Former Gateshead manager Ben Clark discusses job at Hartlepool United and his advice for Antony Sweeney

Former Hartlepool United defender and Gateshead manager Ben Clark insists he’s not seeking a quick return to management though would be open for discussions if approached.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 7:00 am
Hartlepool United caretaker manager, Antony Sweeney prior to the Vanarama National League match between Aldershot Town and Hartlepool United at the EBB Stadium, Aldershot on Saturday 12th October 2019. (Credit: Paul Paxford | MI News)

Clark, who made 185 appearances for Pools between 2004 and 2010, took charge during a tumultuous period at Gateshead last season as the club mounted an unlikely play-off challenge in the National League.

Despite helping the club continue their play-off push until the penultimate match of the season with just 14 unpaid players, Clark was relieved of his duties at the end of the season due to the club’s financial collapse.

The 36-year-old now works as part of the Newcastle United Foundation.

Former Gateshead manager and Hartlepool United defender Ben Clark.

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Following Sunday’s Pools legends match, the Clark was asked who would be ideal for the vacant manager’s position at Pools with Antony Sweeney currently in caretaker charge.

“Me,” he laughed.

“I’m only joking – I think Sweens would do a good job. He’s got the respect of the players which is the most important thing.

“He doesn’t know what’s going to happen now, I think he’s got a few meetings this week but I wish him all the best going forward. I’ve been in football a long time myself and I don’t say this lightly because Sweens is one of the nicest blokes you’ll ever meet.

“He’s a club legend who’s been there a long time and he got a fantastic result for the team to win 3-0 at Aldershot so I’m delighted for him.”

Still, Clark couldn’t resist discussing how he’d do things at the club if he were in Sweeney’s position.

“If it was me, I would have liked Micky Barron and Mark Tinkler to come with me,” he added. “They’re people you can trust because football, I learned the hard way that you can’t trust many people, especially when you become manager.

“At the moment I’m enjoying what I’m doing with the foundation and doing my badges and things like that.

“I wouldn’t say I’m looking to return to management at the moment but if anyone wants to speak to me I would speak to them, it would have to be right for me. I’d just wish the club all the success with whoever they do appoint.”