Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh 'very confident' of agreeing new contract with manager Dave Challinor following promotion to the Football League

Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh expressed his ‘enormous satisfaction and joy’ following the club’s promotion to the Football League.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 6:00 am

Typically, they didn’t do it the easy way against Torquay United in the promotion final at Ashton Gate. A 95th-minute goalkeeper equaliser for The Gulls sent the game into extra-time and then penalties which Pools were just able to edge on sudden death.

Singh, who took over at Pools in 2018, was delighted to see the side return to the EFL in Dave Challinor’s first full season in charge.

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Hartlepool United owner Raj Singh 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)

"It’s enormous satisfaction and joy,” he said, summing up his emotions. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in just yet in terms of what it means to all the fans and seeing all the fans faces. It made it all worthwhile to see them all cheering and celebrating.”

On the game itself, the Pools chairman added: “Well I like to think I can stay pretty calm because we’ve been pretty good at defending leads.

"But everyone knows 1-0 is never enough so you just wanted that second goal to give yourself that bit of comfort.

"Then when they score in the 94th minute, you can’t stay calm because it’s just a flip of the coin by that time and when it goes to penalties you just need that luck which fortunately we got in the end.

"It’s great for the club and the town. That’s the satisfaction and that gives me more pleasure than anything, giving a lot of people a lot of happiness.”

Singh made the bold decision to sack former manager Craig Hignett just two months into the 2019-20 campaign and appoint Challinor, who had recently been dismissed from AFC Fylde.

Ultimately, the chairman’s gamble paid off as his priorities are now on securing Challinor’s future at Victoria Park amid speculation linking him with other clubs.

But he remains confident in keeping the 45-year-old in the north east.

“I’m very confident in that respect but as they say in football, you’re never surprised with what happens in football,” he told BBC Radio Tees Sport.

"At the same time, you build relationships up between the board and the manager and the grass isn’t always greener. I’m hoping we’ll sit down the next couple of days, agree on something and get it announced.”

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