Gary Coxall: We must give Hartlepool United fans a reason to keep coming back

Hartlepool United Chairman Gary Coxall.
Hartlepool United Chairman Gary Coxall.

Chairman Gary Coxall says it is up to Hartlepool United to make sure Victoria Park is full come Saturday afternoon.

The League Two side, buoyed by a dozen new signings in the summer, were cheered on by 4,289 fans for the opening day win over Morecambe.

If the numbers dip then it is up to us to entice them back,

Almost 5,000 watched the Capital One Cup clash with Premier League side AFC Bournemouth and the league match against Carlisle United.

But since then, attendances have regularly dipped below the 4,000 mark, with just 2,287 watching the 1-0 FA Cup win over Cheltenham Town.

That win, and reduced ticket prices, helped see a bumper crowd of 4,081 for the televised 3-1 win over Leyton Orient.

And Coxall says it is up to Pools to ensure fans want to keep coming back.

“If the numbers dip then it is up to us to entice them back,” Coxall told SportMail.

“Are they not coming back because it is hard to get in? Because of parking? Because of transport? Or because of what is going on out on the pitch?

“People stay away for a reason, let’s see what the reasons are.

“That is why I like social media, I don’t mind people moaning at me!”

A regular complaint to the chairman’s Twitter account – @MrGCoxall – had been the poor quality of the sound from the speakers in the Town End.

A small point, perhaps, but Coxall says it demonstrates the club does listen given the speakers are now working properly.

Coxall added: “Someone asked me on Twitter what I was most pleased about and my response was getting those speakers done!

“It wasn’t a flippant answer, it was us listening to the fans.

“It wasn’t on the agenda to do but not only is it annoying, there is a safety issue too.

“In the end the cables all needed pulling out and starting again and we had to find the right time to do it.

“The surface outside the Mill House too, that has been done.

“It is a temporary measure but it shows we do listen.”

Meanwhile, Coxall admits to having mixed feelings over the decision to re-brand the Football League.

From 2016-17, it will be known as the English Football League - or EFL - complete with a new logo.

Coxall admits, as a football fan, he fears it is another step to losing the league’s identity, but he can see the potential commercial benefits.

Coxall said: “As a fan, I just think, are we getting closer and closer to becoming America?

“We have tried FL72, the Monday Night football all started from an American broadcast and then we moved it to a Saturday night too.

“We are in danger of losing our identity and, as a fan, I just think it is a bit pointless.

“But with a business head on, if it means more revenue coming into the league, which then comes into the clubs then fantastic - I’m fully behind it.

“The proof will be in the pudding.

“Does it really matter? Not really.

“I just don’t like it. Mind, I don’t like silver cars either but people still buy them.

“Everyone has a view and an opinion.”