Football - Cooper surprised at Humphreys' exit

Former manager Neale Cooper described Ritchie Humphreys as "a true Hartlepool legend" following the club's decision to release the midfielder.

PA Sport

Humphreys, 35, who made a club record 542 appearances for Pools, will end his 12-year spell at Victoria Park following the club's decision not to take up an extra year's option on his contract.

"The news surprises me," Cooper told Press Association Sport. "He's a true Hartlepool legend is Ritchie. He did ever so well for the club over the years.

"You cannot get a more consumate professional. But he was also a very good coach and I know that was something he wanted to get into."

Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Humphreys joined Pools in 2001 and played a key role under Cooper during the Scot's first spell in charge of the club, who were beaten by the Owls in the 2005 League One play-off final.

"He was an excellent player for me," Cooper added. "He could play in numerous positions, wide left midfield, central midfield, left-back, striker and he never let you down.

"He always gave his lot and is a lovely guy as well. He was a real fans' favourite. I think they named a street after him in Hartlepool and you can't get much better than that."

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