Analysis and reaction: Kevin Phillips leaves Hartlepool United at the end of his contract and former Woking boss Darren Sarll takes charge

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
It's been a whirlwind morning at Hartlepool United as Kevin Phillips has left the club after just three months in charge, to be replaced by former Woking boss Darren Sarll.

Phillips was appointed in January after previous boss John Askey was sacked following a run of one win in seven games and transformed the club's immediate fortunes, masterminding a turnaround in form that saw Pools pick up 13 points from the first 15 available.

However, successive defeats against Barnet and Solihull Moors, which was followed by a two week break, saw momentum stall somewhat as hopes of an unlikely late surge towards the play-offs faded and concerns over the threat of relegation resurfaced.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After draws with Southend and Eastleigh, Pools shipped six second half goals in a 7-1 defeat to local rivals Gateshead - their heaviest defeat in almost three decades, which Phillips described as one of the worst days of his life.

Darren Sarll has replaced the departing Kevin Phillips.Darren Sarll has replaced the departing Kevin Phillips.
Darren Sarll has replaced the departing Kevin Phillips.

The former Sunderland striker managed to galvanise his squad, who beat a Halfiax side who arrived in the North East with seven wins from their last eight just three days later.

A draw at Rochdale - which should have been a win, had it not been for a mistake by Colchester loanee Chay Cooper that allowed former Poolie Devante Rodney to steal in and score a 95th minute equaliser - and a hard-fought 2-0 victory over play-off chasing Aldershot secured Pools' National League status for another season.

Injuries continued to ravage the Pools squad, although it did present an opportunity for three academy players to make their senior debuts, as the season rather petered out, with a 3-1 defeat to Maidenhead followed by a drab 1-1 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After the draw with the Daggers, Phillips said he was "very close" to agreeing a new deal with the club but the boss did not appear for post-match press duties after Pools edged a seven-goal thriller with relegated Dorking on the final day of the season.

However, no new deal was reached following the expiration of his contract and Phillips departed after just three months, leaving with a record of seven wins, four defeats and five draws.

In a statement, chairman Raj Singh praised Phillips for doing a "good job" and being "great to work with".

Darren Sarll, who was linked with the job prior to the appointment of Phillips, was confirmed as the new manager shortly after news of the 50-year-old's departure broke.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sarll, who gained plenty of experience in coaching roles, particularly focused on the development of young players, becomes the sixth Pools manager in two years.

The 41-year-old, who boasts an almost 40 per cent win record from well over 300 games in management, steered Stevenage clear of the League One relegation zone in 2016 and led Yeovil and Woking to the National League play-offs.

Andy Steel, who was recently appointed to the club's expanded board, said Sarrl presented a "clear and compelling" plan for the future of the club and expressed his desire to establish a "winning mentality and culture".

Sarrl, meanwhile, stated his plan to "close that gap to the play-offs" and said he wanted supporters to be proud of their club.

It's understood that the new boss has knowledge of the current squad and is set to sit down to discuss the retained list at the beginning of next week.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.