Gold Coast United-bound Joel Porter has no regrets over his six years at Hartlepool United. While Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg claims Porter never received as much publicity as he has since signing with the A-League club, the truth is the Australian has established himself as one of the most popular foreign players in the Northeast.
"I went to Wigan and was there a month or so. Paul Jewell was happy to keep me training there but I couldn't play in any games because of visa problems, so I tried other clubs and went to Sunderland,'' recalled Porter to the Northern Echo.
"Two days before I came to Hartlepool I was going home, I'd phoned the airline to book a flight back home.
"Little things change your life and now here I am. My agent rang me back and asked me to give it one more try - I said no. He tried again an hour later, begged me and here I am.
"It's been a great experience and I'm happy he didn't take my first word, that's for sure. If I was 23 again and had the chance to do it again I would.''
Reflecting on their failed Championship playoff at Wembley in 2005, Porter added: "As a professional footballer to play on that stage in front of almost 60,000 people for Hartlepool is what dreams are made of. I know not every player can manage to do that and play in such special games, but it's something I will never forget.''
He added: "I've picked up a Hartlepool accent to my voice now.
"Hopefully it won't last too long! My parents and family give me stick over the phone about how I sound, but I'm an Aussie.
"I'm happy my son was born in Hartlepool but if he ever plays international football it will be in green and gold!''