Hartlepool United opens book of condolence in honour of former manager Neale Cooper following tragic death

Former Hartlepool United manager Neale Cooper.
Former Hartlepool United manager Neale Cooper.

Hartlepool United fans will be able to pay tribute to former manager Neale Cooper following his sudden death by signing an online book of condolence, the club have announced.

Cooper was admitted to hospital in a critical condition after a fall at his home in Aberdeen in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Neale Cooper on the touchline. Picture by FRANK REID

Neale Cooper on the touchline. Picture by FRANK REID

Fans from across the football community wished him well but it was announced on Monday evening that he had tragically lost his fight for life aged 54.

Bosses at Hartlepool United have said that they will be opening a book of condolence for fans to pay their tributes to Cooper, one of Pools’ more popular managers in recent years. 

A statement on the club’s website read: “The club is opening a Book of Condolence for former Manager Neale Cooper following his tragic passing at the age of 54 on Monday.

“There have been an enormous amount of tributes paid to the legendary Scot since the news and now we’re giving all supporters the chance to pay their respects in an online Book of Condolence.”

Messages can be sent to media@hartlepoolunited.co.uk for use in the book. 

The Scot managed Pools during their most successful period in recent times, which ended in the club reaching the League One play-off final in 2005. 

More than 16,000 Poolies travelled to the Millennium Stadium when the club came within minutes of reaching the Championship, but they eventually lost the game to Yorkshire club Sheffield Wednesday. 

Cooper returned to the club for a short spell in 2011 and later returned to town to hold an Evening With event.

Former Hartlepool player James Poole wrote on Twitter: “Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of one of my old managers at @Official_HUFC Neale Cooper.

“You can see by the tributes what he meant to so many people.

“Thoughts are with Alex and the family right now.”

Former Pools and current Middlesbrough goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos wrote: “Great manager and a fantastic man! Massive loss.

“Thanks for everything Coops!”

Ex-Hartlepool forward Luke James wrote: “Devastated about news of the passing of my former Gaffa!

“Such a great man and big character, age was never an issue with him all about ability! My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

And Cooper’s former captain and assistant at Pools Mickey Barron wrote: “Really can’t describe how I feel about the news about the gaffa.

“He was adored by players staff and fans at @Official_HUFC.

“Thoughts go out to all his family .

“Miss you already gaffa.”

Fans have also been leaving their messages to Cooper on the Mail’s Facebook page since news of his passing broke. 

Barry Stevens wrote: “Heartbreaking news about Neale James Cooper passing. 

“He was Pools gaffa when I was H’Angus The Monkey and he was always welcoming towards me, always stopped to talk to me and I always left with a smile on my face. 

“RIP Coops it was a honour to know you.”  

Angela Bunn-Close wrote: “RIP. Prayers said.”

Neale Cooper made his name in football player with Scottish club Aberdeen in the 1980s lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup and European Super Cup in 1983 as part of Alex Ferguson’s hugely successful team of that era.

He also won two Premier Division titles, four Scottish Cups and the League Cup with the Dons.

He also played for Rangers, Dunfermline and Ross County in Scotland, as well as turning Aston Villa and Reading before the end of his playing career.

As well as managing Pools in two separate spells he also took the helm at Ross County, Gillingham and Peterhead.