Matthew Bates eager to continue as a manager - whether he gets Hartlepool job, or not

The stresses and strains of life at Hartlepool United have not put Matthew Bates off wanting to be a manager.

Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 11:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 11:51 am
Matthew Bates at Sutton United last month.

In fact, the trials and tribulations at Victoria Park have only succeeded in underlining just how much he wants the Pools job full time.

Bates has been credited with turning around a sinking ship.

Ged McNamee with caretaker Matthew Bates.

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Pools under Craig Harrison were sliding closer and closer to the National League drop, but under Bates they managed to pull away.

And by the end of the season Pools had managed to open up an eight-point gap to those who dropped out of the division.

Under Bates, and Harrison before him, it has been about much than just the football.

Pools' owner Raj Singh (left) and director of football Craig Hignett (right)

A club with a 110-year history was at risk of going out of business at worst and at best the talk was of motivating a squad, who were at risk of not getting paid.

None of that has put Bates off.

“For me personally, I have enjoyed it,” said the caretaker boss, who is on a four man shortlist for the managerial post on a full time basis.

“Going into the job it has given me confidence moving forward. Whatever happens it will look good on the CV.

“It has been hard for everyone. A lot of people have not known what will happen with their futures.

"You try and say the right things to the lads but they have wives and kids at home and they are getting nagged about not paying the mortgage. It has been a rollercoaster.”

Whatever happens now, whether he gets the job or not, Bates believes he has learned a lot in a very short time in the top job at Pools.

A decision on his future is expected this week.

“I do not think we will ever know a season like this when it comes to football,” he said.

“It has been a learning curve. It is something to look back on. Whatever happens next I have learned a lot.

“The pressures have not put me off, no.

“I think it’s harder as a manager after a defeat than a player.

“You might think ‘I don’t want this’ after you lose but the you are planning for the next game and you have the buzz back.

“I’ve enjoyed it and I do plan on being a manager in the long term, we’ll just have to see where that is.”

Having hung up his boots last summer, Bates was taken on in a coaching capacity by Harrison, alongside Paul Jenkins.

And while the 31-year-old enjoyed the step into the dugout after injury cut short his playing days, he said the experience itself did not work out quite how he, or Harrison, would have liked.

“You feel the pressure, even just working under a manager under pressure,” Bates said of his time under Harrison, where he was mainly tasked with coaching the under-23s.

“He did everything he could. It wasn’t nice but you have to look after yourself, step away from it a little bit and embrace it. It is all you can do and I say that to the players.

“I think results came along with the troubles and that gave us time.” With Pools safe, he says relief is the overriding emotion when it comes to putting 2017/18 to bed.

“I feel relief,” he said.

“It’s been a long season, not just for myself but for everyone, the players, the staff and fans.

“It’s been a hard, hard season, especially with all the stuff going on of the field.”