Hartlepool super fan Jeff Stelling made a short trip to watch his favourite team’s latest match today (Saturday March 23) - albeit 330 miles away from United’s Victoria Park home.

As a champion of Prostate Cancer UK (PCUK), the Sky Sports broadcasting legend marked the charity’s annual Non-League Day celebration by visiting Eastleigh FC’s Silverlake Stadium for their National League fixture against Hartlepool, which ended 1-1.

It was an obvious choice for the well-known Pools’ supporter, who handily now lives in Hampshire.

The occasion marked PCUK’s ten-year milestone working with Non-League Day.

The Northern Echo:

Always scheduled to coincide with an international break, fans of Premier League or Championship teams are encouraged to take in a lower league or grassroots fixture.

It promotes the importance of affordable volunteer-led community football while giving fans across the country the chance to show support for their local non-league side.

But for the last decade PCUK, the leading men’s health charity, has worked side by side with the popular annual football match-day experience.

It has helped raise money to fund life-saving research and to increase the knowledge and awareness of prostate cancer, the most common male cancer.

Eastleigh’s match with Hartlepool was among this year’s “focus” games for the occasion.

The Northern Echo: Hartlepool skipper David Ferguson, left, with referee Aaron Jackson and Eastleigh captain Aaron

The presenter and PCUK ambassador, known by many viewers as simply ‘Jeff’, said it was a fortunate quirk of the fixture list that Hartlepool happened to be playing not far from his Hampshire home.

“While I was hugely disappointed with Hartlepool’s relegation last season, there are some bright spots, and being back in the National League means we are part of Non-League Day once more.

“Even more impressively, it’s against my local club Eastleigh, so the football fixture Gods have been smiling on me! 

“Non-League Day is a really important, and influential campaign, something I always get behind.

“For the last decade they have been proudly working with Prostate Cancer UK.

“It’s such a good partnership which allows a brilliant charity which means so much to me to continue their life-saving work across the football landscape.

The Northern Echo:

“The work with Non-League Day reinforces Prostate Cancer UK’s work across all levels of football and how hugely important it is to raise awareness of the risk of this disease and also raise the funds to make a difference to the lives of men and their loved ones.

“Since 2016 I’ve walked 34 marathons for Prostate Cancer UK and many Non-League clubs and supporters have played a huge part in the event’s success in that time, many of them affected by the most common cancer in men.”

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Stelling made a point of greeting the hardy band of Hartlepool fans who made the six-hour trip to Eastleigh, while he sheepishly told them it was only a 20-minute drive from his home.

The match, itself, ended honours’ even, with Joe Grey’s 19th minute opening goal for the visitors cancelled out by an Eastleigh penalty equaliser, scored by ex-Sunderland player Chris Maguire, 13 minutes before full-time.

Hartlepool, now managed by former Sunderland great, Kevin Phillips, remain in lower mid-table two points above Eastleigh in the National League.