Hartlepool United go through managers like a monkey peels bananas. While it’s a surprise that Craig Hignett has left Pools, is anyone really shocked?

Chairman Raj Singh has brought financial stability to the club, rescuing it from oblivion. When it comes to managers, he’s soon tuned into the Victoria Park way.

Matthew Bates went from caretaker to permanent. He was axed last November and Richard Money lasted a full month. Hignett stepped up from director of football to be made boss and leaves after nine months.

Now Singh is seeking his fourth boss in 15 months. The club has gone through 13 managers in just under 11 years. Since Danny Wilson left in December 2008 – remember his reign was the last time Pools enjoyed any success – stability has been as distant as the Football League is today.

Some appointments have been disastrous – Money, Dave Jones, Paul Murray to name three – but Hignett’s reign, both this time and last, promised plenty.

There have been similarities in style with last time in that he wanted his side to play neat football, but the players aren’t good enough or consistent enough to do it on a regular basis. Coaching and working with better players, of the ability he had as a player, is more for Hignett than what he’s had at Pools.

His two most technically gifted players – Luke Williams and Luke Molyneux – remain sidelined, never to shine under him. Some diabolical refereeing decisions have gone against the team. 

And he leaves the club for the second time with potential and hopes unfulfilled again. It’s a shame as last time he worked against the backdrop of financial turmoil, this time unable to cut his way through the muck and nettles of a brutal division.

Managers have been under far more pressure and vitriol than Hignett has been when the axe came.

Wednesday’s defeat at Stockport was Pools this season summed up in 90 minutes: concede goals which were preventable, play neat and tidy football, pass it around well, create chances, don’t take them, don’t even get strikers into the penalty area, and rue the outcome.

While inconsistency rules, they have been a nearly team. They nearly got something on Tuesday, nearly got into the play-off places while they went five games without defeat.

But that’s not enough for the chairman. He has, as Hignett said when he was director of football after the club’s takeover, an investment to protect.

If he sees his investment, for the second season in a row, disappearing down the National League plughole he is entitled to act.

On his appointment, Hignett admitted: “This is a results driven business and as long as he sees progress and improvement he will be alright.

“If I don't win enough games I will be under pressure - that won't spoil our friendship. It just goes with the job and is part and parcel of being a football manager.’’

After ending last season with a win over Salford, a very positive performance under Hignett, he admitted: “It’s not been a success this season, 17th doesn’t look great but the league is tight. In and around halfway was alright this season, but not for next.

“Top seven is the aim next season, that’s what we have to go for and the chairman has put a fortune in and he wants to see progress. Next season has to be better and if it isn’t I won’t be sat here.’’

He understood the consequences of not getting into the top seven mix. Hignett and Singh have a long-standing friendship, which will be fractured today, and may take time to heal. Singh is a stern businessman. He isn’t in the position he is today without being so. Hignett said as much two weeks ago.

In October 2011, Darlington were 14th in the National League table and he sacked manager Mark Cooper. Eight years on and Pools are 16th when he dumped Hignett.

Some managers leave after being chased along Clarence Road. This departing manager wasn't.

He has a genuine affection for Pools and his role in saving the club with the chairman, and resolving the financial mess from the disaster of previous regimes, should not be underestimated. For that everyone associated with the club should be grateful.