Hartlepool United non-executive director Adrian Bevington outlines club intentions on Antony Sweeney after his interim spell in charge
Hartlepool United non-executive director Adrian Bevington has outlined the club’s intentions to secure Antony Sweeney’s future for the long term.
Sweeney was thrown into the interim manager’s role following the exit of Dave Challinor last month and took charge of eight games in total before the arrival of new manager Graeme Lee.
Sweeney oversaw three wins, one draw and four defeats across his month-long spell in all competitions including a standout 3-0 success over Sheffield Wednesday in his final game in charge in the Papa John’s Trophy last week.
Speaking after the game Sweeney disclosed his ambitions to 'go in certain directions' before saying discussions will need to be had regarding his future and where those ambitions lie within the club.
And club director Bevington has addressed Sweeney’s role, insisting they want him to remain at the Suit Direct Stadium.
“First and foremost we want Antony Sweeney to stay,” Bevington told The Mail.
“He is integral, in our mind, to the football club. He’s absolutely right up there and we want him to be part of the first team structure.
“We see him as part of Hartlepool United Football Club, he’s done a brilliant job. Of course, conversations will take place with him to get some further clarity on that.
“So far it’s been a bit of a whistle stop tour for a lot of people over the past month, but as far as we’re concerned we want Antony to be part of the club long term.”
Sweeney reverted to his previous role of first team coach for Saturday’s FA Cup success at Lincoln City with new manager Lee crediting the 38-year-old for the move which led to Pools' winner at Sincil Bank.
Sweeney has often referred to his desire to be involved with the club’s academy, of which they are looking to re-establish, but he has also received the backing of his former teammate Lee to maintain a key role within his staff.
“Tony Sweeney has done an absolutely amazing job, he’s been fantastic since taking over in the interim and I've had many conversations with him on what his belief with the squad is,” said Lee.
“He’ll still be in that role [as first team coach]. He’s key for us. He’ll give us every bit of information we need. He’ll still be first team coach and still be on the grass with us.
“Long term he’ll be involved with the academy which we’re looking to bring back, and will be massive for the club, but short term he’s going to be in the same role.”
Sweeney admitted to feeling the pressure of being interim boss upon stepping down and that it will take some time to reflect on his job but also believes he kept the club in a good place.
“I’ve done that under the circumstances,” Sweeney explained to The Mail.
“I would have loved to have left it in a higher league position but that wasn't to be.
“You’re judged on how you leave the football club on various things. The feel good factor should be back slightly.
“So all in all it’s probably a little bit of a mixed bag but I think I’ll reflect on it in the future and say ‘in difficult circumstances, we’ve come through and come through reasonably well.’