Former Hartlepool United manager Paul Murray has spoken for the first time about the “ludicrous” decision to sack him after just 45 days in charge.
Murray was named manager of the struggling League Two side last October by former owners Increased Oil Recovery (IOR) after Colin Cooper resigned from his post.
But the former midfielder’s tenure lasted just seven matches before being sacked in the immediate aftermath of the embarrassing FA Cup exit to non-league Blyth Spartans.
Murray - who won one, drew one and lost five matches - has lifted the lid on the decision that left him “devastated”.
Reflecting on his spell in charge, Murray told the News & Star: “When the job came along I couldn’t turn it down. But I had five league games. Come on, it’s ridiculous.
“It was good that three managers came out publicly and called it a disgrace.
“That’s exactly what it was. In some of the games we’d done well. It’s a ridiculous decision to give someone in their first-time job so little time. It’s ludicrous.
“I felt I knew what I was going into, but you learn a lot of things.
“On the surface you think you know people, but you don’t really. I played there for three years but when you really get to know certain people, your opinion can quickly change.
“I’m a very loyal person and if there had been a bit more of that, it might have been different.
“Trust, integrity...they are massive words for me. I felt they weren’t in abundance.”
Pools, who have been taken over by new owners JPNG this week, went on to secure safety under Ronnie Moore.
Murray added: “The Blyth game was typical.
“There was stuff said about Alan Shearer going in the Blyth dressing-room to fire them up, but that stuff never bothered me. It was just a case of us being brilliant first half and poor second. It’s what happens when players don’t have confidence.
“Things start creeping in, like doubt. It was a big game, but I don’t think it was a sackable offence.
“Listen, Hartlepool did really well to stay up in the end. There’s no reason to say I would have done that but I was confident I would have.
“It helped there were two teams [Tranmere and Cheltenham] below them who couldn’t string any points together.
“But fair play. Ronnie’s got 900 games as a manager behind him and I had none until I started.
“I’ve no animosity towards the club, the fans or anything. Well done to them for staying in the League.
“I’ll just learn a lot from it. I thought I was good at reading people but at certain times you find out what their true colours are,” added Murray, who has been spending time with his family and is making a return to football as a coach at Barrow.
Meanwhile, Hartlepool United have been linked with a move for Carlisle United striker Billy Paynter - who is not part of Keith Curle’s plans at the club and has been told he can leave.
The 30-year-old Scouser has previously played for Port Vale, Hull City, Southend United, Swindon Town, Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers and Moore wants an experienced targetman.
He became an outcast at Carlisle in the second half of the season and was involved in a dispute over training between Paynter, Gary Dicker and manager Curle, which led to the PFA getting involved.
Pools are understood to be set for talks with the striker who didn’t turn up for Carlisle’s first day of pre-season training on Thursday.
* Pools have confirmed ticket prices the home pre-season friendlies against Scunthorpe United and Chesterfield.
Ronnie Moore’s men host Scunthorpe at The Vic on Tuesday 21st July (KO 7pm) before Chesterfield visit on Saturday 1st August (KO 3pm).
Both home and away supporters will be able to pay on the turnstiles.
Prices: Adults £10, concessions £5.