TORQUAY UNITED pin hopes on Hargreaves

chris hargreaves in his Torquay UNited playing daysTorquay United have appointed passionate former promotion-winning skipper Chris Hargreaves as new first team manager - and the man to stave off relegation from League Two.

Devon-based Hargreaves, 41, returns to Torquay following a south coast switch from AFC Bournemouth, where he was first team coach. It will be Hargreaves' first foray into Football League management.

The Cleethorpes-born former Gulls fans’ favourite made 105 first team appearances for United over a successful three-year spell memorably scoring a cracking opening goal in the 2-0 Conference play-off final win over Cambridge United at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2009.

In his final season as a player – 2010 – midfielder Hargreaves was in the Oxford United squad which won promotion from the Conference.

Ever-popular Hargreaves - also a mangerial target for United's relegation rivals Northampton Town for whom he made 151 appearances - succeeds 49-year-old Alan Knill as Gulls boss. Hargreaves' first match in charge will be at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

His first home match as Torquay manager will be against former club Northampton on Saturday January 18.

Hargreaves will be assisted in his new role at Plainmoor by former Torquay team-mate Lee Hodges, 40, whose first foray into management – as a player-manager - enabled Truro City to win promotion as Southern League champions in 2011.

Hargreaves – who played for 11 different clubs in a 21-year senior playing career – has also penned an autobiography Where’s Your Caravan?

• Heir to Plainmoor hot seat Hargreaves as fans will remember him in his Torquay United playing days

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