Connor Hall 'sad' to leave Harrogate Town but insists that moving to Port Vale was the right decision

Connor Hall admits that he is "sad" to have left Harrogate Town, but insists that moving on was the right thing to do.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 10:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 11:36 pm
Connor Hall celebrates after netting a screamer for Harrogate Town during a National League victory at Ebbsfleet United. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The 28-year-old centre-half signed for the Sulphurites’ League Two rivals Port Vale for an undisclosed fee on Tuesday, despite having two-and-a-half years left to run on his contract at Wetherby Road.

Town manager Simon Weaver has subsequently revealed that he felt the player’s long commute up to Yorkshire from his base in Cambridgeshire was starting to take its toll, hence the club’s willingness to allow a regular started to depart.

Hall has now had his say and explained why he wasn’t able to commit to spending more time away from home.

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Connor Hall with the 2020 National League play-off final winners' trophy at Wembley Stadium.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have signed for Port Vale, but obviously sad to be leaving Harrogate at the same time,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“Overall, I think that this move was something that I needed. The club wanted me to stay up in Harrogate more often than I was able to due to me having a young family.

“Basically, I wasn’t able to give them the commitment that they needed and so I sat down with the gaffer and had a conversation.

“I obviously had a long time to run on my contract and this was an issue that wasn’t going to get solved. There was no fall-out, I just had a really good chat with the manager and he understood where I was coming from and we agreed on what was the best way to move forwards.”

Weaver has not singled Hall out for any criticism or expressed his disappointment with the player’s individual performances, but he has spoken repeatedly this season about the fact that Town’s defending has not been up to the standard he expects.

Asked if he felt as if his long commute has affected him in training or out on the field of play, Hall replied: “It’s hard to say whether the travelling has impacted my performance when you’re in the moment. Maybe it’s the reason my standards dropped in a couple of games, but I’m not sure. I think time will tell.

“What I will say in my defence is that I feel that we’ve generally been doing pretty well as a team since I’ve been at the club and I think that I have been playing to a good enough standard to represent Harrogate Town.

“I stayed up in Harrogate a lot during my first season, however I didn’t do that as much last year and I didn’t really feel as if it was as much of an issue then.

“But, results haven’t gone our way in recent months and we haven’t been defending as well as we could, so I think that the gaffer has every right to try and do whatever he can to try and get more out of his players.

“At the end of the day, I completely understand that the club needs to feel as if every single one of its players is 100 per cent committed and I wasn’t able to give them the level of commitment that they wanted.”

Despite being fully fit, Hall was dropped from Weaver’s starting line-up for Sunday’s FA Cup third round defeat at Luton Town and remained an unused substitute.

It has subsequently been revealed that Harrogate were by that point in negotiations with Port Vale over his transfer, with the player going on to meet his new club to discuss personal terms on the Monday.

“The clubs managed to come to an agreement, so I met with Port Vale and we were able to agree something as well,” the former Brackley man continued.

“I really liked what I saw when I went there. I think that they are in a genuinely strong position to challenge for promotion and I’m really looking forward to a fresh challenge.

“But, I’ll always have great memories of Harrogate Town and will never have a bad word to say about the club.

"We've had plenty of success, I feel as if I have developed during my time there, and I've learned a lot, so credit to the club for that.

"The gaffer was a defender himself so he's done a lot of analysis with me, he's passed on some tips, he's helped me out with my game and I am grateful for all of that."

As far as picking out his fondest Harrogate Town memory is concerned, Hall doesn't need too long to consider his answer.

"There have been a few stand-out moments to be fair, but scoring against Notts County at Wembley in our National League play-off final win in 2020 has to be the best one," he added.

"You know, even driving in to training this season, I've been thinking back to that game a lot. It was pretty much the perfect day, as a club we got promoted at Wembley and on a personal note I managed to score one of the goals.

"It was special and it's one of a number of memories I will take away from my time at Harrogate that I will never forget."