League survival a huge bonus for Hartlepool United’s future plans says new chairman

Hartlepool United Chairman Gary Coxall. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool United Chairman Gary Coxall. Picture by FRANK REID

Gary Coxall has revealed that JPNG’s takeover of Hartlepool United didn’t rely on the club remaining in the Football League.

The Pools chairman insists the new owners had a contingency plan in place if the club had been relegated from League Two.

We had a plan A and a plan B

Gary Coxall

But a Ronnie Moore-inspired revival ensured that wasn’t needed as Pools retained their place in the Football League against the odds.

“We had a plan A and a plan B,” Coxall told SportMail.

“Plan A was in the Football League, plan B was ‘if we got relegated could we still do something?’

“It was important to stay in the Football League, but the whole plan didn’t rely on that.

“The belief we have is that the club was under-performing and there would be an upturn.

“Luckily for us, it came before the season ended to keep us up, otherwise we would have come in when we were in the Conference.

“It wouldn’t have been too long before we were back up though.”

Coxall and his JPNG colleagues watched League Two Pools in action 12 times as part of their due diligence.

And he admitted he was overwhelmed by the show of support from fans as their side battled their way to safety.

Coxall, who has confirmed that ‘The Town’s Club’ will return to the club crest, added: “Last season and how it ended was phenomenal.

“The Great Escape encapsulated the whole mood – everyone had us dead and buried.

“I remember speaking to Russ [Green] and I mentioned the Lucozade advert – where a dad says to his son about PMA – ‘positive mental attitude’.

“I told Russ to keep with it and believe in it. “Football is a fantastic sport. It can help you out when you are down and kick you up the backside on the other side. I know lots of people have said it, but it’s all down to the players and the manager who sent them out there.

“Other than those guys, there is no credit to anyone.

“I know there’s a few that say the same players who started off so badly got them in that position – but it’s a lot harder to turn it around.

“The home performance against Mansfield, I wasn’t expecting that.

“They were up for it and, at that point, we thought it could happen and to see the reaction and how the end of the season panned out was brilliant.”

And the new Pools chairman is keen to capitalise on that good will by slashing matchday ticket prices, as revealed earlier this week.

Coxall added: “For this season, there’s a plan A and a plan B and let’s see where we go.

“The £10 ticket pricing offer last season had nothing to do with us, it was (former owners) IOR and it worked wonders.

“Let’s make that the norm, with affordable football.

“We can’t have fans saying they would love to come but can’t afford it. Let’s entice them back.

“People believe something good is going to happen – and I think it is.”