RICHARD MONEY hasn’t been at Hartlepool United for long. It’s hasn’t taken him a great deal of time to work out what’s wrong.

On the pitch he has an imbalanced squad, one which isn’t cut out as a collective to compete at the right end of the National League table. Width, pace and strength are three basic elements in this division. Pools possess few of those traits.

Off the pitch he has an equally big problem: a negative outlook to contend with.

After years of stagnation and decline, the club’s followers are engrained in failure. After enjoying the ten best years of the club’s history, they are now wallowing in the worst ten years.

Anger and negativity is never far away. Equally, however, joy and pride in the club remains. It’s just all too rare when it happens.

Look at the response when Pools dug out, fought and battled to beat Chesterfield on August Bank Holiday Monday: Poolie Pride.

But on Saturday, the Super 6 Stadium was, at times as the game passed Pools by, a cesspit of abuse. Vitriol was hurled from the terraces and stands at the players as Pools lost meekly to Maidstone.

Pools weren’t very good against a team in the bottom four. They lost for the sixth time at home this season.

There’s anger, there’s frustration and it’s understandable after what’s gone on at the club in the last few years, but too often some go too far.

Money picked up on it. He made an impassioned plea in his press conference to be cut some slack.

He wants everyone on side; press, players, supporters.

In the media room inside the club’s offices on Saturday evening he wasn’t critical of anyone, far from it.

He spoke with authority, even an understanding of why the crowd are so quick to let their feelings know.

Money has come in from outside, with no ties, no agenda. He has weighed up the situation from a third party perspective, without the need to read social media and come across the Twitterati pitchfork mob, and is wise enough to work it out for himself.

Was he surprised at the negativity? “Yes, yeah, yeah. In terms of the squad we walked on the pitch as vibrant. We thought we'd beat them.’’

Pools didn’t beat the Stones, who, thanks to two near identical goals from first-half breakaways, celebrated wildly in front of their travelling fans. A bit like plenty of other teams do too.

“The result determines the feeling but this is an angry club,’’ said Money. “This club is negative. Really, really negative.

“We all have to work hard to get out of it.

“If anyone thinks I am happy with that they are mad. But I am not going to sit here and criticise the players when they need support.

“I am hearing people behind me say 'why are you playing James on the wing?' I am not. He is one of three forwards.

“When we have a squad that is built without one single wide player, I would ask for a bit of understanding, some empathy. What would you do? Put yourself in my shoes.

"I can only put on the pitch what we have. And we do not have a proper wide player at the club.’’

Money has said that all he can work out from the bodies at his disposal is that the squad was built in the summer to play with three centre-halves.

One of them - and the main signing Andrew Davies was again absent through injury at the weekend. It was hoped he would be fit for the Chesterfield game seven days earlier, then the Gateshead match on January 1 and then for Saturday. He missed all three.

In his absence, Pools fielded an inexperienced back four. Myles Anderson is the oldest of the four but has yet to convince he can play with any defensive authority. The other three are all raw and learning their trade.

Both goals conceded were identical, from breaks in behind left-back Mark Kitching and simple passes into the penalty area for the unmarked Jake Powell.

Jake Cassidy soon cancelled out the opener with a decent finish. It was his third goal in five games, the other two coming during his loan spell with the Stones.

He will offer Pools more of a focal point up front, bringing others into play in Money’s 4-3-3 system. The manager got his message across afterwards that his set up is not 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1.

But whatever the system, he was especially disappointed in the nature of the goals conceded, as his defenders failed to defend.

Money said: “I have played Magnay in there (midfield) to give us some insurance. I want him not to make tackles, but to read the game and make interceptions.

“No matter how many players you play in there with a defensive head, if your defenders do not defend properly one v one and get caught - you are in trouble.

“We lose the goals because we didn't defend properly one v one.

“That might be a problem with the personnel or it might be something we can fix on the training field.’’

Money now has a full week on the training ground, after a spell of six games in two weeks. There’s been changes to how Pools are playing, although Saturday was a return to the regular soft-centered side.

He can work with the squad on the training ground, while working on improving his options in the transfer market too.

Money added: “I would like to bring two in if I can find them.

“We have players who can drive with the ball, but we don't have players who can drop players on their backsides. When you play against nine men behind the ball it is difficult without that in the side.

“My message to everyone is give me a break - give us some time.

“Over time we can make players better. We will work hard to turn it around with maybe a few different players. That is not easy in January either.’’