Hartlepool United’s players have found solace on the training pitch in the midst of Pools’ financial meltdown - as it’s the only place they’re not within arm’s reach of a mobile phone.
Boss Craig Harrison admits it’s been tough dealing with recent off-field trials and tribulations at Victoria Park.
His squad did not know if they’d be getting paid on Thursday until seven days before. Even now they do not know for certain if they will be paid again, or even if they’ll be in work this time next month.
But the manager says his squad have not shown their anguish in their day-to-day work.
In fact, Harrison believes the training pitches at Durham University’s Racecourse, have proved the perfect distraction for his under-fire, under-pressure and under-performing squad.
“In the modern day it’s hard to keep things quiet,” said Harrison.
“The minute the players leave the training ground they are on their phones and all of the negative information is available to them, and with that comes pressure.
“I have found that, too. You get back off the pitch and your phone is going, emails, texts. But I coming in every day as a release.
“The players have been brilliant. I’ve said it from the start. Credit to the lads for sticking together and being one.”
If you were unsure of getting your monthly wage, from your employer, would you put in 100% every day?
Ask that question of yourself and answering honestly I’m sure many will admit they would not.
Like yours or mine, football is a job, a privileged one, but a job all the same. Often the emotion involved in following a football club clouds that very basic fact.
While it would have been easy for Pools’ players to down tools, they have not done, according to Harrison.
“I’ve not had a problem with anyone, not one of them has let themselves down in training,” he said.
“They have all been professional and accepted we are out there to do a job and if anyone did have a problem then we tell them that the game and training is a release.
“They are professional in what they do. Yes, we aren’t going as well as we should be and we won’t hide from the fact.
“But I’ve seen players hiding plenty of times in my career, but not here. They won’t hide.”
Harrison’s men, who are winless since November 21, take on Eastleigh at Ten Acres this afternoon, kick-off 3pm.