DELIGHTED Paul Murray beat off competition from 70 other applicants to land the Hartlepool United manager’s job.
The 38-year-old, who played 105 matches for the club, is the man tasked with steering struggling Pools away from the Football League trap door.
Murray met with chief executive Russ Green and chairman Ken Hodcroft yesterday morning before his appointment was officially announced at lunchtime.
It is Murray’s first management job and he will be assisted by experienced Willie Donachie, while player coach Sam Collins and goalkeeper coach Stephen Pears will remain at the club.
The former midfield enforcer says he is delighted to be back and is already on the lookout for new players to boost a Pools side second bottom in Sky Bet League Two.
“I am delighted to be here,” said the Cumbrian who has left his role as first team coach at Oldham Athletic.
“It is nice to be back especially in this managerial capacity.
“Russ rang me [Wednesday], I in turn spoke to Oldham and said look I would like to go speak to Hartlepool.
“I had a long discussion with the chairman and Russ this morning and it seems I was there number one candidate.
“It has been a bit of a whirlwind but I am thoroughly looking forward to getting into it.”
Murray also revealed he has the backing of the chairman to bring in immediate reinforcements and has already compiled a wanted list and said the club will be looking far and wide for new signings, including non-league.
He said: “Willie is very experienced and local and he has been watching a bit in non-league.
“We are on the lookout for players and the chairman has been brilliant.
“I have a few in mind and I have a long list of players, which I am free to go and explore and bring in.
“This is a great opportunity.
“I have learned a lot at Oldham and will bring that to the table but also have my own views and opinions as well.
“You take the best bits and forget the bad bits.
“I have worked with a lot of managers and hopefully I can roll them into one.
“I have Willie helping me and Sam as player coach.”
Fans favourite Murray has remained on good terms with club chiefs ever since he left in 2013 and while he wasn’t among the early favourites he became the bookmakers favourite on Wednesday night after being given permission by Oldham to speak to Pools about the vacancy.
He beat off competition from the likes of Hartlepool-born Mark Venus and former Carlisle United boss Graham Kavanagh who both held talks initially over a short-term deal plus Brian Laws who said he was up for the challenge.
Owners IOR have a history of taking their time over new appointments and tomorrow marks three weeks since former boss Colin Cooper resigned after 3-0 home defeat to Carlisle United at the start of the month.
Murray made more than 100 appearances for Pools between 2010-13, and has made no secret of his desire to move into management.
He was a first team coach at Oldham and the Latics didn’t stand in his way after being offered the chance of a return to the Vic.
Murray will be in charge for Pools’ trip to Cambridge United on Saturday, despite a statement from his previous club stating there are still “contractual issues” to be resolved.
An Oldham statement said: “Oldham Athletic have been made aware that first-team coach Paul Murray has joined Hartlepool United as their first team manager.
“There are contractual issues still to be resolved but the club would like to place on record its thanks to Paul for his services and wish him all the very best for the future.
“Murray rejoined Latics as a player in 2013 before becoming part of Lee Johnson’s backroom staff.”