Waiting for white smoke coming from chimney at Hartlepool United

So we await plumes of white smoke emerging from the chimney at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 6:00 pm
Lionel Messi: Almost as good a left foot as Nathan Thomas.

OK, so our gaze is not fixed on that copper chimney fixed to the roof of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican to see whether white or black smoke is sent into the Roman air to signify the voting for the next Pope.

Though some cruel wags would suggest that Pope Francis would be a suitable candidate for the vacant Hartlepool United job.

Hartlepool United chief executive Pam Duxbury.

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He has a lavish budget, great communication skills and has incredible connections.

No, I’m not being so crass as to suggest that his boss ‘upstairs’ would provide favours for Pools, but Francis is on good terms with a certain Lionel Messi. With Nathan Thomas having joined Sheffield United ‘for a song’ I think is the expression, maybe Franny could tempt his fellow Argentine to replace him at the Vic?

Forgive me going off on a tangent – I bet Pope Francis is chuffed to feature in this work of art – so Kelly’s Eye admits perhaps the world is not waiting with bated breath.

Certainly those in a number of TS postcodes are most interested in which coloured smoke comes out of the chimney at the Vic, assuming, they had one.

Hartlepool United chief executive Pam Duxbury.

You often hear whispers and then, of course, the sightings, Arsene Wenger seen coming out of Greggs at the Belle Vue Roundabout feasting on a sausage roll. I knew immediately that was made up, everyone who knows the Arsenal boss is aware he is a steak bake man.

The whispers have been quiet, if you pardon the pun, the only one I heard was Curtis Woodhouse, the former Sheffield United-midfielder-turned-boxer.

Woodhouse would bring an end to the run of Scousers in the hotseat and, perhaps given the gravity of the situation, provide ample supplies of fight, given he is the former British light-welterweight champ. Put it this way, I will not be asking any awkward questions of Woodhouse, unless it’s being done over the phone! I did not mind putting Dave Jones on the spot, I could out-run him if there was any threat of violence.

Curtis would appear to be an outsider – if the bookmakers are to be believed – and that is how it would be nice to stay, no offence Mr Woodhouse, sir. So too Monsieur Wenger. Though Kelly’s Eye would not object.

So who should be the next manager? Someone with intimate knowledge of the club and players? Someone capable of motivating the players and staff? Someone who knows how to manage at National League level? Someone who will work for Pools and not for himself?

How about all of the above?

Sorry, your columnist is getting a little bit greedy. An appointment is needed – and soon. The retained list needs sorting, though given many of this season’s squad are still under contract, there are unlikely to be a raft of departures, or not high-profile ones anyway.

Thomas has completed a move to Sheffield United for what seems an absolute steal, at a reputed £300,000.

The club needs a manager to ensure what little saleable assets, like Trevor Carson and Padraig Amond, are not given away at Poundland as well (Other cut-price outlets are available). The rushed sale of Thomas had desperation written all over it. Staggering

The new manager will need to get his recruitment hat on, and look to strengthen every department in the team.

Chairwoman and chief executive, Pam Duxbury, head of recruitment Paul Watson and leading shareholder Gary Coxall are likely to be the people in charge of the process. After the colossal failure of their last venture, the pressure is on them here.

They went very left-field when they appointed Jones. The 60-year-old had an unreal CV, incredible knowledge but he could not manage Pools, their players or staff.

Pools is a unique entity, a close-knit operation, it needs a manager who can inspire, not some big-time Charlie who says how brilliant he is and how rubbish the club has been. Kelly’s Eye liked what Matthew Bates did in a short space of time as interim manager and he would be a popular choice among the squad who responded superbly to the 30-year-old and his coaching comrades, Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher.

Sam Collins, turfed out of the club by Jones two months ago, produced a similar reaction when he was caretaker following the departure of Craig Hignett in January. He knows the club intimately and, as mentioned on this very page seven days ago, adores Hartlepool United. He too would be a good shout.

I’m not privy to the selection process, but what I would say to the thinktank at the Vic, choose carefully.

Pools can come back and come back quickly – if they get the right candidate. Pam, it’s over to you.