GRAEME Lee believes he was the man to take Hartlepool United up the League Two table and has expressed his disappointment at being sacked as the club’s manager.

Following a run of one win from 11 games, Lee was relieved of his duties last week after five months in charge at the Suit Direct Stadium.

His time in the dugout saw Pools secure their League Two status with five games to go and create memorable runs in the FA Cup and Papa John’s Trophy.

The club are now in the process of shortlisting potential candidates and hope to have a new appointment in place in a month’s time.

Despite the disappointment of his sacking, former player Lee looks back on his time at the club with pride and admits he completed the task that he was set at the time of his appointment.

 “I’ve had a bit of time to reflect and I’m not going to lie, it hurts” Lee posted on Twitter.

“I look at my time as success and I’m proud of what I achieved in my short time. When I took the job on, the team had just had five straight defeats. 19 games: seven wins, two draws, ten defeats. The target was keeping the club in the league.

“I had my plan and that was to tighten things up, be harder to beat and then build confidence from that. We did that and more through the coming months.

“Even March, we had six league games that month: two defeats, two draws and two wins, picking up vital points to take us over the 50 point target. April wasn’t good enough but lots of factors come into the last six weeks.

“The cup journeys we had were amazing and unforgettable creating an unbelievable atmosphere and bond between the team and the fans.”

It’s understood that Lee was told during a meeting with the club’s hierarchy last Thursday where the original plans had been to discuss plans for the summer months before he learned news of his sacking.

Lee had been locked in negotiations with several first team players whose contracts were due to come to an end in the summer. He was working towards securing those extensions whilst bringing in targets for next season.

He continued: “It hurts as I know I would have took us forward and had plans in place to build a squad to challenge the top end of the league next season. I’m gutted I never got that chance but wish the club every success going forward. Always a Poolie.

“I am proud to have been Hartlepool United manager and would never change anything.”

Being a former player, Lee formed a relationship with the supporters who returned the favour by contributing to fundraising efforts to his wife Gemma, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumour.

As he considers his next options, he was quick to pay tribute to the club for how they acted during his time in charge at the club.

“I would like to thank the players, staff and all of the office staff within the club for everything this season. I loved every part of being Hartlepool United manager” the 43-year-old said.

“To the fans, you have been immense throughout my time and we’ve had some moments that will last a lifetime and I can’t thank you enough for that. The support you’ve also given to my family will never be forgotten.”