Ex-Middlesbrough star Stuart Parnaby says joining Hartlepool Utd was ‘easy’

Colin Cooper and Stuart Parnaby. Picture: www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk
Colin Cooper and Stuart Parnaby. Picture: www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk

STUART Parnaby has made one of the easiest decisions of his career to join Hartlepool United.

Now, all his thoughts are on helping Pools and his new gaffer Colin Cooper win promotion to League One.

Parnaby yesterday became Cooper’s second signing of the summer and the second inside three days after his former Middlesbrough team-mate Matthew Bates put pen to paper at Victoria Park.

Like Bates, Parnaby has been troubled with injury problems, but there is no questioning his ability.

Aside from a loan spell at Halifax Town as a teenager, Parnaby has spent his entire career in the top two divisions of English football.

And when Boro reached the 2006 UEFA Cup final, he was the first-choice right back for Steve McClaren and, after leaving the Riverside to join Birmingham, he collected a winner’s medal in the 2011 League Cup final at Wembley.

Parnaby rejoined Boro the following year but was released by Aitor Karanka in the summer.

But he is excited to be linking up with Cooper, a man he played alongside in the back four at Boro and who was coached by him when he worked as Gareth Southgate’s number two.

“I can’t wait to get started,” said the 31-year-old.

“I know him very well, his ways, his philosophies.

“It was a very easy decision for me to make.

“I learned a lot from him – he’s always been a great professional and someone I looked up to.

“When he speaks and gives out advice then you listen.

“He wants to play football the right way – he doesn’t want it whacking, he wants the ball on the floor.

“I’m chuffed he sees me as part of his plans and now I want to try to help Hartlepool United to get promoted this season.”

Parnaby will meet his team-mates for the first time on Tuesday, when Pools report back for pre-season training.

It will be interesting to see where the Durham-born player fits into the Cooper strategy.

Given the stunning debut season of Michael Duckworth it would be hard to envisage the Yorkshireman not starting at right-back though he could feature further forward.

Parnaby is also comfortable at left-back but can operate in the centre of midfield too.

He said talks with Cooper were brisk and positive.

“It all happened so quick,” he told SportMail. “The gaffer rang me and asked to get together for a chat.

“We met for an hour over a coffee and it was pretty much a simple decision for me to make.

“I can’t wait to come and play for the gaffer and for Hartlepool.”

Pools fans will get the chance to see Parnaby in a blue and white jersey next month.

The League Two club have put tickets on sale for their plum pre-season friendlies against Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Pools will host Sunderland at Victoria Park on Wednesday, July 23, and Championship neighbours Boro seven days later. Both kick-off at 7.30pm.

Fans can buy their tickets now from the ticket office on Clarence Road with prices fixed at just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.

Pools have announced another local friendly at Billingham Town on Wednesday July 16 (kick-off 7.30pm).