Former Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett on his sacking from the club with new appointment drawing closer

For the first time since his sacking as Hartlepool United manager last month, Craig Hignett has spoken publicly regarding his time in charge.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 1:46 pm
Updated Friday, 1st November 2019, 1:47 pm
Former Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

After steadying the ship on his managerial return last season to lead Pools to a solid albeit unspectacular 16th place finish in the National League, Hignett assembled a squad over the summer believed to be capable of challenging for the play-offs despite a reduced budget.

Hignett’s budget over the summer was reportedly around £700,000, which was roughly £200,000 down on the season prior.

But after a slightly underwhelming start to the season with five wins from the opening 16 matches, the 49-year-old was surprisingly relieved of his duties.

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“We were four points off a play-off spot so I don’t think anything different, I think it’s a really good group of players who have got half a chance of the play-offs despite the budget,” Hignett told RedArmy.TV.

“I love managing and I love coaching. I would manage anywhere because I love what I do and making people better.

“You can see from the two roles I’ve had, people have been better and I have made better squads and better teams.

“For one reason or another, people have deemed it not good enough so that’s the frustrating bit for me where I haven’t been given time.

“I’ve had a job [at Hartlepool] where in the summer I’ve rebuilt, I’ve cut the wage bill by 200 grand so people kept saying I was being backed but I had no backing in the summer.

“Because of the squad I built, people thought we’d spent a fortune, I hadn’t.

“I’d just worked really hard in the summer going around to people’s houses and convincing them what a great project Hartlepool was and where we were going.”

Antony Sweeney is currently in caretaker charge ahead of Saturday’s match at Notts County with leading managerial candidate Dave Challinor reportedly set to be in attendance.

Hignett added: “They’ve got a really good team spirit, they enjoy the way they play and I think it’s a great job for someone because they don’t have to fight fires, they can just come in and manage a really good group of players.”