MICKY NELSON has revealed how close he was to becoming Hartlepool United boss.

Now in charge of Blyth Spartans, the club’s former centre-half – who made 306 Pools appearances between 2003-2009 – was twice in the running to be Pools boss.

He was set to be appointed when Craig Harrison was sacked in February 2018 and then again had an interview when Richard Money was appointed in December later that year.

Matthew Bates was given the job on the first occasion after he steered Pools to National League safety amid a financial meltdown and the decision to appoint him was made on the back of his last day of the season victory at Tranmere Rovers.

Nelson, speaking to a new Pools-related podcast Switch Of Play, admitted: “I took three interviews in total – on two different occasions. I had two interviews one time and then a single interview another, and I was told the chairman and chief executive I was down to the final two both times. It just wasn’t to be.

“First time I was interviewed was the first ever interview I’d done. I was in there for about three hours, quite detailed and I did a presentation and was invited back for a second interview.

“I left the room and felt I was pretty much there or thereabouts and I was told as much afterwards.

“There’s been quite a bit of change since so maybe it wasn’t the tight time and not worked out if I did get it. I could have dodged a bullet, you just never know. All you can do is adapt and now I’m in at Blyth and I will chuck the same focus, attention to detail in the role as I would have done at Hartlepool and I did at Stevenage.

“You can’t change it, the club decided to go another way and that’s that. I’m sure there’s been more interviews since and more in the future and if you present well enough and have a good reputation to get the job then you get it.

“If someone is deemed to be better, then so be it.’’

Nelson has appeared against Pools as a player on 10 occasions since leaving Victoria Park, but is held in high regard for his time at the club when promotions and play-off campaigns were the norm.

He admitted: “Does not getting it before put me off the Hartlepool job? Circumstances coming up would dictate – and where I would be at the time as well. I wouldn’t say that just because it came up I would 100 per cent go in.

“After the effort you put in to try and get it, and get really good feedback every time you’ve been in the a room and then not materialising – you wonder is the feedback genuine or not?

“I can’t sit here and say just because it comes up 12/18 months down the line I would bang a CV in for it.’’

Nelson, 40, has now retired from playing after a career which saw him play for 12 clubs. He played at Victoria Park under Neale Cooper, Danny Wilson, Martin Scott and Chris Turner before leaving for Norwich in 2009.

He added: “I was asked recently about Coops, Paul Lambert and their styles – but not every manager I’ve worked for has been all good and there’s been bad bits too and they are important.

“Good managers you get on well with, they do something which isn’t right and it makes you take the bad bits and good.

“Martin Allen was very good, I was from 35-38 when I was at Barnet and he used to get me in meetings as a player, not a coach, so he had someone else in there with him. Seeing how he conducted himself in meeting and carried himself was good.’’

Appointed Blyth boss after Lee Clark was sacked, Nelson has not been able to get stuck into the role with football shut down during the coronavirus epidemic.

He added: “It was a bit of a whirlwind, I went in and trained and the game was called off. The following Wednesday I was asked to take the job for a couple of games until someone came in. I took it for one game, then was asked until the end of the season and then the coronavirus struck and that was it – three training sessions and one game before lockdown.

“The National League have been quite poor if I’m honest with communication to the clubs. Trying to get things clarified has been a bit of a nightmare.’’

Switch of Play has been launched by ex-Pools skipper Micky Barron and Mark Simpson, the club’s former media manager, with a number of former Pools players and managers lined up as guests in the coming weeks. It can be found on twitter, facebook, soundhound and You Tube.