Six-time title winner Craig Harrison aims to reinvigorate Hartlepool United – and get Pools straight back up

New Pools manager Craig Harrison.  Picture: Brian Jones

New Pools manager Craig Harrison. Picture: Brian Jones

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Craig Harrison aims to bring a winning mentality to Hartlepool United – and get them back to “where they should be”.

Harrison has been installed as the new Pools boss and is looking to bring the club back into the Football League at the first time of asking.

Pools were relegated into the National League for the first time in the club’s history three weeks ago when Newport struck a late winner to beat Notts County.

And while events in Wales condemned Pools to the drop, club chiefs have gone to the same country looking for an answer to the challenge.

Harrison is a born winner – having just clinched his SIXTH straight Welsh Premier League title with The New Saints.

TNS qualified for the Champions League by taking the division by the not-so-small margin of 27 points.

“I have had a fantastic time with TNS where we have been used to winning games,” said the 39-year-old, who is from Gateshead.

“We had that winning mentality and now I want to bring that to Hartlepool, both on and off the pitch.”

Harrison has made a good name for himself in coaching and management, having seen his own career ruined by injury.

A fine defender for Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace, a broken leg in 2003 ended his playing days, but, after a three-year spell as boss at Airbus UK, also in the WPL, he has gone on to enjoy title after title with TNS.

“It is hard to leave TNS, but I have worked very, very hard to get the opportunity to move to such a club like Hartlepool,” he told www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk.

“It has been a long time coming and is something I must admit that, probably 15 years ago, I didn’t see coming after I had finished playing football.

“I went through a really tough time away from the game.

“Now I am obsessed with football again and I’m delighted to get the opportunity to come to a huge club like Hartlepool and hopefully play a part in getting them back in the Football League where they should be.”

Harrison is also happy to be back in the North-East and told the Pools website that he knows how seriously the people take their football.

“I have grown up not so far away and I played for Middlesbrough for a while,” he said. “We used to play Reserve games at Hartlepool when I was first there.

“The region is steeped in emotion about football no matter where you are, whether you’re at the top of the Premier League or the bottom of a Sunday League.

“It is a hotbed for people who love football and I am no different to that and Hartlepool United are no different to that.

“For me, it just matches up perfectly.”