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Darren Kelly Becomes Hartlepool United's New Sporting Director

Darren Kelly is the new Sporting Director of English League Two club Hartlepool United. The 43-year-old Northern Irishman, a long-time Football Careers client, moves from Pool’s division rivals Newport County to take up his next role.

Darren goes into the challenge with a remit of bridging the current gap between United’s football department and the club’s Board.

Hartlepool have had a troubled season and after the departures of experienced Scot Paul Hartley and former Wimbledon and Manchester City defender Keith Curle, in John Askey they have their third boss of the campaign, with the team lying third bottom of the 24-club division.

Kelly will look to steady the ship as he is tasked with overseeing and supporting the Club and Manager in the areas of football staff appointments, player scouting and recruitment, contract negotiations, loan club relations, medical and sport science, Academy development and facility use.

UEFA Pro Licence holder Darren, who was a boss himself at the likes of Scarborough, Hyde United and Oldham, said:

“It is a pleasure and an honour to be joining Hartlepool United and to help create a future that everyone can be proud of. I am very grateful to our chairman and the club for giving me this great opportunity.

“My plan and vision is to help build a strong footballing strategy for the long-term future and success of Hartlepool United football club and this is something that really excites me.

“I am really looking forward to getting started and working closely with John Askey and the rest of the staff at Hartlepool United.”

Darren’s conversion from player to coach to Sporting Director has been a constant journey of learning. He earned a Master’s in Sports Directorship from the University of Salford in 2020 and has since gone on to add a diploma in International Sports Management to that.

In tough times for his club Hartlepool, owner Raj Singh knows he is landing a rounded and polished football professional who has applied his learning in his work at Newport County over the past two years at the Welsh club. Singh stressed:

“We have been building toward the appointment of a Sporting Director or Director of Football over recent years as we developed things.

“Whilst this season has been very tough and we are certainly not in the position that we wanted to be on-field, I felt it important to continue with progress and plans that we’ve made off-field.

“Ultimately Darren’s role is to guide and support our football department to become better and he will oversee key areas including recruitment. He will also allow our manager and the coaching team to focus on the priority of coaching and developing the team.

“Darren comes with an excellent network of contacts and will undoubtedly be a great addition come the summer and looking beyond.”

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