Hartlepool United to rename Mill House Stand in memory of Neale Cooper
Hartlepool United has announced the Mill House Stand is to be renamed in honour of Neale Cooper.
Pools have announced a sponsorship agreement with East Durham College that will see the stand renamed in memory of the former manager who sadly passed away at the end of last month.
There was an overwhelming desire among supporters and club staff to have a permanent memorial at The Vic given Cooper was one of - if not the - most successful manager in the club's history.
And after successful negotiations with East Durham College they have agreed to help Pools pay tribute to Cooper in the naming of the stand from the start of the 2018-19 campaign.
Earlier this month the Mail ran a poll to determine the most fitting tribute to Cooper and more than half (55 per cent) were in favour of naming a stand after him.
Pools chief executive Mark Maguire said: "This is a huge deal for the club on so many levels.
"Commercially, the fact that East Durham College have agreed to take out significant sponsorship further underpins what we hope will be a long-lasting relationship.
"We are also really grateful that EDC have accepted our request to rename the stand after Neale Cooper, whose loss has affected so many people in recent weeks.
"The stand will be known as The Neale Cooper Stand sponsored by East Durham College and we hope Poolies will join us in thanking EDC for their flexibility as we honour the memory of one of the club’s greatest managers."
Pools have also confirmed that a ceremony to rename the stand will take place prior to kick-off in the pre-season friendly against Sunderland on Saturday, July 14.
Mr Maguire added: "We have taken our time to work out the best way of paying tribute to Neale and wanted to be guided by his family.
"I’m delighted that members of Neale’s family have accepted an invitation to the match where we intend to formally open the stand with friends from East Durham College.
"It will be a poignant occasion when we can show Neale’s family exactly what he meant to everyone in Hartlepool and also make sure they know we will always cherish the memories he helped create."
East Durham College will have full naming rights for the stand and work will commence on rebranding in the coming weeks, while Pools say they will make further commercial announcements in the coming days.
Cooper - who enjoyed two spells in charge at Victoria Park - tragically died on Bank Holiday Monday after a fall at his home in Aberdeen in the early hours of Sunday, May 27.
Cooper presided over two of the most successful years in the club’s history when Pools were in League One with a win percentage of nearly 44%.
Tributes from around the world flooded in following Cooper's death and Pools launched an online book of condolences to give fans the opportunity to share their memories.