Hartlepool United legend Joe Allon believes Pools have real promotion potential thanks to owners JPNG and, in particular, chairman Gary Coxall.
Allon told SportMail that Coxall has opened up a dialogue with Pools fans and says unity will be a vital ingredient for the coming season.
The first anniversary of JPNG’s purchase of Pools from Increased Oil Recovery is just three weeks away.
And while IOR brought great success to Pools and the town, Allon says he has been impressed with Coxall.
And he is confident Pools can go up.
“Without a shadow of a doubt,” said Allon. “The thing which Gary has done best is that he’s conversed with the supporters.
They stick with Hartlepool because they are Poolies through and through.JOE ALLON
“He’s given them information, made them involved.
“Pools are the town’s club and that is how he’s treated it.
“The people can go and watch Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough if they wanted to because they are on the doorstep.
“But they stick with Hartlepool because they are Poolies through and through.
“The chairman listens to everything and has a dialogue with the supporters – communication has gone up 10-fold since IOR were in charge.
“I’m proud that is happening because that can only help the Hartlepool cause.”
When Allon won promotion on 1991, it was achieved under another chairman called Garry, local businessman Garry Gibson, who was a larger than life figure.
The former striker says he has no qualms with club owners being self-confident characters.
But he says it is vital that he is visible and accessible to fans and players and staff.
“It’s important too that the chairman is seen and has a relationship with the management and players and they can see he’s there,” added Allon.
“Gary has that and he’s done it in a very respectful way.
“I think he’s brought a lot of stability to the club and he’s appointed his own manager and while the season did not end as we’d have liked, Craig Hignett has made a good start.”
Off the field, JPNG have started the process of designing a new club crest for the season, which will come into operation the season after next, and have called for the fans’ input.
They froze season ticket prices for the new season and there has been an encouraging start to sales over he early weeks of the close season.
On the playing front, they have extended the contracts of a number of they key players in the squad, including keeper Trevor Carson, defenders Matthew Bates and Jake Carroll, midfielder Nicky Featherstone and skipper Billy Paynter, to name five.
There are likely to be moves on the transfer front, but, thus far, the only new arrivals are three promising young players, keeper Ben Dudzinski, left-back James Martin and central defender Ben Pollock.