By Nick Loughlin, Northern Echo Sports Editor
After two years of unmitigated chaos and confusion, Hartlepool United have managed to trump even themselves.
It’s come full circle with Craig Hignett back in charge of the team, 24 months after he was sacked. Now managerial stability has to be the key.
Hignett deserves a chance after his last spell was undermined by a regime not fit for purpose as the club tumbled out of League Two amid financial meltdown.
To the outsider looking in, the club must still look fragmented and broken. In reality it is, off the pitch at least, more balanced than it has been for a while under the financial control of Raj Singh and Jeff Stelling.
After Matthew Bates was sacked in November, and the club had spoken about giving their young manager the chance to develop and grow into the job, they went for something different. Different in more ways than one.
Richard Money, experienced and National League knowledgeable, was appointed. He was the manager who helped turn Luton’s fortunes around and got Cambridge back into the Football League from this very division.
Pools bought into his nous. But success at those clubs came between 2009 and 2015. Every dog has its day, every manager has a prime spell. It was soon clear Money had long had his.
Pools should maybe have looked into his most recent job in frontline management, when he lasted all of 26 days at Solihull last season. He managed only 18 more at Pools.
The players played with confusion and appeared unhappy and morose. Team selections were muddled and far too experimental. Money, to be fair, did make some valid points about the standing of the club and the negative outlook from sections of the crowd.
But after he stood down days after sowing the seeds for his departure with his strange comments after a defeat at Harrogate, it then got even more strange. As Hignett was appointed, moved up from his director of football role, Money took his position in what was in effect a job swap while Money worked his three-moth notice period.
He didn’t want to take a job title, and Pools saved a couple of quid by not needing a new name plate for his office door as he walked out four days later.
While he enjoyed fish and chips last Friday evening he seemingly took umbrage to some Pools fans being in the same Seaton Carew establishment and stormed out.
It’s fair to say the plaice was not for him.