Following several meetings in recent days the Board of Hartlepool United has made the decision to implement some changes to the Football Department at the Club.
Craig Hignett will now take charge of First Team affairs, with Richard Money assuming a senior role overseeing football matters strategically.
The Club faces a unique set of challenges in the coming months with the need to build a squad capable of promotion back to the EFL as well as introducing structures and disciplines which have been absent from the Club for far too long.
The task of bringing the Club up to date in areas such as sports science and recruitment, not to mention the challenge of reinventing the Youth Department during a season when we are in our last year of funding from the EFL, is essential to address if we are serious about bringing the Club back to the level we believe its history and its fans deserve.
Mark Maguire Chief Executive explained: “Richard Money joined us because we felt he had the experience and skill set to help restructure the Club effectively.
“There will always be a challenge in balancing the short-term need for results and working towards a long-term strategy. What has become clear in our regular communications is that the task in terms of rebuilding the Football Department and its structure will be all consuming.
“In the opinion of all of us this reshuffle is in the best interests of the club and maximises the skills of those concerned.
“Craig Hignett got the players playing in a dynamic fashion, on the front foot and in a style which fits with the philosophy we wish to pursue during his period in caretaker charge earlier this season.
“Richard has been impressed by Craig as a coach and by his vision for the team and, as we pursued our discussions, it felt more natural to have Craig driving things forward with the First Team whilst Richard assumes the responsibility to direct all other football activity.
“Let me make it clear that our only priority in making this decision is to do the Club and the fans justice, and we will continue to make decisive and brave decisions in order to reward the loyal support we have had.”
Richard Money added: “It’s safe to say that when I took the role I knew that there was a significant challenge ahead, but the size and scale of that has been even greater than I could have anticipated.
“After a short period of assessment, I feel that my experience will be more beneficial to the Club in the coming months in areas off the pitch.
“At the same time, I will offer my support and knowledge to Craig who is a fantastic young coach with forward thinking ideas and very much in the mould of manager which the Club wants to employ and grow the Club in the long term.
“The size of the task is too big to both manage the First Team and help deliver the strategy to rebuild the Club. It is in the Club’s best interests for me to focus my experience where it is needed most.
“In the interview I made it clear that my main objective was to do whatever necessary to help turn the fortunes of this Club around. This role best suits that objective.”
Craig Hignett said: “When I encouraged the Chairman to invest in the Club last year I did so because I have an affection for Hartlepool United which goes deeper than my association with most clubs in which I have been involved. I was determined that this was a great club deserving of better.
“I joined the Chairman’s staff initially just to protect his interests but have made no secret of my passion for coaching or of my ambition to manage in the future.
“After very honest discussions over recent weeks with Richard, Mark and the Chairman I feel confident now, that with the support of all the above mentioned, and of course Ged and Ross, it is not only a privilege to be Manager but also a role that I am determined to commit every ounce of energy to in order to deliver success for the Club.”
Chairman Raj Singh said: “My investment in the Club has been significant and I will continue to support the club financially, but we must see progress. My experience in business is that it is vital that you have the right people in the right jobs if you want to make the necessary progress.
“These changes are brave, but I believe they will deliver a structure which balances the necessary experience of this level and of building clubs, with talented coaching and a modern approach to the team.
“I simply ask our fantastic fans to trust us and get behind the team as we look to get points on the pitch and build a proper infra structure off it.”
Pools Fans will have the chance to hear the plans in more detail this week when the Chairman joins us on The Hartlepool United Podcast to discuss the changes alongside Mark Maguire. Richard Money and Craig Hignett.