Torquay United appoint Chris Hargreaves as new manager

Torquay United have appointed former captain Chris Hargreaves as their new manager following Alan Knill's sacking.

The 41-year-old will take his first managerial job at the struggling Gulls, having left his role as first-team coach at Bournemouth.

Analysis

Chris and I go back a long way. I commentated on his debut for Grimsby in 1989, when he scored after coming on as a 17-year-old substitute. I spoke to him after the game: his first interview and one his family still have a copy of.

Our paths have continued to cross over the years, and Chris has proved an accomplished pundit on the BBC Spotlight sofa.

Chris has never changed his personality. He's down-to-earth and engaging, but very ambitious and he knows how he wants the game played, which is free-flowing, passing football.

He fitted in well to Eddie Howe's philosophy at Bournemouth but it remains to be seen if he can carry on his progress at a club not exactly rolling in money. He's been itching to get into management and it's a good place to cut his teeth. I wish him well.

Hargreaves made more than 100 appearances for Torquay as a player, helping them back into the Football League in 2009.

Torquay are 23rd in League Two, with just five league wins all season.

Hargreaves is a popular figure at Plainmoor, having scored the Gulls' first goal in the 2-0 Conference Premier play-off final win over Cambridge in 2009 that took Torquay back to the Football League after a two-year absence.

The former Oxford, Hereford and Plymouth Argyle midfielder had also been strongly linked with the managerial vacancy at Northampton Town, the only club below Torquay in the League Two table.

Hargreaves, who also had a spell as part of the coaching staff at Exeter City, has appointed former Torquay team-mate Lee Hodges as his assistant. Hodges was boss at non-league side Truro City, until the club's fall from grace after financial problems.

''Chris has started work already and we are thrilled to have a new manager in place for the challenges ahead over the second half of the season,'' said Torquay chairwoman Thea Bristow.

''We have been inundated with applications from across the football world but once the decision was made for a change of direction, Chris was always our first choice.

''He was very impressive in the interview and I am delighted to have both Chris and Lee Hodges back at Plainmoor.

''We now have a vibrant and ambitious management team to take us forward to the next stage in our development as a club, and we are all excited for the future.''

Chris Hargreaves

Hargreaves spent three-and-a-half seasons at Torquay as a player

Knill was sacked on 2 January having overseen a record of nine wins, 12 draws and 20 defeats in all competitions since initially taking the job on an interim basis in February 2013.

Hargreaves' first game in charge of Torquay will be Saturday's trip to mid-table AFC Wimbledon.

Torquay vice-chairman Bill Phillips said that Hargreaves would be unlikely to have a large transfer budget to play with in the current transfer window.

"We've had to terminate two managers' contracts in the last 12 months and money is tight," he told BBC Radio Devon.

"But we just thought that it was the right time and the right people to bring on board."

Head of youth Geoff Harrop took control of the first team for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Morecambe, and - talking before Hargreaves' appointment - he said the club's new manager would have the full backing of the staff at Plainmoor.

"From the top to the bottom, it's a wonderful football club and we have to make sure whoever comes in as manager is ready to take us forward, and he will know that everyone at the club will back him," said Harrop.

The club have called a news conference for 14:00 GMT on Tuesday to formally unveil Hargreaves and Hodges.