How ex-Sunderland AFC academy boss is having a major impact at Hartlepool United
Matthew Bates is enjoying having the experience of former Sunderland AFC academy manager Ged McNamee alongside him in the Hartlepool United dugout.
Bates brought in McNamee and ex-Middlesbrough and Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull, after Craig Harrison was given his marching orders by the club hierarchy and, according to those in the dressing-room, the impact has been stark.
Confidence has flooded back as Pools have managed to fight tooth and nail for two vital points against promotion chasers in the last two weeks.
They face fellow relegation-threatened outfit Barrow away in a huge National League fixture on Wednesday night and Bates admits it is nice to be able to call on the experience of his new coaching staff.
On the impact of McNamee and Turnbull, Bates said: "Ged is good for me to speak to, someone to bounce ideas off and I think it’s been enjoyable for both of them too.
"Having Ged with me is positive.
"I have my own ideas and won’t be swayed on what I do. But it’s nice to be able to discuss things with him – little formation changes, substitutions and the like.
"It’s a stressful place to be in the dug out and having someone there to speak with is a big help.
"He’s very experienced, as I have said before he was my first coach at the Manchester United Centre of Excellence when I was eight or nine years old. He’s been at Sunderland a long, long time and involved with the first-team when Kevin Ball was appointed caretaker.
"He seems to be enjoying it here. Both of them do. It’s a bit different for them two, as it has been for me."
McNamee stood down from his position as Sunderland AFC academy manager after 20 years at the club in November 2016.
McNamee had headed up the club's youth development programme for almost two decades and when he left spoke of his pride at seeing the club produce a string of promising youngsters.
Over the years, the club’s category one academy has produced the likes of Jordan Henderson, who has since gone on to captain Liverpool and England, Jack Colback and in more recent years England international Jordan Pickford plus George Honeyman, Joel Asoro, Josh Maja and Lynden Gooch, who are all now first team regulars.
McNamee, speaking in November 2016, said: "I have enjoyed 20 very memorable years at Sunderland and have had some incredible times, including seeing one of our own captain England recently.
"The academy is in a good place and it feels like the right time for me to hand over the reins.
"I wish everyone at the academy and the club the very best and thank them for their fantastic support over the years, they are a great team of people."