HARTLEPOOL United Chairman Raj Singh has shouldered the blame of the summer appointment of Paul Hartley as manager and admits he fully understands that the buck stops with him on the decision.

Pools recently made the decision to relieve Hartley of his duties after a nine match winless run left them rooted in the League Two relegation zone. Keith Curle took over as interim manager earlier this week and led the side to a goalless draw with Gillingham in his first game in charge.

Following the sacking of Graeme Lee in May, Pools went on a month long process to recruit their new manager with Hartley being prized away from Cove Rangers to take the job in June.

In Saturday’s programme notes: “A lot has been made of the fact that we are now onto our fourth manager in a year. It never looks good for a Chairman to keep changing managers but what can you do when you’re in a position where we have won one game out of the last 20 including last season.

“A decision was made at the end of last season to make a change and give the new manager the best chance of bringing in his own players and having a full pre-season behind him and hopefully hit the ground running.”

Singh continued to say that he knew very little about the former Hearts and Celtic midfielder and that the decision was based on advise he received from the board: "Paul's appointment came about when Adrian (Bevington) made a call to an agent in Scotland to enquire about another manager who had been very successful up there. However, he was told that manager is happy where he is and put Paul Hartley forward.

 "At that time, I didn't know anything about Paul Hartley. In fact, I couldn't remember him as a player. On Adrian's recommendation, along with Lee Rust, the three of us met Paul and following his interview we heard all the right things and decided to appoint him.”

Part of Hartley’s appointment was under the remit that the Scot would spearhead an ambitious push up the division with Singh having a burning desire for his side to mount a push for the League Two play-offs.

Hartley took the reigns and decided to cast first-team coach Antony Sweeney to one side whilst the squad were struggling to find their first win of the season. Aside from results on the pitch, a series of warning signs were there throughout his tenure that suggested it wasn’t going to be a good fit for the club with disgruntled members of staff and the playing squad voicing their concerns. Subsequently, the decision to sack Hartley was made before their season began to get away from them.

The Chairman admitted he’s happy for his managers to get on with their role but admits that he may well need to reassess if the club keep having a consistent turnover.

“The only thing I would say in my defence is how many of those managers have left the club because they can’t work with me or that I have interfered too much in the team’s affairs?” Singh added.

“I’m a firm believer that a manager needs to be given free hand to do his job without any interference from the top. Having said that, I fully understand that the buck stops with me and accept full responsibility for where we are as a club. So if I keep getting it wrong, maybe I will need to take a long look in the mirror myself and then take stock.”

Curle takes charge of his second game as Pools next boss Friday when they make the trip to Field Mill to take on Mansfield.