Hartlepool Utd chairman welcomes new mangement team to club

Ken Hodcroft.
Ken Hodcroft.

Hartlepool Utd Chairman Ken Hodcroft has welcomed Colin Cooper and Craig Hignett to Pools and confirmed IOR’s committment to the club

The chairman’s statement in full reads –

Now that the media have had their say (with the usual speculation on John’s replacement) and before our new First Team Manager and his Assistant venture up Kilimanjaro in early June, I would like to offer a warm welcome to Colin Cooper and Craig Hignett.

Colin is an organised, ambitious and enthusiastic young manager with an excellent coaching background and a real determination to succeed; we all wish him every success in the role.

Craig is deadly serious about his football but brings his special personality to the Club and again we wish him well in his new role.

The pressure is already on both of them to succeed climbing their first mountain in June (which is for a very good cause), the next mountain will be placed in front of them at the end of the month when they commence their work at the Club. Mountains can be notoriously unpredictable and although climbing out of League Two should be a direct route, it will not be.

They will have to use all their skills and the limited resources at their disposal to achieve the summit.

Are they a Clough and Taylor/Turner and West as one reporter has commented? No is my answer, they are Cooper and Hignett.

They will make their own mark on HUFC but they have been selected from many applicants (despite the local media suggesting Cooper was a done deal long before it was) based on their present talents and keenness to give management a try and their belief to succeed – that’s the main similarity between them and a Clough and Taylor or a Turner and West.

Such a formula has worked for HUFC in the past and its time it was given another try. Their task will not be easy as funding for new players will be restricted by the stark reality of our return to League Two after six years and, of course, Salary Cost Management (salary capping) in League Two means we can only spend 55% of our turnover on player’s wages.

So income into the Club from all sources is important (especially from advertising and Season Ticket sales).

At the time of writing we do not know what the 55% is as income (committed and projected) for Season 2013/14 is still not known.

Once the figures are compiled the Club will then need the agreement and approval of them from the Football League. Poor income (actual and projected) will mean less to spend for Colin.

IOR as owners cannot influence that number – only you the sponsors and fans can. If the number is low there will be no point saying that “Cooper does not have the support and backing of myself or the owners”. Colin will have that support but if the Football League says no to a player or a loanee, then Colin will have to make and do with what he has.

However, he is currently looking to bring in some new faces and we will work hard to justify them within our predicted income stream to the Football League before August. There will be a more detailed statement from the Club on League Two Salary capping in the next few days.

Relegation to League Two was extremely disappointing but we must now all focus on a brighter future and unite behind our new management team and all the players ahead of the new season.

In September it will be 16 years since IOR became owners at Hartlepool United and during that time we have had a lot more highs than lows; HUFC staff and the owners remain fully-committed to the Club, despite the long wait for the Council to sort out the Club’s ground lease, and look forward to writing many more proud and happy chapters in the Pools story - starting this season.

The passion and commitment the supporters have for this Football Club has never been undervalued, and you can rest assured that I and the Owners have always taken seriously our responsibilities for carrying out your and the Club’s hopes and ambitions to the best of our ability.

We haven’t rewarded that loyalty on the pitch in recent seasons, especially in home games, but we remain determined to bring success to the Club and your ongoing support will help us do that. Not everyone will agree with the way the Club is run by IOR or the way we do not always communicate our every move but over 16 years we believe it is the correct way forward. Over the last two seasons we appreciate that some of you have wanted more action to be taken, especially changing out players or bringing in loan players.

Although the Salary Capping has prevented many such moves for new or loan players it is not a simple task to “remove” an existing player from any Club. The player has a contract of employment that cannot be terminated without financial compensation and such funds, if paid, work against the Club and use up finances in terms of Salary Capping principles – so there are no savings going down such a route.

I am very encouraged by early Season Ticket sales and hope they can continue to rise steadily during the summer – certainly this income is as crucial as it’s ever been to the Club and I thank everyone who has already bought one (or more).

I would also like to thank our sponsors for renewing their agreements with us and of course warmly welcome any new sponsors that want to climb the League Two mountain with us!

I hope you all enjoy the summer break and on behalf of everyone at the Football Club I look forward to welcoming you back to Victoria Park for any pre season friendlies and of course next season.

Ken Hodcroft

The statement was published club’s website