Ward was encouraged by the way Hignett and the club responded quickly with anti-racism – “Car parking was free here,” said Richard Ward as he stopped at Navigation Point in Hartlepool Marina. “They don’t come here like they used to. They are busy at night, but people go elsewhere now. “
The charm is fading in this part of town. Small boats and yachts remain docked in the waters of the Tees Valley, in front of a small parade of independent cafes and restaurants.
Ward, 40, who worked as a scientist and chairman of the Hartlepool supporting faith, was born in the city but now lives in nearby Stockton. He has been following the club since the early 1990s. He’s joined by his father, who is a season ticket holder, and older brother in watching the likes of Nicky Southall, Keith Houchen, Mick Tait and Joe Allon in Bets.
Since then, the pool has moved between the third and fourth tier of English football but it was much more difficult than reaching the Championship in 2005. It was as good as it got and in 2017, after 89 years in the Football League, Hartlepool moved to National League. That drop put the club in financial danger – it was only thanks to Singh and Pools president Jeff Stelling that they avoided liquidation in early 2018.
Ward was in the stands, close to the field, when Saturday’s play in September opened.
“I was 20 meters away and thought it was a lenient penalty,” he said of the foul on Effiong.
“When the kid came back to celebrate in front of the fans I saw a group of 20 or so pushing forward, making and dazzling. We then realized the pair had crossed the line. In the end the actors were pastored by our own fans. . “
Ward said home fans continued to boo Effiong, but insisted there was no more racism after the game restarted.
“You think mime crooks – if you’re going to give something in front of a crowd of houses then expect something back. I made fun of him. You can write it down. “
After the match, Ward said he was left feeling “angry, embarrassed and embarrassed”, but what also bothered him was thinking about the impact on his club.
“The last thing we need is a reduction in fines or points,” he said. “We are trying hard to get out of this league. ‘Mr Singh will be furious about this – for more than one reason’, I thought.
“You can’t think of the right words… these people who abuse this don’t stop to think before they do.”
Ward was encouraged by the way Hignett and the club responded quickly with their anti-racism, and said the atmosphere in the following matches was calmer among the supporters.
“In the next game against Chesterfield we distributed some small anti-racism cards. In the main people are very supportive, but not everyone takes one because their argument is, ‘I’m not a racist, so I don’t need to hold one’.
“But I am happy with how the fans responded to the perpetrators of violence that day. We rely on supporters who come through those doors and sponsors pay the bills. I don’t want to go to a place where racism is going on and where people think it’s acceptable “It’s important for society, but important for our club so we can attract a wider fan base.”
Ward said HUST, the supporter’s confidant, is working with the club on anti-racism projects, and is holding workshops with various community groups to present Pools as a more “welcoming and diverse group of people”.
As the interview ended, Ward continued to talk excitedly about the club’s predicament before drawing attention from the familiar face who later came along. After the pleasantries, the friend asked what our conversation was about. When Effiong was mentioned, he replied, “Well, he instigated it, didn’t he?” before walking away.