How Craig Harrison’s rein at Hartlepool has been ‘hamstrung’ by off-field problems

Craig Harrison
Craig Harrison

Hartlepool United chief executive Pam Duxbury has admitted manager Craig Harrison has been ‘hamstrung’ in his attempts to turn around the team’s fortunes because of the financial issues at the club.

Pools yesterday announced they were seeking new investment, with the club available for sale by owners Sage Investment.

A statement said that the club had unearthed “a number of legacy issues that have consumed huge financial and human resources” since the change of ownership in the summer.

And the Mail understands that Harrison has been unable to move out any players, or bring anyone else in, for the last four weeks.

Results have dipped after a promising run, which saw Harrison named National League manager of the month for October, and ahead of today’s home clash against Maidenhead United, Pools sat 14th in the table.

But Duxbury says she remains firmly behind Harrison and his coaching staff Paul Jenkins and Matthew Bates, and has backed them to get it right on the pitch.

She said: “I know Craig works really hard.

“Results haven’t gone our way and everybody on the football side is responsible for that.

“But I do believe that we will get it right. The support of the dressing room is there and I know the hours that Craig puts in along with Jenks and Batesy.

“They work very long hours to try and get it right, alongside the players, and I do believe they will get it right.

“Obviously now we’ve gone public about looking to sell the club and try and move on to the next level, it may be apparent that Craig has been slightly hamstrung with some changes he may have wanted to make.

“But we’ve got to work with the resources we have.”

Harrison has been looking to ship out a couple of players and bring in some loan signings, but has been unable to move for the players he’s had lined up.

With a virus having affected the squad this week, the manager is hoping his players pull through ahead of a key period.

And Duxbury, working long hours herself to seek new investment to secure the long-term success of the club, has called on fans to stick with the team.

She added: “I know fans are frustrated and some things and issues going on in the background have hampered performances and results. We aren’t hiding from that. But we want everyone to come together.

“The Christmas programme is massive and now we all want everyone to pull together to help us.”

It was a message reiterated in the club statement, released on Friday morning.

It read: “The club knew that relegation would present significant challenges this season, which it has.

“The club, its staff, supporters, the people in and around the town recognise that a successful and sustainable club is what the town needs.

“The club is excited and looking forward to the games over the festive period and recognise the fans have a massive part to play in helping us move up the table.”

Today’s game is a 3pm kick-off at Victoria Park. Pools then play two away games at Gateshead, on Boxing Day, and then Chester next Saturday, before returning to the Vic on New Year’s Day to face Gateshead again.