Dave Jones’s first job at Hartlepool United is to preserve their Football League status – but the manager is already looking long-term.
Pools currently lie 21st in the League Two table, six points above the drop zone, and face a proverbial six-pointer at 22nd-placed Notts County this Saturday.
Jones has already set about changing the “mentality” at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium and is determined to raise the standards – on and off the park.
The vastly-experienced boss has pointed to previous successes at Stockport, Southampton, Wolves, Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday as proof that he know what he’s doing.
“What we need rid of is this club just being survivors,” he said. “If that’s being harsh, then so be it.
“We don’t want to be perennial survivors.
“That’s what I thought about Hartlepool long before before I came here.
“If you asked me a year ago ‘what’s your perception of Hartlepool?’, I’d have said a team that always struggles and is fighting to stay in the division every season, a club that doesn’t win anything.
“I have an opportunity to change that.
“Along the way you may upset a few people, but you want it to be right – I’ve always believed you have to set a standard.
“Every club I’ve left, touch wood, I’ve left a successful legacy.
“Why would I not want to come here and do exactly the same?
“It’s all about setting the bar and saying ‘can we reach that bar?’.
“When we do we’ll set another, you’ll keep moving up and up.”
Jones, as he hinted above, insists he is not frightened to ruffle a feather or two along the way.
He wants players and staff to follow his lead and says that raising of the bar, standards-wise, is vital if Pools atre to grow again.
“I’m trying to use all my experience and implement it here,” he said. “If people want to learn, I’ll give them that knowledge.
“Along the way you might make a little enemy or two – people who don’t want to embrace change.
“They might think what they’ve been doing for years is all right, that’s the mentality I’m trying to change.
“I remember when I went into Cardiff one day I was talking to our chairman, Peter Ridsdale, and in the office next door we heard all this whooping.
“It turns out they’d got a match-ball sponsor!
“Twelve months later they are high-fiving when we got to the FA Cup final!
“That’s the standards we set.”