Boy George at Hartlepool United? Dave Jones in charge of this culture club

Dave Jones has reiterated his desire to change the 'culture' at Hartlepool United.

Tuesday, 14th March 2017, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:03 am
Dave Jones
Dave Jones

Pools are currently fighting a battle to stay in the Football League – not an unknown scenario for the club.

This is the club’s fifth relegation scrap in as many years and the fourth on the belt in League Two.

You have to go back a decade for the last time Pools finished in the top of a division when they were pipped to the 2006-07 League Two title on the final day of the season.

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Jones feels the club he has joined is in “struggle” mode – no matter the ambition of owners, managers, fans and the calibre of players.

The former Stockport County, Southampton, Wolves, Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday manager has vast experience of building clubs and sees his work at Clarence Road as another significant project to add to an extensive portfolio.

Jones has had mixed success on the field to date – Pools are unbeaten in five home matches since the 60-year-old succeeded Craig Hignett who was sacked after less than a year in charge.

But away from the Vic, Pools have lost all five fixtures and the Scouser is looking to create a new mentality.

“I’ve come into a club where it seems ingrained that we are going to struggle,” he told SportMail.

“No-one here wants Hartlepool to be like that, but sometimes if you keep getting told that you start to believe it.

“We’re trying to change the whole culture of the place.

“It doesn’t mean because you have been here a long time that you’ve been doing the right things.

“That’s hard to hear sometimes but you have to be brutally honest.

“I’m not picking on anyone, they’ve maybe not had anyone telling them that they can do it in a better way, that’s life.

“I’d rather be brutally honest than tippy-toe around these things.

“If you want to get up into the next division you have to start believing and acting that you are capable of doing that.

“You can’t just hope it’s going to happen.

“This club has a long-standing history and that’s fantastic but success has been spasmodic, it has not been continuous.

“That’s what I’m looking to change, hopefully I can do that.”

Jones had hoped Pools would end their away drought at the weekend when they visited Notts County who started the day one place and one point below Pools.

But Kevin Nolan’s side climbed from 22nd to 19th in the table thanks to a 2-1 at Meadow Lane.

Pools had got to half-time goalless, in part thanks to Joe Fryer’s penalty save from Shola Ameobi.

But second-half goals from Ameobi and Jorge Grant sunk the visitors

It led to the players getting a rare blast from their boss.

“I’ve bared my teeth a few times,” he admitted. “But my anger was to do with us throwing the game away, we should have taken something from it.

“Joe [Fryer] has saved a penalty so we got away with that one, so you have to capitalise on that.

“Then we’ve come out for the second half and give a goal away!”

Pools face a tough match tonight against a Cambridge side full of beans after winning 3-0 at promotion-candidates Carlisle on Saturday.

“That’s true, but we are not shy of confidence ourselves to be honest,” added Jones, who was impressed with some of his sides football, though maybe not the fact they gave away two preventable goals.

“We were in charge of long spells in the game at Notts County but we didn’t grasp the half-chances.

“The important thing is we’ve got to stop this habit of chasing games.

“You could see how we upped it after their second goal but we should have upped it long before then. Everyone tells me it’s a worldy second, but there is a catalogue of things we could have done to stop that incident.”