Alun Armstrong reveals he spoke to Hartlepool about manager's job

Blyth Spartans manager Alun Armstrong has revealed that he spoke to Hartlepool United about their vacant managerial role following the departure of Craig Harrison.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 2:52 pm
Updated Friday, 25th May 2018, 2:56 pm
Blyth Spartans manager Alun Armstrong. Picture courtesy of Blyth Spartans

The former Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough striker has impressed a number of clubs after impressing in his first managerial role at Croft Park.

He led the Spartans to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League title in the 2016/17 season and they flirted with a National League North play-off challenge last term.

They looked set to secure a play-off spot but a seven-game losing streak starting with a defeat at Leamington in late-February left them playing catch-up throughout the rest of the campaign.

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That defeat against the Brakes coincided with Craig Harrison’s departure from Pools and Armstrong believes that the speculation had a negative impact on his Spartans players.

Speaking to the club’s official YouTube channel he said “After the Leamington game, Hartlepool had approached Tony (Platten, Spartans chairman) and again they wanted me to take over.

“It just didn’t feel right.

“There is something about Blyth, once you are here you seem to get stuck. You enjoy it and I love what I am doing here.

“If I can get this club there (The National League), it would be fantastic and I will give it my best shot.

“That affected the changing-room, everyone knows in football, it gets about. Lads were talking and I was getting texts from the lads saying they had heard I was going to Hartlepool.

“I think then you could see it affected performances on the pitch.

“The seven-game losing streak was just unbelievable.

“But you look back at that period and, as a manager, and the players as players, have to learn to deal with that a lot better.

“It was a learning-curve and we have to deal with a lot better if it happens next year.”

Matthew Bates eventually got the permanent role in the Victoria Park hot-seat after impressing during his time as caretaker manager.

Armstrong, who also revealed he had spoken to Darlington after Martin Gray’s departure, has since signed a new deal at Spartans, ending further speculation linking him with the Carlisle United vacancy.