FORMER Boro head coach and early frontrunner Jonathan Woodgate has ruled himself out of taking the vacant Hartlepool United manager’s job whilst blasting the club’s decision to sack Graeme Lee.

Woodgate had emerged as one of the early favourites for the job after Lee’s departure was announced last night after five months at the Suit Direct Stadium.

Several other out of work managers have been linked with the vacancy including Chris Beech, Simon Grayson, Michael Appleton and Kenny Jackett.

When quizzed by BBC Radio Tees about whether he would be interested in taking the role, Woodgate fumed: “Absolutely no chance. They just sacked my pal. Why would I go and do that to my mate? You’ve got to be loyal by the way but that is not something I would look at. No chance.”

The 42-year-old was heavily linked with the job last time around and was installed as the bookmakers favourite before Pools went on to appoint Lee as boss.

But Woodgate, who is out of work himself, feels his good friend wasn’t given enough time in the hotseat by Chairman Raj Singh.

“I can’t understand the decision. But that’s football” Woodgate admitted.

“Spike did a good job there. He was brought in there to keep them in that league and he did that. He had to go in there and do that job.

“In football, first managerial job for Spike and he’s given five months? One transfer window? What are you supposed to do? I think it’s a ridiculous decision in my view.

“When you are a young manager, you need an owner to really back you and he ain’t been backed. He hasn’t really been backed with any signings or anything. You get to the end of the season and you should really give him another two transfer windows.

“He’s signed a two-and-a-half year contract. Why get rid of him so quick? Give him a chance, he needs time but these owners have pressure on themselves and I didn’t really understand what pressures were on Hartlepool this season other than staying in the league. Then they can rebuild.

“They are looking at expanding their recruitment department for next season and really develop that side of it and that’s what you need but at least give Graeme transfer windows to try and build the squad.”

Singh said in a statement that they would be looking to install a new manager as soon as possible to allow them time to prepare for next season. However, Woodgate believes that process is further along than people might expect.

He continued: “I’m sure there will be people looking at that job and wanting it but who knows. I’m sure that might have someone lined up because I don’t think they would just get rid of Graeme and not have anyone in charge. They will probably have someone lined up but that’s football. It’s absolutely horrific decision.”