Championship predictions, 'no risk' Dave Jones and a 'duty of care' to Hartlepool United - the curious case of Gary Coxall

Gary Coxall
Gary Coxall

Give him enough rope and he'll hang himself.

This might be Hartlepool United but I'm not talking about any Monkey.

Never have truer words been spoken in reference to former Pools chairman, and current majority shareholder, Gary Coxall.

Broken promises, pipe dreams, empty rhetoric and pathetic Twitter claims, as well as the odd spat with punters - this was the day-to-day existence of Coxall in his short, ill-fated spell at the helm of the relegated League Two outfit.

But instead of criticising him with my opinion, let's use his own words - there are certainly plenty of them.

Here are the highlights of his conversations with myself alone, without even delving into the countless social media posts...

Gary Coxall with his final appointment as Pools chairman, Dave Jones

Gary Coxall with his final appointment as Pools chairman, Dave Jones

On the sacking of Craig Hignett, Coxall believes the former Boro hero would have taken Pools down, had he kept the job.

GC: "The whole situation sits with me. And it doesn’t sit well. There is some guilt there to be honest. I still think it could work. But if our season was to start Saturday (pre-Stevenage) are we in a position to survive? The way we were playing under Craig I’m not sure we were. That is why I had to make a decision which I said I wouldn’t make."

It would be interesting to see whether this would have rang true. Football is a game littered with opinions, some good, some bad. For what mine is worth Pools would have won enough games under Hignett to stay up. The style suited their players despite the obvious weaknesses in the squad.

On the appointment of Dave Jones and the lack of 'risk' with the tried and tested former Cardiff City man.

GC said: "I still believe that with a bit of luck Craig would still be here now. But we didn’t want to gamble any longer. The difference with Dave is that he has done it all before. My input will be minimal. My input with Craig was minimal but I did need to help him more.

"Dave is a Premier League manager. He has taken clubs to the FA Cup final. He has managed through play-offs, achieved promotions and worked in every division. He ticks so many boxes."

Now, when Coxall was asked about the future following the appointment of "Premier League" Jones, he was left very much with egg on his face.

Promotion to League One was predicted, albeit not this season, and possibly a stint in the Championship. Yes, he did say that, evidence below.

GC on the future: "I want us to be a League One team in League Two before we go up. At the moment we are not. That doesn’t mean we can’t go up this year – we could have a freak end to the season. Who knows? But I don’t want to be a League Two club sitting in League One. I don’t want to be in the mindset of the underdog, every week a cup final. Any team can go up and come back down. To sustain success you must have the infrastructure. We need a structure in place. We want to be one of the strongest teams in League Two, then we go up. We build, then do the same in League One. Then who knows? The Championship is a mental division."

When pushed further on the Championship aims, GC continued: "Clubs have done it – there are examples. Look at Burton – they have the infrastructure and momentum. In football that is huge. When Blackpool went to the Premier League they smashed it. It was because they had the confidence and belief when they went up. An inherent arrogance is something we need to grow. We need to feel like whatever game, whatever opponent we can win. The manager has that belief in abundance. He oozes it."

When asked 'despite all the optimism and ambition is it important that progression does not come at a cost, or is of the detriment of the club as a whole?' GC, said: "We have got a duty of care to look after this club, this company. People have a vested interest in it. They invest their emotions in a club, much more than they would a shop or any other business. There are times when the situation gets too much. You think you are doing something brilliant for the club, then the consensus is that it’s a bad thing. It is hard to work out sometimes. Quite often people do not see the bigger picture."

The bigger picture is something Coxall quite clearly overlooked.

On his own position, when quizzed in January, GC: "I will step down from my position after the transfer window."

Aye, so that went well didn't it. He quit days before Pools went down and did not turn up at the Vic to face the music on Saturday night.