Player Of The Decade #3: Ritchie Humphreys
Our countdown of the top 10 players of the past decade continues, remember you can leave your comments and favourite moments in the comment box at the bottom of this article.
3. Ritchie Humphreys
Ritchie Humphreys, a player who won the admiration of Pools fans with his dedicated displays and true passion for the club. He joined the club in 2001, Chris Turner had kept an eye on him for some time and, when the opportunity arose, he made the decision to bring him to Hartlepool.
In his promotion diary, he writes ''I am often asked my best footballing moment. People expect me to say scoring on my debut in front of Sky TV, and my thunderbolt, but it came on July 17th 2001 when I signed for Hartlepool United''.
He was primarily used as a striker in his first season but failed to grab as many goals as expected, notching just 5 times in his first season despite featuring in every game. His season came to a disastrous end as he missed the crucial penalty in the play-off semi-final shoot out against Cheltenham.
However, he made the move to midfield and never looked back. He bagged 11goals as Pools finished runners up in Division 3 and was selected in the PFA Team of the Year. Like most of his fellow team-mates he adapted to life in a higher division with ease and started every game in Pools' 3 year spell in the third tier.
On the left wing he would link up well with forwards while always providing cover for the full back. The defensive side of his game was utilised more as he made the move to left back midway through the 05/06 season and would continue to play there for the next 3 seasons. Despite Pools relegation his consistent performances earned him the Player of the Year award that season.
He was loaned out to Port Vale briefly at the start of the 2006/07 season but won his place back in the team. A key moment came as he scored a 90th minute winner against Accrington Stanley in mid-November which propelled the team to a 23 game unbeaten run. His was again selected in the PFA Team of the Year for his performances.
He made the move back to midfield at the start of the 2009/10 season and looks set to beat Wattie Moore's record of 472 appearances for the club. During his time at the club he's played in pretty much every position barring goalkeeper and always gives 100% no matter where he's asked to play. His achievements in the community were acknowledged by the Queen as he was invited to Buckingham Palace in 2007.
Our Favourite Moment
After his penalty miss in the play-offs in 2002 there was one man keen to make amends as Pools faced a similar situation against Tranmere in 2005. Humphreys' missed penalty that day denied the club a trip to the Millennium Stadium and this time he made no mistake as he scored the winning penalty to send Pools to the play-off final.
Click here for our Player Of The Decade page where you can find out more about the other players in our countdown