STUART Parnaby says he made one of the easiest decisions of his career to join Hartlepool United.
Now, all his thoughts are on helping Pools and his new gaffer Colin Cooper win promotion to League One in the coming season.
Parnaby yesterday became Cooper’s second signing of the summer and the second inside three days, after his former Middlesbrough team-mate Matthew Bates put pen to paper at Victoria Park.
Like Bates, Parnaby has been troubled with injury problems, but there is no questioning his ability.
Aside from a loan spell at Halifax Town as a teenager, Parnaby has spent his entire career in the top two divisions of English football.
When Boro reached the 2006 UEFA Cup final, he was the first-choice right back for Steve McClaren. After leaving the Riverside, e collected a winner’s medal with Birmingham City in the 2011 League Cup final at Wembley.
Parnaby rejoined Boro the following year but was released by Aitor Karanka at the end of last season.
But the 31-year-old is excited to be linking up with Cooper, a man he played alongside in the back four at Boro and who was coached by him when he worked as Gareth Southgate’s number two.
“I can’t wait to get started,” said Parnaby. “I know him very well, his ways, his philosophies.
“It was a very easy decision for me to make. I learned a lot from him – he’s always been a great professional and someone I looked up to.
“When he speaks and gives out advice then you listen. He wants to play football the right way – he doesn’t want it whacking, he wants the ball on the floor.
“I’m chuffed he sees me as part of his plans and now I want to try to help Hartlepool United to get promoted this season.”
Parnaby will meet his team-mates for the first time on Tuesday, when Pools report back for pre-season training.
It will be interesting to see where the Durham-born player fits into the Cooper strategy.
Given the stunning debut season of Michael Duckworth, it would be hard to envisage the Yorkshireman not starting at right-back, though he could feature further forward.
Parnaby is also comfortable at left-back but can operate in the centre of midfield too.
He said talks with Cooper were brisk and positive.
“It all happened so quick,” he said. “The gaffer rang me and asked to get together for a chat.
“We met for an hour over a coffee and it was pretty much a simple decision for me to make.
“I can’t wait to come and play for the gaffer and for Hartlepool.”
Pools have put tickets on sale for their pre-season home friendlies against Sunderland (Wednesday, July 23, 7.30pm) and Middlesbrough (July 30), with prices fixed at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
Pools have also announced another local friendly at Billingham Town on Wednesday, July 16 (7.30pm).