Ex-Hartlepool and Middlesbrough assistant Craig Hignett lifts lid on emotional Pools exit

Craig Hignett
Craig Hignett
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Craig Hignett has lifted the lid on his departure from Hartlepool United - and revealed he was in tears to chief executive Russ Green.

The popular former assistant manager left his post as Number Two to ex-boss Colin Cooper in March last year to join Aitor Karanka at his beloved Middlesbrough.

Hignett’s departure from Pools was seen as a huge blow at the time, with the club’s form dipping after he left.

But it was seen as a major coup for Boro, where he enjoyed the best years of his career between 1992 and 1998.

Hignett admits the lure of a return to the Riverside was too good to turn down.

"I couldn’t turn [Boro] down," said Hignett.

"I’d spoken to Coops a lot about it and Russ [Green].

"I was in tears with Russ about leaving because I didn’t want to but I see Boro as my club and it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

"To work in the Championship, at the time to work with Aitor, was something different to add to my qualifications as a coach.

"With hindsight you might have done things differently.

"I don’t think I’d have gone.

"But then there was no way in the world I could have turned it down. Everyone in the world knows what Boro means to me around here.

"I love the club inside out: the chairman, the chief executive, all the staff, I’ve known them for years and years."

His dream job at Boro lasted less than a year though, with Hignett leaving Boro in December last year.

A year on, Hignett - one of the favourites for the Pools job before Ronnie Moore's appointment - has confirmed he was close to a quick return to Victoria Park.

"I could have gone to Hartlepool the day after I left Boro but I felt it was too soon," says Hignett, who is currently looking for a job back in football, in an interview with the Evening Gazette.

"I've had about four interviews.

"I had an interview for Leyton Orient, an interview for Barnsley, the last one I had was for Derby’s assistant manager," added Hignett, who recently applied for the York City job too.