Richard Mennear

Richard was a Pools supporter as a child and carried out his dream of reporting on them for the Hartlepool Mail. This allowed him access to behind the scenes events as well as some lively characters that were around the club.


He was proud to cover Pools for a number of years before getting a promotion of sorts with a move to the Sunderland side of the region. He's still a proud Poolie though and this is evident in his interview.


Here is what he had to say....

  

What was the first Pools match you covered?

I'd either covered the odd youth or reserve team game and helped out at first team games with previous Pools reporters but the first senior game after landing the Pools gig FT was October 8, 2013 against Sheffield United in the Johnstones Paint Trophy 2nd round - northern section - at Bramall Lane….. A glamour tie! 


It was a proud moment, I'd held long-term ambitions of becoming a sports reporter and finally landed the opportunity, moving across into sport after seven years in news at the Hartlepool Mail.


Pools are my team and to land the Pools job was a dream come true. Sounds corny but it was and it remains one of my proudest achievements.

Pools won 1-0, James Poole with the goal. Get in!


Last Pools game?

The last Pools game I covered was Friday, December 4, 2015, FA Cup second round, Pools drew 1-1 away to Salford City - backed by the Class of 92 - at Moor Lane. Rhys Oates scored an early penalty before Salford forced an equaliser. Pools won the replay, Scotty Fenwick with the header. Moor Lane has changed beyond recognition since that FA Cup clash.


Pools were in the Football League then, of course, these days, they're both battling for promotion in the National League.


I covered Pools for a couple of seasons, including the Great Escape campaign, before being moved on to Sunderland AFC full time and I have covered them ever since.


Best memory?
The best and the worst was the Great Escape season, the worst as for many months it really seemed as though Pools would be relegated out the league.


Yet the high of that day at The Vic when Pools secured safety against Exeter City when Fenwick and Hugill scored will stay with me forever. The scenes of absolute joy and relief at the final whistle, the fans celebrating with the players, Ronnie Moore and his coaching staff celebrating. It was a privilege to be in the press box recording history that day. 


The following few weeks were amongst the most enjoyable! Relief all round!


Favourite player interviewed?

There were a few characters that played for Pools when I covered them, Scott Fenwick was always good for copy, he was so proud to have his chance in the professional game, having worked so hard to get there.


Andy Monkhouse, Simon Walton, James Poole always had plenty to say.


Favourite manager interviewed?
Ronnie Moore, without a doubt. It always made for great copy. He was obviously a very experienced manager, but Pools got under his skin and he was a real fan favourite, leading the club to safety against all the odds.


Some of his one liner’s were brilliant, it was a joy to go to the pre-match press conferences at Maiden Castle on a Thursday just for his latest gags!


I remain in contact with him, he was a pleasure to work with. 


Most awkward moment?

Not too many spring to mind, though taking a penalty in front of the Town End while on my stag do in the exec boxes certainly had the potential to go horribly wrong...


Thankfully, it was confidently dispatched.... H'Angus had no chance and I could hold my head up high next time the player interviews came round!


Furthest travelled with Pools?

Plymouth in the league. But I did go on a pre-season trip to southern Spain once for a Pools training camp. They didn't play any games but I headed out there for a 23.5-hour trip (no joke!) and got interviews with Colin Cooper and loads of players.


They couldn't have been more accommodating actually, it was a really good trip.


The reason the trip was short was due to there not being any games but it was well worth going for all the interviews.

Also, I remember watching the World Cup semi final with the Pools squad the night I was there, when Germany beat Brazil 7-1. What a game that was! Fascinating to see the players' reactions.


Match day routine?

Get to the ground about two hours before KO, catch-up with colleagues and club staff ahead of team news being released hour before KO. We are big on the digital side so matchdays are always busy, filing copy and regular updates throughout, social media updates etc, post-match reaction etc.


The player and manager interviews used to be held upstairs above the main reception at The Vic, had some interesting times in there!


When news broke Cooper had left, Paul Murray facing the national media after the Blyth Spartans FA Cup defeat, the post-match reaction when Pools pulled off the greatest of Great Escapes.

Good times.


Favourite all time Pools player?

Gordon Watson. Loved watching him play. I can still vividly remember the day he broke his leg in the 4-1 win over Darlington.


Watson was a real class act and some of the goals he scored live long in the memory.


Have you got and souvenirs and stories behind them?
Yes, I've got plenty of Pools souvenirs from over the years; programmes, shirts, signed footballs etc, pictures etc.

My prized possession, however, is a wooden cut-out of Dimi, which takes pride of place in my garage! As modelled here by my Dad - who put it on the wall.


Some fans may remember there was an exhibition at the Museum of Hartlepool a few years back about the Cardiff Play-Off final. As part of that was a penalty competition against the wooden Dimi. At the end of the exhibition, he was just going to be thrown out so I asked if I could have him - I used to work there when I was at Uni.


He has been with me ever since. I remember proudly presenting him to the Pools squad on the open top tour bus one year when the squad drove past my house

Richard's Pools Dream Team!

Not quite in any particular system but I actually had these as the table names at my wedding!


It wasn't a themed wedding by any stretch of the imagination, but I was allowed to get away with that, at least!

1. Dimi

2. Robertson 

3. Nelson

4. Stephenson

5. Humphreys

6. Tennebo (long story, I sponsored his boots as a teenager and my mates have never let me forget!)

7. Honour

8. Allon

9. Watson

10. Pedersen

11. Porter