Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh on the hunt for a new manager and hopes for next season

Hartlepool United will hand its new manager a big enough budget to at least reach the League Two play-offs, Raj Singh has pledged.

By Kevin Clark
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 5:02 pm

The Pools chairman was speaking at the opening of his Prestige Groups’ new care home Merlin Manor in the town, a which he was joined by Pools fanatic Jeff Stelling.

He discussed progress on the search for a new boss after the controversial sacking of Graham Lee before the club’s final game of the campaign.

Some fans have suggested the move was premature, with the club having secured survival after its return to the football league, as well as enjoying successful cup runs during the season.

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But Mr Singh said he could not risk allowing the recent dip in form to carry over into a new season and it was better to replace the boss now.

"I had a difficult decision to make – the easiest decision would have been if we had left it but the decision was made that we were better of going our separate ways and trying to look for a manager now and starting fresh,” he said.

"If we started off next season as we finished off this season, the momentum would be gone – we were losing momentum already.

"As well l know, that feelgood factor – to bring that back is no little task and I that’s what I did not want to lose.

Raj Singh with Jeff Stelling at today's opening ceremony

“Graham is a really good guy and I wish him all the best. He did work hard for the club – but I would have come under pressure as well if we had started next season with the same form we were in this year.”

He promised the new boss would start with a healthy budget: “The budget is there. Everybody I have spoken to, the managers I have spoken to are happy.

"It’s a good enough budget at the very least to get you to the play-offs and a brilliant manager will probably get you automatic promotion for that.

"There are teams have gone up with a budget less than that and there's teams that have stayed in this league with double the budget.

Hartlepool United sacked manager Graham Lee

“It’s not the money, it’s how you spend it.”

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He was resigned to not being able to please all the fans: “That's football,” he said.

"It is all about opinion and all about debates, and the hard bit is for me. We will talk about it among ourselves and interview as many people as we can so it is a good process, then make a decision.

"A lot of people have applied for the job, as expected. We are just working through the applications.

"It is just a case of seeing the interested parties that have applied and going from there.

"Whichever manger we go for, we are not going to satisfy everybody.”

The club was in a healthy position and Mr Singh thanked fans for their support: “The people behind the scenes are just as important as the people on the pitch,” he said.

"Now it is all about kicking on. The fans have been brilliant and they will keep coming as long as we keep giving them th ir fix on a Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night.

“Onwards and upwards.”