Team From The Past - Hartlepool - 1972/1973

Len Ashurst - Defender

Ashurst signed professional forms at Sunderland on 27 December 1957. His first-team debut came on 20th of September 1958, in a 2–0 defeat to Ipswich Town at Roker Park. He went on to make 458 appearances for the club; putting him second in the all-time appearances list in Sunderland's history, and one of only two outfield players to top 400 appearances. He was called up to the England under-23 team on 15 March 1961, in a 4–1 victory over Germany at White Hart Lane.

After receiving a testimonial match against Newcastle United, Ashurst was given a free-transfer to Hartlepool where he became a player-coach and made 46 appearances for the club scoring 2 goals.

Ashurst managed Gillingham, Sheffield Wednesday, Newport County and Cardiff City before returning to Sunderland as manager in March 1984. His time as Sunderland manager was not successful, despite taking them to their first-ever League Cup final. Performance in the league was poor and Sunderland were relegated from the first division. Ashurst was sacked in May 1985.

After the Sunderland job, Ashurst went on to become a coach with Kuwait national football team and later the Qatar national football team. He was the manager of Qatari club Al-Wakrah and also coached in Malaysia. After returning to England, he was the assistant manager of Blackpool, and then in September 1989 he returned for a second spell as manager of Cardiff City. His last managerial role was a one-year stay at Weymouth

Bryan Conlon - Forward

Conlon started his footballing career in 1961 with Newcastle United though he failed to make the first team. In 1964 he moved onto Darlington where he played in 74 matches scoring an impressive 27 times. Millwall signed him in 1967 where he scored 13 times in 41 games. From Millwall he moved to Norwich City and then onto Blackburn Rovers. His footballing career ended with Hartlepool where he made 41 appearances scoring 3 goals.

John Coyne - Forward

Coyne played for Tranmere Rovers, Hartlepool United, Wigan Athletic and Stockport County, making a combined total of 74 appearances in the Football League. Coyne also spent three seasons in the NASL, playing with the Boston Minutemen, the Dallas Tornado, the Toronto Metros-Croatia and the Hartford Bicentennials. Coyne ended his career in Australia, playing with Brisbane City, APIA Leichhardt and Forrestfield United. 

Coyne made his full international debut for Australia against Taiwan in Taipei in November 1979. He played the last of his four internationals in August 1980 against Mexico in Sydney.

Malcolm Dawes - Defender

Dawes began his playing career at Aldershot Town making 176 appearances. He moved onto Hartlepool on August 19th 1970 against York City in the League Cup. He went on to play 213 games scoring 12 goals for Pools and won the Player of the year award in the 1974/75 season. Malcolm played his final game for Hartlepool United FC against Bournemouth AFC on 16 August 1975 in the League. During his time at Hartlepool Dawes was loaned to the NASL where he played for the New York Cosmos for two seasons and also made 19 appearances for the Denvor Dynamos. On his return to England he signed for Workington where he made 51 appearances.

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.

Bill Green - Defender

Green joined Hartlepool United from school and made his league debut for them against Newport County in September 1969. In 1973 he joined Carlisle United for £15,000, and then signing for West Ham United in June 1976 for £75,000  just four weeks after West Ham had been beaten in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final to the Belgians, Anderlecht. He later went on to play for Peterborough United, Chesterfield and Doncaster Rovers as a centre-half.

He went onto manage Scunthorpe United from 1991 to 1993, with a record of played 101, won 43, lost 32, drawn 26. He lost his job after an expected promotion push in 1993 never happened. In 2002, he took caretaker charge of Sheffield Wednesday for one game, which they lost. He was the chief European Scout at Wigan Athletic and worked in a similar role at Derby County, alongside former Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough before being sacked in March 2009.

John Honour - Forward

Honour was an apprentice at West Bromwich Albion before playing for Hartlepool United and Workington Town in the Football League. He made 112 appearances for Pool scoring 6 times. His final game for Hartlepool was April 7th 1973 in a 2-1 loss to Doncaster Rovers.

George Potter - Defender

Potter a Scottish defender who started his playing career with Forfar Athletic in Scotland before moving to Luton on March 6th 1968. He then spent two seasons with Torquay United. He moved to Hartlepool in 1971 where he made 242 appearances for Pools scoring 6 goals. Potter is most famously known for breaking his orbital bone after being head-butted by Dennis Tueart in a FA Cup against Manchester City. 

Bobby Smith - Forward

Smith began his career with Manchester United, turning professional in April 1961. He made over 200 appearances for the United reserve team, but Matt Busby did not give him his First Division debut. Smith left Old Trafford in March 1965 to join Scunthorpe United. He moved to Grimsby Town, for a fee of £8,000. Smith remained in the Third Division, signing with Brighton & Hove Albion in June 1968. In June 1971 Smith signed with Chester, but moved to Hartlepool United – initially on loan – in October of that year. In August 1973 he moved to Bury as player-coach, but failed to appear in their league side.

He was Appointed as Bury's manager in 1973, he led the club to promotion out of the Football League Fourth Division in 1973–74. in 1977 he was signed as Port Vale manager, he moved on to Swindon Town the following year, having failed to prevent the club from suffering relegation. Spending time as a coach at Blackpool, he returned to management in 1985 with Newport County. He remained in the game as a coach at Cardiff City, Hereford United, and Swansea City, he was appointed manager at Swansea in 1995. However, he resigned after less than three months in charge, and took up a role in the back-room staff at Sheffield Wednesday.

Rob Smith - Defender

Smith signed with Hull and spent 3 years with the club failing to make his debut with the first-team. In 1971 he signed with Grimsby Town making 11 appearances. in 1972 Smith signed for Hartlepool where he made 152 appearances scoring 4 goals. He later moved to Scarborough where he played until 1979.

Mick Spelman - Midfield

Spelman played as a midfielder in the Football League for Hartlepool United and Darlington. He was on the books of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford, without playing first-team football for either, and also played non-league football for Whitley Bay. He made 121 appearances for Pools scoring 4 goals.

Bobby Veart - Forward

Bobby Veart made his Pools debut in 1970 while still an amateur, a level at which he received England honours. Over the next three years, Veart played around half of the club's league games as Pools struggled badly on the field. He became the first Pools substitute to score twice in a match when he came off the bench to round off a 6-1 FA Cup win against Scarborough in November 1971.

Willie Waddell - Forward

Was centre-forward for the Scottish Schooboys and joined Leeds straight from school in 1965 and signed professional forms on 18th April 1967. After progressing through the Leeds Juniors, he became a regular in the Reserves and a useful goalscorer, but never progressed to the first team in competitive matches.

He joined Kilmarnock on 1st March 1969 and scored twice in nineteen Scottish League starts and five more as a substitute before returning to Yorkshire to join Barnsley in May 1971. At Oakwell he scored four League goals in seventeen starts and one more as substitute. However, he was there for less than a year before moving to Hartlepool United in March 1972 he played a full part as the team won each of its last 7 home games to pull clear of danger and established himself as a real fans' favourite during his 2 years at the club. He scored nine goals in forty-eight League games, of which five were as a substitute, and he also had a loan spell at Workington in February 1973, where he started one, and came on as a substitute twice, but did not score, in League games. His next move was in 1974 when he went across to Ireland to play with Dundalk.

Billy Ward - Midfield

Ward spent time with Spennymoor, Seaham Colliery, Shildon and Gateshead United. He played with Hartlepool from 1972 to 1975 where he made 91 starts and was a substitute 10 times scoring 11 goals.

Neil Warnock - Forward

Warnock played as a winger for Chesterfield, Rotherham United, Hartlepool United, Scunthorpe United, Aldershot, Barnsley, York City and Crewe Alexandra, scoring 36 goals in 327 career league appearances. He retired in 1979 at age 30 to move into coaching.

Warnock's first managerial job was with non-League Gainsborough Trinity (1980–1981), he would subsequently manage Burton Albion (1981–1986) and Scarborough (1986–1989), winning promotion to the Football League with the latter in 1987. He then managed Notts County (1989–1993), leading them from the Third Division to the First Division in successive seasons, though he was sacked after the club were relegated the season before the First Division became the Premier League. After a brief spell at Torquay United (1993), he moved to Huddersfield Town (1993–1995), with whom he won promotion to the new First Division. He then resigned and joined Plymouth Argyle (1995–1997), leading them to the Second Division. After being sacked, he spent spells with Oldham Athletic (1997–1998) and Bury (1998–1999).

In 1999, Warnock joined boyhood club Sheffield United, leading them to the semi-finals of the League Cup and FA Cup in 2003 and promotion to the Premier League in 2006. However, he resigned in 2007 after the club were relegated. He then took over at Crystal Palace (2007–2010), saving the club from relegation to League One. When the club went into administration, he left to join Queens Park Rangers (2010–2012), winning promotion to the Premier League with the club in 2011. He joined Leeds United (2012–2013) and then returning to Crystal Palace, then in the Premier League, in August 2014. Warnock returned to Rotherham United as manager in February 2016. He was appointed manager of Cardiff City in October 2016, and led them to Premier League promotion during the 2017–18 season. Warnock is now manager of Middlesborough.

Barry Watling - Goalkeeper

Watling played as a goalkeeper in the Football League for Bristol City, Notts County, Hartlepool United, Chester City, Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday. At Hartlepool he made 139 appearances.

He also played for the North American Soccer League's (N.A.S.L.) Seattle Sounders during the 1974 and 1975 seasons, and was named as the First Team All Star Goalkeeper for the 1974 season. During the 1975 season he amassed a 2nd-best goals against average of 1.15 per game.

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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