Crest of Hartlepool United Football Club

Hartlepool United

Monkey Hangers

Altrincham FC vs Hartlepool United - March 2021-124
© Michael Ripley, licensed under CC BY NC-ND 2.0

Hartlepool United Football Club, nicknamed “Monkey Hangers,” is a non-league football club based in Hartlepool, County Durham.

Established in 1908, they currently compete in the Vanarama National League, which is part of the fifth tier of English football. The team calls Victoria Park their home ground.

The history of Hartlepool United Football Club is marked by resilience and notable moments. Originating in 1881 as West Hartlepool Amateur Football Club, it underwent several transformations, including a change in 1908 to Hartlepools United. This shift to professionalism came after the dissolution of the original rugby club and was met with some public opposition. Despite financial uncertainties and the challenge of sharing grounds with the amateur team, the club thrived and eventually absorbed the amateur team’s assets in 1910. Their journey was not without hardship, as they faced a devastating bombing of their Victoria Ground by a German Zeppelin in 1916 during World War I, which led to a long-lasting “temporary” stand replacement.

The club’s managerial history is equally rich, with Fred Westgarth’s tenure from 1943 to 1957 being a notable period of stability and success. Brian Clough’s arrival in 1965 as manager marked a significant turning point, leading to the club’s first promotion under Gus McLean’s leadership. This era was characterized by innovation and ambition, including memorable FA Cup matches and notable signings. However, the club struggled with financial difficulties and relegation, with a winding-up order in the late 20th century nearly ending its existence. Local businessman Harold Hornsey played a crucial role in reviving the club, leading to a period of rebuilding and eventual promotion.

The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw Hartlepool United undergo further changes. In 1997, the Aberdeen-based Increased Oil Recovery Ltd acquired the club, bringing financial stability and enabling the signing of talents like Jan Ove Pedersen. Despite managerial changes and fluctuating performances, the club achieved promotion in 2003. However, struggles persisted, leading to relegation and financial woes. The club continued to adapt, with new ownership structures and community involvement.