Hartlepool United's Craig Hignett reflects on 12 months under Raj Singh, talks takeover and building blocks for the future

Hartlepool United owner Raj Singh.
Hartlepool United owner Raj Singh.

We're just three weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of Raj Singh's takeover of Hartlepool United.

And it's fair to say there have been a lot of changes, mostly for the better, at the Super 6 Stadium.

Gone are the fears of phoenix club, administration and liquidation. The bills are all paid and on time and Pools is now functioning like any football club should, unlike the shell of a proud, former Football League institution Singh walked into.

Not everything has been positive, of that there is no doubt - Richard Money's 40-odd day stint in charge stands testament to that.

But, in the main, Pools are light years away from the mess they were facing up to this time last year - even if their National League position and points total tells otherwise.

Craig Hignett, among others, has been central to the transformation both on and off the field at Pools.

He first came in a steward to guard Raj Singh's investment and begin to steer a sinking ship away from stormy seas.

Now he finds himself imprinting his football philosophy on the training field and Victoria Park pitch as manager, having left the director of football role after Money's bizarre departure.

To Hignett, this was always going to be a year of transition for Pools after the turmoil of the season previous.

But Pools have now reached a base, in his eyes, on which they can build.

"This year we wanted to get rid of all of the off-field legacy stuff," said Hignett.

"At times it has felt like we are taking one step forwards and two steps back. But we have come through that now.

"The one thing the club needs is a bit of stability and now we can start to think about things on the pitch, and not things going on in the background.

"I think we have all started to do that."