Hartlepool United Ladies are on the lookout for a new Manager after Andy Stuart decided to call time on his stint in the dugout at the end of the current campaign.
Stuart has been boss of Pools Ladies since accepting the voluntary role in 2012 and has overseen two successive promotions in recent seasons to make it up to the Premier Division of the North East Regional Women’s Football League.
However, he now feels the time is right to pass the baton on to someone else as he looks to step away from his role as manager and concentrate on being Chairman and assisting the development of the team from there.
“I always had it in my mind that I would do the job for five years and then pass it on and the time feels right now,” Stuart explained.
“The reason I wanted to do this now is because the season is still ongoing so any potential candidates can come and see the girls in action, have a chat with us and see if the fit is right.
“That is important because what we have built here is very good and I don’t want to lose any of that so it’s vital we get the right person.
“We want to make it enjoyable for the girls but give them a chance to keep on improving and move on; we’re in the fifth tier of women’s football and I think the fourth tier is realistic.
“We want to keep strengthening like we have year on year; we have improved and developed and now it’s about getting someone in to help us build on what has gone before.
“Ideally we want someone with an experience of women’s football; we’re playing at a good level and the girls train hard so the new person will need to put on sessions to challenge them.
“There is a lot of work involved even though it’s grass roots and voluntary but I will be there to help as Chairman and my wife, Dawn, is secretary so they won’t be on their own.
“We also have an Assistant Manager and an Assistant Coach who are happy to stay on and one of the players also helps with some of the training so there is lots of support for the new person coming in.”
The ideal candidate will hold an FA Level 2 qualification as a minimum and will also have the confidence and experience to take games and also lead on a coaching programme throughout the week.
Andy Stuart’s Roll of Honour
A solid first season in charge saw the team finish sixth but improvements were made in response to new training methods though too many points were dropped from winning positions and injuries caused problems for the squad.
A more co-ordinated pre-season helped reduce injuries throughout the campaign but a rotation of the squad meant consistency was an issue, though the team improved to a fourth-place finish.
Big strides in terms of professionalism and performance were made during the third year of Andy’s reign, with some more experienced players added to the squad. After a fourth-place finish, Pools also made it through to the League Cup Final against Durham, drawing 2-2 at home before thumping them 4-0 away to land the first piece of silverware. The belief was growing.
After turning down the opportunity to move to Middlesbrough Reserves, Andy upped the game at Pools. Three training sessions a week became the norm and the belief and desire soared, leading to an unbeaten season which lead them to the Durham League One title, a second successive League Cup triumph and an impressive run in the FA Cup.
Another incredible campaign saw Andy lead the girls finish second to Durham in the NERWFL Northern Division and go on to gain a second successive promotion with a 3-1 play-off win over Sheffield Wednesday. As well as that, they enjoyed another brilliant run in the FA Cup and gained plaudits despite a slender defeat to Premier League Middlesbrough in the First Round Proper.