HARTLEPOOL United fans have welcomed the return of one of their most popular managers after Neale Cooper was announced as new boss.
Supporters said they were “over the moon” at the appointment of Cooper as first team coach.
The popular Scot was at the heart of some of the most exciting times in Pools’ recent history, including two successive promotion bids.
His reappointment has proved popular with many fans after eight straight home defeats and a drop in crowds of around 1,000.
Sky Sports presenter and Pools fan Jeff Stelling said: “I’m a little bit surprised but he did fantastically well for us first time round.
“He’s a great character and I’m pleased for him as I don’t think he’s had it easy since he left the club.
“If he can do as well this time as well as he did last time everyone will be very happy indeed.”
Pauline McSweenie, secretary of the Hartlepool United Supporters’ Association, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I’m pleased because we have got someone I think the supporters wanted.
“He is very much a fans’ manager. I would like to have seen him as manager with Mick Wadsworth as coach both doing their own speciality, but I suppose in these financial times we can only afford one.”
Pauline added: “I think he will put a thousand on the gate easily, and the crowd will get behind the team.
“It will be a new year, new start.”
Hartlepool mayor and Pools fan Stuart Drummond was delighted at the appointment.
He said: “I did a little dance around the kitchen when I heard it on the radio.
“I think it will give the players a boost and also the fans.
“Hopefully the fans will pile back through the doors to see him again.
“He led us through one of our most successful periods in history, and if he can come anywhere close to that again it will be fantastic.”
Fan and former DJ Paul “Goffy” Gough, who organised a sell-out evening with the former Scotland international at the Belle Vue Social Club in May, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled.
“It’s great to have him back. I know he was really disappointed the way it ended, and think he will be ready to make a success of the job.
“I think it’s a great move by the club and will rekindle a lot of interest.”
Within an hour of news of Cooper’s appointment yesterday lunchtime his name was one of the top five things being talked about on social network website Twitter.
Earlier this year he attended the Tranmere game at Victoria Park at the invite of Chief Executive Russ Green.
During his first tenure as manager between 2003 and 2005, Cooper signed popular players including Joel Porter, Dimi Konstantopolous and Hugh “The Hammer” Robertson.
He was in charge for the team’s memorable 8-1 victory against Grimsby and lead the club to back-to-back sixth places in League One in 2004 and 2005 before his sudden departure just days before the final game of the season.