Hartlepool United's appointment of former Celtic and Hearts midfielder is potentially exciting but there is a lot of work to do

And breathe.

By Joe Ramage
Friday, 3rd June 2022, 8:38 pm

Never has a month felt quite so long if you are a supporter of Hartlepool United as the constant toing and froing of potential managerial candidates has continued to litter column inches and timelines aplenty.

But at last, Pools have got their new man in charge and that man is Paul Hartley.

In truth, that may be a tad harsh on the Pools hierarchy who have completed a thorough and extensive search over the course of the last month with those involved in discussions unmoved over the growing anxiety among parts of the online Pools faithful.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Paul Hartley could prove to be a shrewd appointment by Hartlepool United. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Had the search continued to yield no appointment over the coming week however then we may have been at a crossroads as to where that panic would perhaps begin to be justified.

Nevertheless, there were several candidates interviewed and assessed before the cursor kept returning to Hartley in the end as Pools made their move despite recent suggestions a deal was off the table.

Hartley will take complete responsibility of Pools upon returning from his holiday after guiding Scottish side Cove Rangers to the League One title this season.

And while that is another week to tick off in the summer ahead of the new season, it is a week that will at least be fulfilled on much calmer waters.

Quite what Pools will get in Hartley is open for debate but his accolades north of the border have been impressive since stepping into the dugout in 2011 with five promotions on his CV.

Should Hartley make that a sixth then the already much-used ‘Hartleypool’ gag may be worth sticking with.

But on the face of it, this seems like an encouraging appointment by Pools. At 45-years-old Hartley is still fairly young in the managerial game - despite over a decade on the touchline.

He has earned his stripes in Scotland and is now willing to take the chance in England and do similar by working his way up from League Two.

What was perhaps most interesting in Hartley’s initial statement issued by the club was when saying: “I’m an ambitious manager and I would only move to a club that I believe can provide the platform for building a team that wins.”

If that is the case, then chairman Raj Singh, who has at times been criticised for his investment in the club, should be praised for allowing Hartley to buy into that mentality. The hope is that it comes to fruition and words are upheld at both ends.

When both Dave Challinor and Graeme Lee were appointed there was a reserved optimism but this appointment feels slightly different.

It might have taken them a while to get there but Pools may have just found the ideal candidate to take them on a journey of progression. A journey in which both the club and Hartley himself could benefit from.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Although the first hurdle has now been cleared in appointing the new manager, there remains a considerable amount of work to be carried out over the next eight weeks before the new season kicks off if any of this potential and this slightly more measured optimism can pay off.

And that work starts now.