Neale Cooper stand unveiled on emotional day at Pools

Club representatives and Neale's daughters in front of the new stand.
Club representatives and Neale's daughters in front of the new stand.

Hartlepool United's new Neale Cooper stand named in tribute to the popular former manager has been officially opened.

His daughters Amy and Ellie attended a moving ceremony at Victoria Park before today's pre-season friendly against Sunderland which was attended by 3,734 fans.

Neale, who guided Pools to the 2005 League One Play Off Final, died in May aged just 54 after a fall at his home in Bucksburn, Aberdeen.

The former Mill House Stand has been renamed The Neale Cooper Stand in a sponsorship deal with East Durham college.

Representatives of both both Hartlepool United and Sunderland today laid flowers on the pitch including former Pools stars Anthony Sweeney and Jack Ross who is now manager of Sunderland.

Pools players wore a kit specially made for the occasion by BLK inspired by the one worn by Neale during his hugely successful spell with Aberdeen FC.

Neale Cooper's daughters Amy (left) and Ellie.

Neale Cooper's daughters Amy (left) and Ellie.

The whole ground came together and held a minute's silence before the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw, kicked off.

In another nod to Neale, Pools PA announcer Greig Darby's pre-match playlist was made up of songs all by Scottish bands.

The shirts worn by the players will be made available for auction in due course.

Neale managed Pools between 2003 and 2005 and returned to the club for a second spell in 2011.

A minute's silence was held before kick off.

A minute's silence was held before kick off.

Both Hartlepool and Sunderland laid floral tributes in front of the new stand

Both Hartlepool and Sunderland laid floral tributes in front of the new stand