Jeff Stelling enjoyed the opportunity of a day with Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett – even if it was spent trudging along the roads of Teesside.
Day one of Stelling’s Men United March gave the Pools president the chance to congratulate the 46-year-old on his start in his first managerial job.
When Craig first came in, I thought that Scouse humour and his personality would be infectiousJEFF STELLING
The pair talked Pools and how the season has been transformed by an unbeaten four-game run which has lifted the side from just two points above the drop zone to nine.
Hignett has a record of three wins, three draws and three defeats, so is the new man doing a good job?
“Absolutely,” said the Sky Sports presenter, who had Hignett’s company on the first of 10 ‘marathons’, walking from Hartlepool to Marske. “I’m pleased with how it’s going.
“When Craig first came in, I thought that Scouse humour and his personality would be infectious and I think it has been.
“I knew he wanted to play with a bit of style and swagger – but I know two 0-0 draws in a week may not suggest that!
“But he does want to play an attacking brand of football, he’s a great bloke and knows the task ahead.”
Stelling says Hignett had put himself under pressure by taking the reins following the departure of Ronnie Moore last month.
The Gillette Soccer Saturday star said had Hignett taken Pools down, he could have been finished as a manager.
“He’s well aware that he was a new, young manager starting out in a really difficult job,” said Jeff.
“If he failed then that could be it in terms of his career.
“There’s been massive pressure on him, but he’s done brilliantly so far and I’m sure that will continue.”
Stelling has been joined on the walk by Pools chief executive Russ Green, who will be missing the Easter weekend London double against Wimbledon and Leyton Orient.
The former Mail journalist said the Men United March will go a lot smoother thanks to the recent run of form.
“At least we have gone into the walk a little bit more comfortable a position than it looked like it was going to be,” he said.
“Russ is brilliant for coming along.
“When I first mentioned it to him I said ‘will you do the first leg with me?’
“He said ‘first leg?’ I’ll do the whole thing, all 10 days.
“He’s taken it all so seriously, he’s lost a lot of weight, he’s done a lot of training and thrown his weight behind it.
“Walkers will change all the way along the way – we had Ray Wilkins, ex-England, Chelsea, Man Utd, Alastair Campbell as well, Craig on the first day.
“That’s been nice to see and the Soccer Saturday boys joining in at various stages.
“But I’ve got Russ here every step of the way to share my pain and misery.
“He’s going to miss a couple of games over the Easter weekend so that shows his dedication.”