Hartlepool axe physio Ian 'Buster' Gallagher as Pam Duxbury says decision made for best of club

Hartlepool United have confirm they have axed Ian 'Buster' Gallagher - with chief executive Pam Duxbury saying she won't shy away from making unpopular decisions.

Friday, 16th June 2017, 10:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 2:21 pm
Ian Gallagher

The head physio was called into a meeting at Victoria Park on Wednesday when he was told his contract was being terminated.

Gallagher, known as Buster, was part of the Gang of Four who were appointed to try and save the club from relegation at the end of the season.

The 39-year-old has been at the club for 25 years, and has seen nine managers come and go in the last five years as Pools have continually struggled.

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Chief executive Pam Duxbury confirmed the decision to release Gallagher, and says that while she realises it may not be a poular decision, she will continue to make difficult calls as she looks to get the club back to the Football League.

She said: "Further to the rumours circulating regarding Ian Gallagher leaving the club, I can confirm these are true. Ian was released from his employment on Wednesday 13th June, however as with HR issues there is a legal process to consider.

"There will be many difficult decisions to make at the club going forward into the new season and some may be unpopular, however every decision that I make will be what I believe to be the best interest of the club and to get us back to where we need to be.

"Craig Harrison was given the remit to build a team and this includes his backroom staff. This was not Craig’s decision, but my decision, and a remit that was discussed with all interviewees when we were recruiting.

"The performance of the club on the field has been in decline over many seasons. I have to look at every factor and changes need to be made that will build a whole team for the future.

"Some things have been tried and have failed, and there are changes that haven’t been made in the past and are still to be tried. What is clear, is if you continue to do the same thing, you get the same result. Times need to change at Hartlepool United FC.

"The performance of the club off the field needs improvement and we will need to adapt to life in the National League, whilst also keeping an eye on going back up in the Football League and remaining compliant and prepared in all we do across the board.

"I am fully aware of the comments which have been made on social media overnight – not just from our supporters but also from former players and managers at HUFC - and understand this may not be a popular decision. It is disappointing after such a positive week, which has seen five new players recruited and a new sponsorship deal agreed, to end the week on a negative.

"But I cannot stress enough that I am absolutely committed to the success of this club and I will not shy away from making changes that need to be made in the best interest of the club.

"I would like to place on record its thanks to Ian for his long service to the club, and latterly as Head Physio for the last five years."

Former Hartlepool boss Ronnie Moore and Robbie Stelling, son of ex-club president, Jeff, have criticised the club on social media over the decision.

Gallagher is popular among players, staff and fans for his heart-on-the-sleeve approach. The former midfielder began serving the club a quarter of a century ago.

He signed schoolboy forms in 1992, becoming a youth team player two years later before boss Keith Houchen gave him a professional contract in 1996.

Unfortunately, a serious knee injury prematurely ended his playing career and he decided to move into physiotherapy.

He became part of the club’s medical staff and was made head physiotherapist in 2012.