Gary Coxall has stood down as chairman of Hartlepool United “for the good of the club” and signalled his desire for the club to be fan-owned.
The 36-year-old took over from Ken Hodroft in the summer of 2015 after JPNG bought Pools from Increased Oil Recovery.
But the club has been beset with troubles throughout the season, on and off the field, and go into the final game on Saturday aginst Doncaster Rovers with a real threat of relegation.
Financial problems affected Pools in mid-season, with late payment of wages to the players, not to mention visits to the High Court following a series of winding up petitions.
While those issues are now behind them, on the pitch Pools have been on the slide, boss Dave Jones taking the side from 19th down into the relegation zone.
Coxall came into fire at the last home game from fans angry at the decline of the club and after the match saw president Jeff Stelling resign after demanding the removal of Jones, live on Sky Soccer Saturday.
The Londoner did remove Jones on the Monday when he made a last throw of the dice by appointing Matthew Bates, Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher as the interim management team.
That bold move has seemingly been his penultimate act as chairman.
He has installed Pam Duxbury, who arrived at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium in mid-season as the club’s finance director and soon-to-be chief executive, as chairwoman with the instruction to move Pools to become a fan-owned entity or certainly with supporters having a major stake.
SportMail understands Coxall still owns just short of 50% of Pools, but believes having Duxbury in charge will provide a better chance of progress.
Coxall’s staement read: “It is with huge sadness that I announce that, after some serious consideration over the past two weeks, I have decided to resign from my position as chairman of our club.
“I am not oblivious to my surroundings and the feeling towards my tenure as chairman and I feel that, should I continue, it would divide the club at a time when it needs to come together as one.
“Therefore, if my chairmanship is a factor in preventing that togetherness, then I will happily step aside for the good of the club. The club is more important.
“There has been some criticism of me over the previous few months, some justified and some completely untrue and so wide of the mark it’s incredible.
“However, now is not the time to address those points, but I am confident that over the coming months it will be clear the club has always come first, even before my own family in some cases.
“I am pleased to announce that Pam Duxbury will continue with our original plan of assuming the role of CEO, but will additionally assume all of the duties of the chair, with my full support and the full support of everyone at the club.
“I have agreed and passed a mandate to Pam for her to explore conversion to a fan ownership model for Hartlepool United.
“To this end, as of this evening (Tuesday), she has met with the Supporters’ Trust to start discussions, and further announcements will be made in due course.
“All I ask is that you continue to give your fantastic support to the team - we are certainly not out of this yet, not by a long way, and I still believe that we can retain our League Two status.
“For me personally, I will always be a Hartlepool United fan and the Club will forever be in my heart.
“Never Say Die.”
A Trust statement read: “Hartlepool United Supporters Trust Board would like to wish Pam Duxbury, the new CEO of Hartlepool United Football Club, well in her new venture and appreciate her forthright and timely communication with the Trust Board in relation to Gary Coxall’s resignation and the Club’s future plans.
“We are also pleased to finally say that a working partnership is now established between the fans and the Club.
“For the immediate future we would ask all fans to get behind the team on Saturday and hope they are able to secure league football for next season.
“HUST will be holding an open meeting at 8pm on Thursday 25th May 2017, venue to be confirmed.
“To join HUST - email: members@HUFCsupporterstrust.org.uk”