Hartlepool United club captain Ryan Donaldson has left the club to pursue other opportunities, the club announced this morning.
The decision comes just over three weeks after the club were promoted back to the Football League. Donaldson scored as the seventh taker in their 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Torquay United at Wembley Stadium. As a bit part player last term, it seems a factor in his departure is looking to kick on with his career post-football, now at the age of 30.
His parting words in the club’s press release were: “Just felt like it was the right time for me to leave and start something new, had the best four years but they’ve been tough as well, not many people get a perfect ending but I came pretty close.
“Thanks to the manager and all his staff for the hard work they put in, Thanks to the fans for all their support, they make the club what it is. Finally thanks to my team mates, I was so proud to be a part of that group.”
Also in the piece Hartlepool gaffer Dave Challinor paid tribute to Donaldson’s endeavour and commitment by saying: “I’m really disappointed that Ryan will be leaving the club but fully understand and respect his decision. He’s decided to go in a slightly different direction with his career and set himself up for further down the line.
“Personally he’ll be a big miss for us as a management team, a top professional, trains brilliantly, a driver of standards, a leader, a hugely valuable and respected member of our promotion winning team and most important of all a good person.”
Pools are clearly upset to lose a reliable head on and off the pitch, a role model for the younger players with Football League experience.
There is work to be done in their transfer wheeling and dealing to assemble a squad capable of emulating Barrow and Harrogate Town’s League Two consolidation efforts of 2020/21.
It will be a busy few weeks to prepare for the upcoming campaign with Donaldson the eighth player to depart the club, who are yet to make a first team signing.