KEEPING Hartlepool United in the Football League would be Ronnie Moore’s greatest ever achievement – even surpassing his previous promotions.
The former Tranmere Rovers, Oldham Athletic and Rotherham United manager is one of the most experienced in English football, with more than 900 games under his managerial belt.
From where we were, this would be the best thing I have done as a managerRonnie Moore
His stint at Rotherham included two successive promotions but he insists keeping Pools in Sky Bet League Two would rank as his best achievement yet.
Pools were nine points adrift less than a fortnight ago but three consecutive wins sees them within one point of the Great Escape.
Before being appointed, 62-year-old Moore had been out of work for eight months after being axed by Tranmere for breaching betting rules.
Now he is looking to repay Pools by keeping them up.
“It’s massive for the town to stay up,” reflected Moore.
“You only have to look at the others who have gone out of the league and struggled to return – Grimsby, Wrexham, Stockport etc.
“That is how important and how easy it is to just fall away.
“From where we were, this would be the best thing I have done as a manager.
“People probably thought I was crackers but I had been out of work for eight months.
“I’m a dab hand now at washing up, putting the washing on, getting the right temperatures for the cotton because I was doing all that – my back garden looked like Wembley!
“So to be given the opportunity to come back was great and once you’re back in, that drives you to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“If I can keep us up, then that will be better than the two promotions at Rotherham.”
In December, Moore said he “didn’t think twice” about applying despite Pools’ perilous position, the club having been bottom since mid-October.
And he says he has no regrets having “loved” every minute of his time in the North East.
The former striker was fined £2,000 and given a one-month suspension, suspended for two years, after he admitted an FA charge relating to betting on competitions and matches in which his club was involved, while he was Rovers boss.
Moore broke the rules after placing bets for family members from his account, which on one occasion included a £1 stake on Tranmere to win in a double with Manchester United, which returned less than £4.
He added: “One or two wouldn’t give you the opportunity because of what was written, few know the facts, I wasn’t betting thousands, it was a family syndicate. A joke.
“You think will I ever get back in?
“But I have been given a chance and if there is anybody that doesn’t want to ride this wave with me then they are gone.”
It is ironic then that Pools are now battling against Tranmere – Rovers are third bottom, level on points with second-bottom Cheltenham Town.
Not that he wants to see his former side go down.
Moore added: “Tranmere have been a massive part of my life and I would be devastated if they went down.
“I have a lot of good friends there and the supporters have been nothing but brilliant, even when I left.”