Tributes have been paid to former Hartlepool manager Neale Cooper who has tragically died at the age of just 54.
Popular Cooper was admitted to hospital in a critical condition after a fall at his home in Aberdeen in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Fans from across the football community wished him well but it was sadly announced later yesterday that he had tragically lost his fight for life.
Hartlepool United said: “Everyone at Hartlepool United is absolutely devastated to hear that former boss Neale Cooper has died at the age of 54.
“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with his family and friends at this time. We are heartbroken.”
Ron Harnish, chairman of Hartlepool United Supporters Trust, said: “It is with great regret and a sad heart to find out that Neale Cooper has died.
“For those lucky enough to meet him would have found him a great football man with a brilliant sense of humour.
“He will be sadly missed, our thoughts go out to his family and close friends.
Cooper 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.
He returned to the club for a short spell in 2011 and later returned to town to hold an Evening With event.
Tributes flooded in on social media.
On Twitter season ticket holder Mark Carroll said: “RIP Neale Cooper, not only a great manager who gave Poolies some wonderful memories but a true gentleman as well.
“Thoughts with his friends and family.”
Michael Evans, who is club mascot H’Angus the monkey, said: “RIP Neale Cooper. Thank you for everything you done for @Official_HUFC. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.”
Neil Appleyard, chairman of Hartlepool United Supporters’ Association, described the news as very sad adding “a really nice man he will be greatly missed”.
Supporters group South East Poolies for fans that live in London and the south east of England, said: “On behalf of Hartlepool Utd fans everywhere, we would like to send our deepest condolences to Neale’s family.
“A true legend not only at Pools but everywhere Neale went in football. R.I.P big man.”
The Friends of HUFC 1908 said: “To the family of Neale Cooper our thoughts and wishes are with t o the GAFFA you maybe gone but in this little corner of the North East of England you will never be be forgotten R. I.P SUPER COOPER.”
He made his name as a player with Aberdeen in the 1980s lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup and European Super Cup in 1983.
He also won two Premier Division titles, four Scottish Cups and the League Cup with Aberdeen.
He also played for Rangers, Dunfermline and Ross County in Scotland, as well as turning Aston Villa and Reading.
Aberdeen FC said: “The thoughts of everybody at Aberdeen FC are with his family and friends at this very sad time.”
Police are investigating the cause of his injuries, but are not believed to be suspicious.