Hartlepool United boss Paul Hartley's exit was inevitable says Cove Rangers chairman as former Hearts and Celtic midfielder joins League Two club

Paul Hartley’s appointment as Hartlepool United’s new manager has been received well by supporters with Cove Rangers chairman Keith Moorhouse admitting he knew the time would come for Hartley to move on.

By Joe Ramage
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 6:00 am

Hartley’s appointment ended a month-long search for Pools who diligently took their time to find Graeme Lee’s replacement with Raj Singh declaring it had been an ‘extensive process with a lot of candidates’ in the frame.

But, at the second time of asking, Pools got their man in Hartley after agreeing a deal with Scottish side Cove Rangers.

Hartley had been high on Pools’ list from the off, alongside the likes of former Sunderland manager Jack Ross, but the club suffered a setback when the former Hearts and Celtic midfielder was believed to have turned down the opportunity to head to the Suit Direct Stadium with Cove suggesting in a statement: ‘having had lengthy negotiations with the EFL League Two club, Paul had initially chosen to remain at Balmoral Stadium,’ before Pools returned later in the month with an improved offer which was then accepted.

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Cove Rangers chairman Keith Moorhouse has acknowledged Paul Hartley's decision to join Hartlepool United (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Hartley insisted upon his appointment it was an opportunity both he and assistant Gordon Young could not turn down and that is something which Moorhouse, reluctantly, acknowledges.

“This has been on the table for the past couple of weeks, and I know Paul was torn between the loyalty he feels towards us and his desire to manage in England,” said Moorhouse.

“The lure of full-time football was also a major factor and, in the end, I think that, and the improved offer from Hartlepool, swung it their way.

“It has been a two-way thing,” Moorhouse added on Hartley’s huge success with the Scottish side.

“We gave Paul the tools, and the budget, to do the job and he has met all our expectations. We knew this day would come; we just hoped it might have been further down the line.”

Harltey leaves Cove Rangers having guided them to the Scottish Championship following two promotions in three seasons.

Hartley has enjoyed over 400 games in management already in his young career following his playing retirement in 2011 and will be officially unveiled in his new role at the Suit Direct Stadium upon returning from holiday next week.