Down At The Vic: Farewell Dimi
It all started in 2004, the then Hartlepool United manager Neale Cooper handed a trial to a rookie Greek goalkeeper, he was called Dimitrios Konstantopoulos
No one had heard of him, few had even seen him in real life but he trained hard and impressed in the reserves and was rewarded with a place on the bench against Blackpool in October. He never started or even featured in a game but on January 21 he was handed a contract until the end of the season along with fellow trialist Joel Porter.
The following season started in much the same way for our Dimi, until August 24 when he was thrown into the first team in the league cup tie against Macclesfield Town. Dimi played well in the match but was replaced by #1 goalkeeper Jim Provett in the following league game.
Dimi was brought back for the bank holiday Monday game with Colchester United to combat their physical presence in the box. His next appearance was a month later against Hull City in an LDV Vans game.
Despite conceding 3 goals he was still a hero, the game went to a penalty shootout and he saved 2 of Hull's 3 penalties to send Hartlepool through to the next round.
There was another month to wait before his next appearance but this time his kept his place in the side after keeping the Port Vale attackers at bay.
He made 33 further appearances that season, Provett returned to the side briefly in March but Konstantopoulos regained his place soon after. In this time he kept 12 more clean sheets including saving 2 penalties in the Play-Offs to send Pools to Cardiff.
Despite the fact United lost out to Sheffield Wednesday Dimi still looks back at this as his favourite game at Pools. ''The biggest highlight had to be the game at Cardiff,''
he said ''We did really well that season and were rewarded with a great occasion.
''To play in that stadium in front of a crowd of so many Hartlepool fans was something to cherish.''
The next season saw a more difficult season for Pools; they were relegated on the final day of the season after Martin Scott's dreadful stint as boss. Dimi played every game that season, 51 times in total and kept a respectable 8 clean sheets.
Happier times came the next season, Danny Wilson was appointed Pools boss and the big Greek was kept in goal for the new season. He again played 51 times, missing only 2 Johnstone's Paint games, keeping a remarkable 25 clean sheets including an unbelievable run where he kept 7 clean sheets in a row and helped push Pools on to promotion in second place. This was another great memory for Dimi ''This year getting promoted was brilliant too, to bounce straight back in to League One was a fantastic achievement.''
On the 25th May 2007 Dimitrios Konstantopoulos signed a contract with Coventry City ending his stay less than 3 years after he joined the club. Despite his short stay he is undoubtedly one of the best Goalkeepers even to play for Pools and his will surely remain in the history books for some time yet.Good Luck Dimi