Respect, discipline & self regulation - Craig Harrison lifts the lid on his quest to create a winning culture at Hartlepool United

Craig Harrison.
Craig Harrison.

Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison is attempting to build a winning culture at Victoria Park, which he hopes can deliver success long term.

While promotion back to the Football League at the first attempt is the most immediate concern for Harrison, he’s also got eyes on continued success at Pools above and beyond this campaign.

Respect, self regulation and responsibility are the cornerstones to success, according to Harrison’s refreshing Pools philosophy.

And, as things stand, the players seem to be buying into.

Harrison explained: “Not everyone has to like each other, or socialise together, but what I want every player and member of staff to have is respect for each other’s roles, each other, and the club.

“This rule applies for those playing and those not in the team.

“I like the atmosphere the lads have in the dressing room. The mood is light-hearted and jovial - I like that - but when the work starts, like the flick of a switch, if anyone doesn’t give their all, they know they will get it both barrels not only off me and the coaches, but off their fellow players, too.

“There is an accountability here.”

Mistakes in football happen, it’s part and parcel of the game.

While some are justifiably excused, others are harder to gloss over.

For Harrison, the outcome in this decision is a lot to do with attitude.

“Every player wants to play well,” he said.

“No player goes out on a Saturday to play poorly. But sometimes it happens, that’s part of the game. Every player experiences it.

“But the important thing is that there are ways and means of doing it.

“If you train and work hard then people can forgive a mistake. If you are not working hard or your attitude is not right, then people are less likely to forgive. Then you have a problem.

“The players have bought into that culture. And in a way, that means, the squad look after themselves.”

Creative spark Nicky Deverdics, speaking to the Mail last week, admitted, for the first time in 18 months, he feels wanted at Pools. A lot of that, he said, was down to Harrison.

The manager knows, having played in the Premier League, that every player is different - some need the arm around the shoulder, others react to a rocket up the backside.

“As a person and as a player I have gone through a lot, despite being 40,” he said.

“I have been involved in pro football since 15, then had to retire. It has always been a case of having to work hard for this or work hard for that. Nothing has come easily.

“I believe whether you are playing or whether you are not, the best or the worst, young or old, treat everyone the same as a person. That is my standards.

“Individuals require different things but I always try to treat every player as a person, and show them all the same level of respect.”