CRaig Hignett will give Hartlepool United an identity

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett. Picture by FRANK REID

Craig Hignett says he will do everything he can to give Hartlepool United their own “identity”.

The new boss was installed as the club’s 35th post-war manager within hours of starting talks with chairman Gary Coxall.

The chairman wants us to have an identity, when people watch us and they’ll say ‘that’s Hartlepool’

CRAIG HIGNETT

And Hignett says he was quickly on the same wavelength as the man from JPNG, the company which took control of Pools in the summer of 2015.

JPNG succeeded Increased Oil Recovery who had owned Pools since 1997 when they bought the club from local hero, Harold Hornsey.

“Our first meeting was great, we got on straight away,” said Hignett.

“What he wants for the club is the way I’d go about it and what I’d want to do.

“He’s been brilliant, he’s said ‘whatever you want, whatever you need, let me know and we’ll see what we can do’.

“He’s a really ambitious fella, he wants to make something people and the town are proud of.

“The chairman wants us to have an identity, when people watch us and they’ll say ‘that’s Hartlepool’.

“The club wants an identity, a way of playing, so it’s not so much the club fitting with the manager’s philosophy but the boss fitting with the club philosophy.”

Hignett, who will have his managerial debut this afternoon against Yeovil Town at Victoria Park, admits he has seen a change in the style of ownership, having worked for Pools during IOR’s reign when he was assistant to Colin Cooper during the 2013-14 season.

The 46-year-old said the differences is like “chalk and cheese” but had praise for the former owners.

“IOR were very business-like, everything had to be audited and accounted for and that’s fine,” he explained.

“They are a business and that’s the way they do it, Gary’s a little bit more flexible to what they were.

“I’m not saying IOR were wrong in the way they ran the football club, they ran it really well.”

Hignett has become something of a rarity for Pools – a local boss.

While a born and bred Scouser he has spent more than half his life living on Hartlepool’s doorstep.

“I live in the area and I want to do well and I want the club to do well,” he said.

“I don’t want this club to be the butt of the jokes, I want this club to be good, I want other teams thinking ‘Hartlepool are coming here, we could do without that game’.”