Former Hartlepool Utd boss Mike Newell says he’s paid the price for his expose on corruption in football

Mike Newell
Mike Newell

FORMER Hartlepool United boss Mike Newell admits he has been made to pay for his expose on corruption in football, writes Craig Hope.

It was back in 2006 that Newell, then manager of Luton Town, claimed that “bungs” were rife in transfer deals.

This prompted an FA enquiry, headed by Lord Stevens, and numerous high-profile figures were subsequently arrested and questioned, although no charges were brought.

Newell, out of work since his sacking from Grimsby Town in 2009, told SportMail he has no regrets over his decision to make public his feelings, although he insists it has hindered his managerial career.

“What I said about corruption has definitely worked against me,” he told us in an exclusive interview.

“I do believe I could not sleep at night if I had not said it.

“I have paid for it, but I believe I said the right thing and I stand by it.

“I want to prove to people that I can still be a good manager and I hope to get that chance.

“My record is very good and I’m definitely hoping to get back in, we’ll just have to see what comes up.”

It was at Victoria Park that Newell landed his first role in management, taking over from Chris Turner in November, 2002.

Within six months he had guided Pools to promotion from League Two, although celebrations were somewhat muted as a final-day defeat at Rushden & Diamonds saw them miss out on the title.

Nonetheless, Newell was looking forward to taking his charges – including the likes of Ritchie Humphreys, Mark Tinkler and Eifion Williams – to the next level the following season.

But the game at Rushden proved to be his last in charge of Pools and his contract was not renewed, mystery surrounding his shock departure.

It is something which to this day rankles with Newell, although he still reflects favourably on his time at the Vic.

“I loved my time at Hartlepool very much,” said the 47-year-old former Everton and Blackburn Rovers striker.

“I’ve got a lot of former clubs to look out for but Hartlepool is one of those I keep a close eye on and I love to see them do well.

“It was a successful period for the club during my time there.

“We were getting a bit of stick towards the end of the season when we lost our lead at the top, but we still won promotion.

“It went to the last day for the title but we got them out of the division.

“Within a few weeks I was gone, though.

“It ended on a sour note which was disappointing.

“I did not choose to end it and that was frustrating for me.

“Not being able to take that group of lads into the next division was extremely disappointing.

“They were one of the best set of lads I have ever worked with and I wanted to stay with them and take them on.”

And Newell hopes that he would receive a warm welcome from the Pools fans were their paths to cross in the future.

“People from the North-East are football minded, and me being from Liverpool we shared that passion,” he went on.

“I hope I would be welcome back because I felt I had a good relationship with the supporters.

“It was a great start to my managerial career and I wish them all the best in the future.”