Dave Challinor on joining Hartlepool United, proving doubters wrong with National League promotion success and why he'd love a break

After leaving AFC Fylde in 2019, manager Dave Challinor considered taking a break from football – then Hartlepool United came calling.

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 4:00 pm

Having recently suffered National League play-off heartbreak with Fylde, Challinor arrived at Pools in November 2019 with one task, to get the club back to the Football League.

And in his first full season in charge he managed to do just that as the club secured promotion via the play-offs last month.

Since then, the hard work has continued with Challinor looking to assemble a squad ready to compete in League Two this coming season.

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Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor celebrates with the trophy after winning the shoot-out and promotion after the Vanarama National League play-off final at Ashton Gate, Bristol (photo: Nigel French)
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor celebrates with the trophy after winning the shoot-out and promotion after the Vanarama National League play-off final at Ashton Gate, Bristol (photo: Nigel French)

Despite still longing for a break, the Pools boss is delighted that his decision to join the club has paid off as he can finally class himself as a Football League manager.

“I’ve still not had a break, I’d love a break,” Challinor told The Mail. "It’s been non-stop ever since I arrived.

“I said [in November 2019], it’s the opportunity and you don’t often get choices in this industry to decide what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. Unless you’ve got a ridiculous amount of money and don’t need to work, you need to make decisions because they can pass you by.

"Some opportunities come up and you need to act on them really quickly. That’s the decision I made coming here."

And Challinor has proven what few doubters he had wrong by leading the club to its first promotion in 14 years.

“There’s always going to be scepticism in some quarters saying ‘oh you shouldn’t take that job, you shouldn’t do that, you can’t be successful there,’” he added.

"We have proven those doubters wrong and from my perspective as a football manager, this was a great fit pathway wise in terms of the club. It’s a big football club, in terms of the National League, a sleeping giant a little bit but we’ve managed to wake it up a little bit and stir him.

"Hopefully we can continue to do that moving forward.”

Following Pools’ promotion, Challinor has been in discussions regarding a new deal at Victoria Park. His current contract is set to expire next summer and he’s been subject to a number of managerial vacancies elsewhere but he’s still yet to agree terms as of yet.

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