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Hartlepool United FC Staff Profiles

Colin Cooper

Colin Cooper
First Team Manager

Colin Cooper was appointed as the new First Team Manager at Hartlepool United on Friday 24th May 2013.

He left his role in Middlesbrough’s Academy to take charge at Victoria Park in his first managerial appointment having had tastes of it in caretaker charge both at Boro and Bradford City.

A dependable and highly-respected defender during his playing days, Cooper’s career began at Middlesbrough where he went on to make almost 200 appearances and earn a call-up to England’s Under 21 squad.

He played at Ayresome Park for seven year before Millwall paid £300,000 for him in 1991 and the Durham-born centre-back went on to be huge hit with Lions fans due to his competitive style of play.

Nottingham Forest spent £1.7million to lure him away from The Den in 1993 and his performances at The City Ground – where he enjoyed two promotions - led to him being capped twice by England in 1995.

Boro returned to the Premier League in 1998 and boss Bryan Robson earmarked Cooper as the experienced centre-back required to help them settle back in the big time, paying Forest £2.5million to bring him back to the north east.

After a further 158 appearances he had a short loan spell with neighbours Sunderland before retiring in 2006 to concentrate on a career in coaching.

His first role was as Reserve Team Coach at the Riverside and he was promoted in to the First Team set-up in June 2009, before stepping in to the hot seat on a caretaker basis following the departure of Gareth Southgate.

Cooper then accepted the job as assistant to Peter Jackson at Bradford City and he again stepped in to the manager’s job temporarily when Jackson departed before returning to Boro to work in the Academy.

He made no secret of his desire to become a Manager in his own right though and was delighted to be given the opportunity to prove himself at Victoria Park.

Stephen Pears

Stephen Pears
Assistant Manager/Goalkeeping Coach

Stephen Pears joined the staff at Hartlepool United when he was appointed as the Club’s new Assistant Manager and Goalkeeping Coach in July 2014.

The experienced Pears has previously spent six years as Goalkeeping Coach at Middlesbrough where he worked closely alongside Pools boss Colin Cooper.

Pears enjoyed a long and distinguished playing career with started with Manchester United in 1979 but after making only four appearances he was loaned to Middlesbrough and went on to make the move permanent in 1985.

The dependable keeper went on to achieve legendary status during a lengthy stint at Boro during which he made over 400 appearances for the club and earned a Testimonial in 1995 which also turned out to their last-ever game at Ayresome Park.

After a short spell providing cover for David James at Liverpool, Pears returned to the north-east when he agreed a deal to join Pools in 1996 and he went on to make 19 appearances for the Club in the 1996/97 campaign before retiring at the age of 35.

He returned to Middlesbrough to take up a coaching role in their Academy before being promoted to work with the First Team by then boss Gareth Southgate.

Sam Collins

Sam Collins
Assistant First/Reserve Team Coach

Sam Collins extended his playing contract at Victoria Park in May 2014 but Colin Cooper was keen to bring the experienced defender on board with his coaching staff.

As a result, Collins agreed to step up to the role of Assistant First and Reserve Team Coach as well as remain a part of the playing squad at Victoria Park.

The defender joined Pools from Hull City back in January 2008 and has since made over 250 appearances for the Club, with the majority being as captain.

During 2013/14 Collins had already been assisting Academy Manager John Hewitson with the Reserve Team, working both on match days and in training with the Club’s young players. 

He also played a big part in the shift away from the League Two relegation zone, featuring heavily in the final 18 games of the season, leading by example with some impressive performances.

Cooper was quick to reward Collins for that hard work and loyalty by giving him the opportunity to join the coaching staff for 2014/15.