NOBBY Solano looks set to call time on his illustrious 20-year playing career – meaning he has played his last game for Hartlepool United, writes CRAIG HOPE.
The Peruvian – capped 95 times by his country – has found himself out of the first-team picture at Victoria Park since the sacking of friend and manager Mick Wadsworth in December.
Now Solano is ready to call it quits, having again been left out of the matchday squad for Pools’ 4-0 win over Carlisle United on Saturday.
It is understood that the 37-year-old will seek to part ways with the club and instead concentrate on forging a career in coaching.
Rumours surfaced yesterday that Solano was attracting interest from Northern League outfit South Shields.
While this speculation was indeed true, we believe the South American will not be dropping down the leagues.
Solano’s expected departure from the Vic comes after manager Neale Cooper declared last month that the midfielder did not feature in his immediate plans.
Few can argue with Cooper’s decisions given results – Pools are four unbeaten – and the feel-good factor which has returned to the club since his arrival.
Should Solano leave then supporters will still have the memory of having seen one of the game’s true stars grace the blue-and-white stripes.
His signing made headlines around the world when Wadsworth – backed by chairman Ken Hodcroft – pulled off the League One transfer coup of the close season back in May.
Things started well for Solano and the team.
He played a key part in the club-record start to the campaign and fans were treated to a pair of cracking strikes during the wins over Bury and Bournemouth.
But as injury ruled him out for much of October, results also suffered on the pitch and Wadsworth was to pay the price when he was relieved of his duties in early December.
Solano hasn’t started a game since then and his last outing came in the 2-1 home defeat to Scunthorpe United on January 2.
Solano became the first Peruvian to appear in the Premier League when he signed for Newcastle from Boca Juniors in 1998.
He became a favourite with fans up and down the land as a result of his magical right-boot and trademark free-kicks.
Further spells at Aston Villa, a second period on Tyneside, West Ham, Leicester City and Hull City followed before joining Pools last year.
He has scored twice from 16 appearances for Pools.