Craig Harrison “enjoying” life at Hartlepool United despite fraught start in National League

Jon Franks celebrates putting Pools ahead. Picture by FRANK REID
Jon Franks celebrates putting Pools ahead. Picture by FRANK REID

Craig Harrison insists he is “enjoying” life at Hartlepool United despite the fraught start to the season.

It has been a challenging time at Victoria Park, where Harrison accepted the task of transforming a club at its lowest ebb and facing their first year outside the Football League.

The football has not exactly gone to script as Pools started the National League programme with two points out of the first 18.

There have been lurid rumours of Harrison losing his first job in England after barely one month.

But the 39-year-old leads Pools into today’s home match against Maidstone United with his smile very much intact (kick-off 3pm).

“I am enjoying every minute,” said the ex-Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace defender.

“At an early age, I had professional football taken away from me [after a broken leg].

“I’m enjoying this, every single minute. I love being in football.

“People might talk about stress, but this is what the job is.

“Football is not stress, it’s something I quite enjoy. I like all sides of being a manager.

“Anything that happens in football is not stressful.”

Some supporters would argue vehemently against that last statement, but they may have to agree to disagree on that one with Harrison.

The Gateshead-born boss has made no secret of the fact he came through depression to carve out a very successful career at The New Saints.

Those days look a million miles away from the first weeks in the National League, but Harrison has to guide Pools through some difficult times.

He has had to re-shape the squad, pick up a club on the floor after relegation and then deal with poor results and fans growing in anger at the position of the club.

Harrison was therefore as thrilled, and relieved, as the supporters when the duck was broke at Guiseley on Monday, 48 hours after a woeful display against Fylde.

The boss had never doubted himself or the players but knew that 1-0 win, courtesy of Jonathan Franks’ goal, was desperately needed and now they must follow that up today against the Stones at the Vic.

“I believe in myself, I believe in what we are doing, I believe in the players we’ve got,” he said.

“I was pleased for the players, staff and fans on Monday – it has been frustrating.

“It was a good way to right some wrongs from last Saturday, because there is no doubt we were poor against Fylde.

“I’d never duck that.

“Hopefully, we’ve made strides from Saturday and we can carry on from Monday against Maidstone.”