Hartlepool United chief executive Mark Maguire discusses the factors behind Craig Hignett's sacking as manager that led to Dave Challinor appointment

It’s been almost a month since Craig Hignett was sacked as manager of Hartlepool United and chief executive Mark Maguire has explained the key reasons that saw the club come to the ‘harsh’ decision.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Hartlepool United owner Raj Singh and chief executive Mark Maguire during the Vanarama National League match between Notts County and Hartlepool United at Meadow Lane, Nottingham on Saturday 2nd November 2019. (Credit: Jon Hobley | MI News)

Pools had just been beaten by Stockport County and sat four points outside of the National League play-off zone following an underwhelming but hardly disastrous opening 16 matches.

Hignett’s dismissal came as something as a shock as Hartlepool had just beaten an in form Yeovil Town side at Victoria Park the weekend prior.

Now, ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup match against Yeovil once again, Maguire reflected on the difficult decision to part company with Hignett and assistant Ged McNamee.

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Craig Higgnett before the Vanarama National League match between Maidenhead United and Hartlepool United at York Road, Maidenhead on Saturday 10th August 2019. (Credit: Ian Randall | MI News)

“There might have been the perception that sacking Craig and Ged was harsh and it was early because we weren’t far off,” said the United chief executive.

“I think it’s safe to say Craig worked unbelievably hard and was instrumental in saving the club and deserves a huge amount of credit for that.

“On a personal basis, he was a fantastic fella to work with so to be in a position where we felt we had to make a decision, we were genuinely gutted.

“Both he and Ged gave nothing less than 100% and are thoroughly decent blokes.

“I can safely say nothing I’m saying now I haven’t already said to Craig but there was a concern that if we lacked anything, it was that bit of strength of leadership.

“We felt that even if we did succeed and get in the play-offs, were we going to do the tough stuff to make us go the extra mile?

“We asked ourselves the question if we’re still yet to properly come to terms with the level that we’re at.

“Craig and I used to argue over the point that was were we non-league enough?

“Craig was quite rightly proud of the background he had come from, it’s just our concern was that within the club and on the football side there was still a sense of we’re Hartlepool United and we’ll get promoted and we need to come to terms with where we are.”