New Hartlepool United chairman reveals grand plan for Victoria Park

Hartlepool United Chairman Gary Coxall
Hartlepool United Chairman Gary Coxall

New Hartlepool United chairman Gary Coxall has confirmed the debt-free club wants to buy its Victoria Park ground from Hartlepool Borough Council.

Speaking publicly for the first time since taking charge, Coxall revealed they have already held positive talks with the local authority over a range of issues.

Victoria Park, the home of Hartlepool United Football Club.

Victoria Park, the home of Hartlepool United Football Club.

Top of the agenda is the club buying its Victoria Park base - the issue has been a long-running saga with previous owners IOR at odds over the price tag.

Both sides blamed each other for failing to reach an agreement but there is now fresh hope a deal can be struck - with the club to remain on the site.

JPNG are the new owners of League Two Pools and Coxall has revealed IOR wiped out £14m as part of the sale.

Mr Coxall said: “The one thing that we are looking at doing as soon as possible is getting onside with the council and we have had various meetings, informal chats about our plans.

We have got a common goal, to protect the football club and protect it at Victoria Park

Gary Coxall, Pools chairman

“We have been well received and they have been very positive about our plans.

“We have got a common goal, to protect the football club and protect it at Victoria Park.

“We will sit down with the council about making some sort of plans to purchase the ground, so the club owns the ground.

“To put a time limit on it would be churlish. But that is our intention and the council are receptive to that.”

Hartlepool United Chairman Gary Coxall. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool United Chairman Gary Coxall. Picture by FRANK REID

JPNG are a recruitment firm with offices in Essex, London and Dubai and they have taken over from IOR, which owned the club for 18 years.

Plans to improve the area around the ground, known as the Mill House Master Plan, have been on the table for a few years now.

Mr Coxall added: “We want to improve Hartlepool as well as the club.

“We are looking at plans to improve the area around the ground.

“We want to improve the match day experience, before and after, transport and access.

“All sorts of things we are looking at, which will include the council.

“We have a huge common ground and on that basis we are very positive.

“What are our schemes? We are looking at everything.

“To do that we are going to need the council. We need to build some bridges.”

Labour councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of the authority, and his council colleagues welcomed Coxall and director Peter Goldberg to the Civic Centre for a meeting this week.

Coun Akers-Belcher, said: “It was a very positive meeting and an excellent start to forging a healthy working relationship.

“The new owners have a very clear view of how they want to take the football club forward and they recognise the importance of embracing fans and the local community in achieving their goals.

“We have emphasised to the new owners that Hartlepool council has always fully appreciated the benefits of having a successful football league club and this is a view we still hold.

“This is a new era for Hartlepool United and we wish them every success both on and off the field.”