. He was loaned to the New York Cosmos of the North America Soccer League to serve as a backup for Shep Messing. In 1980, he went to Canada to play with London City in the National Soccer League. in 2008 he took over the managerial role for London City.

Alan Foggon - Forward

Foggon was spotted by Newcastle United who invited him to train twice a week with the club's youth side before signing as an apprentice in 1967. Having graduated from the junior and reserve sides at the club, he made his first-team debut just days before his 18th birthday, in a 0–0 draw at Arsenal. Foggon's moment of glory came in the second leg of the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final in Budapest when his shot was pushed onto the crossbar by the Ujpest 'keeper, but the United man followed up to lash the ball into the net and make it 3–2 on the night, 6–2 on aggregate.

He moved on to Cardiff City in August 1971 and then in 1972 Cardiff received an offer for Foggon from Middlesbrough. The fee for the transfer was £10,000. Foggon became a favourite of the Ayresome Park crowd and helped the Teessiders to promotion from Division Two in 1974.

After brief stints with Rochester Lancers and Hartford Bicentennials in the United States, Foggon moved to Manchester United in 1976. That proved to be something of a disaster though and after just three league outings at Old Trafford he switched to Sunderland. Later moves took him to Southend United, Hartlepool United (loan), Consett. and Whitley Bay.

He finished his career as one of only a few players who have played for all three of the North East's big three clubs. 

Terry Gaffney - Forward

Hartlepool born Gaffney played only 15 games for Hartlepool scoring only once. He also played for Billingham in his short footballing career.

Tommy Gibb - Midfield

Starting his career with junior side Armadale Thistle, Gibb soon joined Patrick Thistle where he graduated to the Scotland Under-23 squad. He then moved to Newcastle and hardly missed a game in the following three seasons. He went on to create a club record, appearing in 171 consecutive games. In his first season with Newcastle he was a Fairs Cup Winner, and in his final season, a FA Cup runner-up.

Before returning home to Scotland Gibb had spells with Sunderland and Hartlepool where he made 40 appearances scoring 4 goals.

Alan Goad - Defender/Midfield

Started his playing career with Exeter City before moving to Hartlepool in 1967. His first appearance with Pools was in 1967 in a 2-0 win against Brentford. 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. His last game with Hartlepool came at the end of the 1978 season where he started in a 2-0 loss to Doncaster Rovers on April 15th.

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.

Keith Houchen - Attacking Midfielder

Houchen started his professional career at Hartlepool United in February 1978, after failing to win a contract at Chesterfield. He was coached by Billy Horner to become a strong centre-forward, using his natural strength and power to retain possession in attacking positions. Financial difficulties forced the club to sell him on to Leyton Orient for £25,000 in March 1982. He was then moved to York City for £15,000 in March 1984. He played seven games in the club's Fourth Division title-winning season in 1983–84, before transferring to Scunthorpe United for £40,000 in March 1986. He did not settle at the club, but in the summer he was fortunate enough to win a £60,000 move up through three tiers to First Division side Coventry City.

Though never a prolific player for the "Sky Blues", he scored a spectacular headed goal in the 1987 FA Cup Final at Wembley, which earned him Match of the Day's Goal of the Season award. He featured in the 1987 FA Charity Shield, but faded from the first-team picture at Highfield Road, and in March 1989 he joined Scottish Premier Division side Hibernian for a fee of £325,000. He returned to England in August 1991 when he was sold to Port Vale for £100,000 and then he returned to Hartlepool on a free transfer in June 1993. He was appointed as player-manager in April 1995, but endured a tough time at Victoria Park, and left the club in November 1996. He later coached at the Middlesbrough Academy.

John Linacre - Forward

After beginning as an apprentice at Coventry City – he never made a league appearance for the club – Linacre started playing for Whitby Town before signing professional forms with Hartlepool United in 1977. He stayed at the club until 1982, making 196 league appearances, before signing with Maltese club Hamrun Spartans. Linacre spent one year in Malta, before re-signing with Hartlepool United. His spell back in Hartlepool only lasted one season, and he signed for non-league Billingham Town in 1984.

Gordon Livesy - Goalkeeper

Livesy started his career at Wrexham in 1967 and then moved to Chester in 1971. Later he had a short spell at Hartlepool where he made 6 appearances.

Dick Malone - Defender

Malone started his senior career with Ayr United, for whom he had played 163 league matches and scored twenty goals. He was the only full back at that time to score a hat trick.

Malone joined Sunderland in October 1970 and was a Scotland under-23 international (match against France). After Ayr, Malone signed with Sunderland. In the FA Cup Final victory, Second Division Sunderland beat Leeds United 1-0. Malone played 235 (+1) league matches for Sunderland, scoring two goals.

Malone left Sunderland to join Hartlepool United in July 1977. After playing 36 league matches and scoring two goals for the club, he was transferred to Blackpool in November 1978, playing 49 matches for them scoring one goal.

In season 1980–81, Malone returned to Scotland to play for Queen of the South. With the Dumfries club, Malone won promotion from the Scottish Second Division. After leaving Queens he returned to non-league football by joining Gateshead.

Eric McMordie - Forward

McMordie was signed by Middlesbrough in September 1964 as an eighteen-year-old. He made his debut in September 1965 against Plymouth Argyle and scored his first goal against Rotherham United two weeks later. McMordie was a first-team regular at Boro for eight seasons, playing 241 games and scoring 22 goals. During his time with Middlesbrough, McMordie represented Northern Ireland on 21 occasions between 1968 and 1972, scoring three goals.

The team narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight on several occasions. Middlesbrough won promotion to Division one in 1973–74, however McMordie was not a member of the side. During the following 1974–75 season McMordie was loaned out to Second Division Sheffield Wednesday for two months. During his time at Sheffield he played nine games and scored six goals in a struggling Wednesday side who were relegated to Division Three at the end of the season. Those six goals made McMordie Wednesday's top scorer that season. At the end of the loan spell, McMordie could not agree terms for a full transfer to Wednesday and returned to Middlesbrough.

McMordie signed for York City for the 1975–76 season, the team were relegated to Division Three in his first season and he was sold midway through his second season after making 42 league appearances and scoring two goals. He signed for Hartlepool United in December 1976, making 47 league appearances before deciding to retire early in the 1978–79 season.

Bob Newton - Forward

Newton began his career at Huddersfield Town in 1973–74. Newton was named most valuable player in a world youth competition at 17. He spent four years at Huddersfield and left to join Hartlepool United in mid-1977.

He scored eight goals for Hartlepool in his debut season, including both goals in the club's shock 2–1 victory against Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup. He moved to the United States, playing for the New England/Jacksonville Tea Men in the North American Soccer League in 1980 and 1981.

Newton returned to English football and was well received by fans at the Victoria Ground, and for three years formed a strike partnership with teammate Keith Houchen. In 1981–82, Newton and Houchen each had 18 goals and were Hartlepool's top scorers with Newton scoring a total of sixty goals with Hartlepool.

In September 1982, Newton was transferred to Port Vale, where he went on to become the team's top scorer with 22 goals, while the club achieved promotion to Division Three. The following season, he joined his hometown club Chesterfield, Newton spent two seasons at Saltergate and topped the Spireites' goalscoring chart in both seasons. After leaving Chesterfield Newton returned to Hartlepool in the summer of 1985 on the promise of better wages.

After his return to Hartlepool, Newton scored two goals in 11 matches before being loaned to Stockport County and subsequently released. He finished his Football League career with the Bristol Rovers in 1987, before joining Shepsed Charterhouse. He then played for the Cyprus-based AEP Paphos and Hong Kong's Laisun team before returning to England and joining the Chesterfield based KSPO team.

He later played for several non-league clubs, including Goole Town, Boston United and Alfreton Town

Malcolm Poskett - Forward

After being on the books of Middlesbrough, Poskett moved to non-League side Whitby Town before joining Hartlepool United in 1976 before moving on to Brighton & Hove Albion and then Watford, maintaining a good scoring rate throughout.

Poskett joined Carlisle United in 1982 and it is here that he achieved most renown in the Second Division. During the 1983-84 season Carlisle emerged as promotion contenders but failure to win their final 10 games saw them finish 7th. He joined Darlington in 1985 before moving on to Stockport County, but returned to Carlisle in 1986 where he played another two years. Although his scoring form continued in his second spell, the team suffered relegation to the Fourth Division and he left the club in 1988. He then played for Morecambe.

Chris Simpkin - Midfield

Simpkin played for Hull City, Blackpool, Scunthorpe United, Huddersfield Town, Hartlepool and Scarborough. He also played one season on loan in the North American Soccer League with the Baltimore Comets.

George Smith - Midfield

Smith began his career with his local club Newcastle United although he failed to make the first team and left in March 1965 to join Barrow. He went on to play for Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Birmingham City, Cardiff City and Swansea City, where he became a central figure in the club's growth, before finishing his career at Hartlepool United. Following his retirement as a player Smith joined the Hartlepool coaching staff. Later he became a scout for Stoke City.

Trevor Smith - Defender

Smith made a total of 77 appearances for the club scoring goals. His first appearances came in 1977 against Southport and his last in 1983 against Blackpool.

Dave Wiggett - Defender

Wiggett, a left-back, began his career at Lincoln City, making his first-team debut in 1974. He made only a handful of appearances for the Imps, and joined Hartlepool in October 1976, where he made his debut in a Division Four match against Colchester United. During his 18-month spell at Hartlepool, Wiggett played 60 matches for the club, and scored one goal.On 23 March 1978 Wiggett was killed in a car crash. He was a passenger in a car driven by a teammate.


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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