Pools chief: Why I sacked Ian 'Buster' Gallagher
Hartlepool United chief executive Pam Duxbury says she won't shy away from tough decisions after axing popular physio Ian Gallagher.
Pools announced the shock move to dispense with the services of Gallagher, known as Buster, after 25 years with the club.
It provoked a storm of criticism on social media, including from former manager Ronnie Moore, but Duxbury says she needs to change the outlook of the club.
And while she realises the decision to release Gallagher may not be a popular decision, she will continue to make difficult calls as she looks to get the club back to the Football League.
Gallagher has been head physio at Victoria Park since 2012, working under nine managers including John Hughes, Moore, Craig Hignett and Dave Jones - and was part of the 'Gang of Four' who replaced the latter in a last-gasp bid to save the club from relegation at the end of the season.
Duxbury 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 to build for the future and unlock the potential that Hartlepool United has.
"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 thanks to Ian for his long service to the club, and latterly as Head Physio for the last five years.
"HUFC will not be making any further comments on this matter due to the HR process."