Everything Hartlepool United’s chairman Raj Singh said about Dave Challinor, Stockport County, budgets and the new manager search
Hartlepool United’s much-anticipated Q&A with chairman Raj Singh has dropped.
The Pools owner gave his insight into Dave Challinor’s departure for Stockport County, the club’s financial situation and the search for a new manager.
Here’s some of what he had to say…
Explain what happened with Stockport and Challinor?
RS: I don’t really want to get too much into it but I do understand the fans are expecting some sort of explanation as to what has gone on. Lee Rust got a phone call the Friday before last from [Challinor’s] agent to say that Stockport are interested in Dave. Whether they’d been speaking to him, we don’t know but I’m convinced that the deal was done by that time anyway. The next thing was, I spoke to Dave Sunday morning after the Leyton Orient game and I asked him if his mind was made up. He said no, he was torn, he was in two minds whether he wanted to go but they made him an offer that he really can’t turn down so I think his mind was made up by that time and we all know what happened after that.
Is that how things should have been handled?
RS: A couple of people there haven’t done themselves any favours by the way they’ve behaved and that’s as much as I’ll say on that.
It must be disappointing because of what was building?
RS: We were building something special, we all thought. The fans certainly bought into that and believed into that and so did we. We thought we were building something special then all of a sudden this phone call comes out of the blue and bang everything sort of falls apart for a few days.
Were you expecting Dave to move on?
RS: Initially I wasn’t, no. When you’ve just signed a three year contract five or six weeks ago, you don’t expect someone to leave when they’re telling us that they’re going to move their family up here and it’s a long term project and they are 110-per-cent committed behind that project. So you don’t expect someone to then walk away from that six weeks later.
Has the club received compensation?
RS: Yes, there was. That was one of the things that took so long to get the contract done. There were figures in there for compensation at different levels. It’s important to let the fans know there were different levels linked to different leagues so we have got compensation and that has been paid.
Is that why negotiations took so long?
RS: I believe so. The reason the contract took three, three and a half months to agree and sign up, that was one of the reasons. That’s where we had an issue where we’d set a budget which I believed, and I still do, was good enough to get us into the play-offs at the very least. Dave agreed to that but because the contract was delayed and it went on for three months, I wasn’t happy with that so on the back of that we decided to hold some of the money back which we would then keep for the January window. At that time, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure whether Dave was going to be with us or not because I was getting stories that he’d been talking to other clubs. Rightly or wrongly, that was my information at the time.
The budget that the new manager will be getting in January, is that something that had been agreed with Dave?
RS: There is no question about that. The budget is definitely healthy to get us right up there. Morecambe, I was speaking to one of their directors, went up on that budget and I believe Cambridge before Morecambe. Our budget is right up there regardless of what figures are being thrown out there.
How far is the club away from pushing this season?
RS: I think every Hartlepool fan will agree with me when I say it’s only a bit of tweaking needed in January. The obvious one is getting some more goals into the side. Other than that, we’re not too far away.
How is the managerial search going?
RS: As always, there is a lot of guesswork that goes on and bookies changing the odds on a daily basis. There are a lot of names being mentioned, high profile names such as [Fabrizio] Ravanelli and I’m only mentioning that because it’s already been put out there but there have been other big names as well. We will just take our time and make a decision amongst ourselves regarding what is the best fit for this football club.
Have you spoken to Ravenelli?
RS: No, I haven’t spoken to Ravenelli.
How impressed are you with Tony Sweeney?
RS: Tony has got Hartlepool at his heart and he will give it 100, 110-per-cent every time he’s asked to step up. That’s exactly what he did last time and he’s doing the same this time. We’re in good hands and that’s a luxury a lot of people don’t have but we do so we can take our time.
What will you look for in a new manager?
RS: Somebody who knows the level, somebody who has played at this level and I think that’s so important and I’ve said that before. At the same time bearing in mind the modern coaching methods and all these things that will help us make a decision but it is going to be a tough decision.
It’s a critical appointment, Sweeney says more than the last one?
RS: We’re going to take our time but I’m not sure I agree with Tony 100-per-cent because last time it was about getting out of the league and this one it’s just as critical to stay in the league. It is an important appointment but we’ll take our time and hopefully we’ll get it right.