Neale Cooper 1963-2018

Neale Cooper Book of Condolence

Tributes have been flooding in since we opened our Book of Condolence for former Pools boss Neale Cooper, who tragically passed away on Monday at the age of 54.

If you would like to contribute then send an email to 


It’s hard to fully describe the impact that Neale Cooper made at Hartlepool United but the response to his tragic death speaks volumes about the high esteem in which he is still held to this day.

As a young man learning the ropes of interviewing players and staff, Neale couldn’t have made the job easier for me – the only real issue you had with him was making sure he didn’t start laughing because once he did he couldn’t stop and everyone around him would crack up too!

The staff at The Vic were given an early insight in to what life would be like with Neale around when he stumbled across the H’Angus costume one afternoon not long after his appointment. He then spent the next twenty minutes parading up and down the corridors with the monkey’s head on shouting “Stand by your beds, it’s medication time!”

That kind of madcap humour was par for the course during most afternoons at The Vic for the next two years. The backdrop to our working lives became the infectious laughter that constantly tumbled from the Manager’s office and you couldn’t help but smile along. It was a joyous, happy place to be.

I remember once asking for an update on Adam Boyd’s fitness and he spent around three minutes telling me in intricate detail how he was touch and go for the weekend’s game after getting his toe stuck in the tap whilst having a bath. It wasn’t true, Neale was just in a daft mood!

I also vividly recall posing a clumsy post-match question along the lines of: “The fans have been asking for more positive football so they must be fairly happy with what they’ve seen tonight, Neale?” With a trademark chuckle, he replied: “Well, we’ve just beaten Grimsby 8-1 so we’re in f***ing trouble if they’re not, Mark!”

Neale needed to complete reports following every game for the Chairman and my colleague Becky’s shorthand skills came in very handy for that which meant he spent plenty of time in the media office. Often the match reports would take hours because we would all just end up laughing – he just lit up every room he walked in to.

This was a guy who had won more medals by the time he was 24 than most footballers can dream of in a career, yet he remained so humble and grounded. There was no hint of arrogance. He had time for everyone. He was friends with everyone. He had a smile, a joke and THAT laugh for everyone.

I hope he realised just how loved he was by so many people and how much of an impact he had on people’s lives. We’re all heartbroken in Hartlepool and our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Sleep well, Neale. We’re going to miss you.

Mark Simpson.

As an Aberdeen fan we are all hurting at the loss of one of our Gothenburg Greats!

Neale was a stalwart in the heart of our greatest team in history.

It is amazing to see how highly regarded he was by all at Hartlepool United.

Best wishes to all who knew him and deepest condolences to his family.

RIP Neale ‘Tattie’ Cooper. Legend.

Sean Elrick

My 1st Pools game was in 1986. I’ve seen managers come and go, but Neale Cooper is the one manager every Pools fan loved and still do to this day.

He was successful on the pitch playing neat one touch football. He also assembled quite possibly the best footballing side I’ve ever seen. He wouldn’t stand for nothing but the best. In his time he sent Boydy to Boston (master stroke), he also was loaned a player off Man United only for Coops to say “he’s not good enough to play for Hartlepool United”. Not too many people would say that to Sir Alex.

As a fan, I used to love his interviews, he was an enthusiastic, passionate bloke and he called a spade a spade, that’s why he had the unconditional support and love of the Pools fans.

I’m absolutely devastated that we have lost such a great human being so young.

RIP Super Cooper.

Paul Parkinson

In my 30 years supporting HUFC, Neale Cooper has given me the most amazing memories and experiences as a football fan. I will never forget that, best Pools manager ever. Thank you Neale – RIP.

Donna Hornsey

So I met Neale a few times but the first time and the one that I remember most fondly was after the FA Cup first round game against Whitby Town, we won 4-0 and it was my first time in a box with my dad and my sister and some other family members. I was only 14 at the time. The game had finished and we went back to the box for my dad to have one last pint. That day I met all my heroes of the time, Micky Barron, Chris Westwood, Ritchie Humphreys it was one of the best days of my life up to that point. As we were leaving and heading for the steps down from the boxes Neale Cooper is at the bottom of the stairs and sees my dad struggling with one of my family members who is in a wheelchair trying to get down the steps. He immediately rushed up to help. With a huge smile on his face he was so determined to help. That was just the kind of man he was. He is not only a great loss to football but a great loss to the world, particularly in Hartlepool. He will never be forgotten and for everything he gave to the club, the town and the fans, thank you and goodnight! RIP Neale.

J Roberts

Thank You Mr Cooper
Because of you, this great Club would have meant nothing.
You gave us the greatest moment in the history of this Club.
And for this, we Poolies are most entirely so grateful.
Goodbye to the Greatest Manager in the History of Hartlepool United Football Club
Goodbye to the most wonderful Scotsman a proud Englishman could ever know.
Because of you, we will continue the fight to ensure your great work was not in vain.
Because of you, my belief in this Great Club has been unshaken.
Even in the most difficult of times.
Let us all commit to ensure that this Great Club, whom I love so much, returns back to where it truly deserves to be!

Sam Sengelow

Neale cooper was the finest manager in my 32 years of following pools,he demanded 110% and that’s what his team gave him.

Thank you neale for the greatest team and football I’ve seen in my lifetime.

My thoughts and best wishes to the Cooper family.

Jon Parkinson

Poolie hero and lovely man taken way too soon. Condolences to Neale’s family.

The Webb family, Sunningdale Poolies.

I’ve been watching this team for 50 years, and Neale Cooper was without doubt the best manager we’ve ever had. He was an amazing guy, who put together an amazing team. RIP Mr Cooper.

Kev Butler

My thoughts are with Neale’s family through this difficult time.

I saw Neale on a night out once, sat with him, and a nice chat with him told him he was one of the best managers of my generation and proud of him as our manager.

R.I.P. Neale Cooper

Antony Isgate

Neale ‘ Super ‘ Cooper.  As manager you took Pools to its highest ever level in its entire history and brought in a brand of football for the fans of pure entertainment which we will never forget.  You were taken far too young just like the late great Cyril Knowles was.  God Bless and RIP Coops.  Steve Campbell

I remember meeting Neale just after he came back to manage Hartlepool for the 2nd. He was drinking in a bar on the marina when we came in and we said hello and congratulated him on getting the job. We expected that to be it, but he was so friendly and began asking us how long we had supported the club and saying how happy he was to be back. Such a genuine friendly guy and just loved talking football. My favourite ever Pools manager. When I heard of his fall, I was sad but thought he would pull through, as he did with his heart attack. He seemed unstoppable. I will miss seeing his funny stories in Facebook, like when he spent all day searching for a friends dog that had got away on his watch.

Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Rest in peace Neale.

Kenny Kidson

A month after moving to live and get married in Florida in the spring of 2005 Pools made it to the L1 play off final under Neale.  My Best Man seeing how gutted I was to miss out the biggest day in Pools history contacted Neale Cooper! He immediately got all the Pools squad to sign a pennant and sent it with a letter of congratulations which made my day!

Neale Cooper simply the best Pools manager in my 50 years supporting Pools. RIP

David Gardiner

Heartbreaking news about Neale James Cooper passing. He was Pools gaffa when i was H’Angus The Monkey and he was always welcoming towards me, always stopped to talk to me and i always left with a smile on my face. RIP Coops it was a honour to know you.

Barry Stevens

RIP Neale a top man  manager and player will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure to have known you.

George Picken

One of my memories of the Gaffa wasn’t related to the football as such. He hadn’t been at the club long (the second time) and I hadn’t been driving the team that long either.

I was driving my car when I got a random phone call which came up Neale Cooper HUFC. Wondering what on earth it could be I answered the call to which I was greeted by an obviously smiling coops saying ‘Shauny can you put me in touch with your long lost brother the chaser!!’ As he was laughing away.

It was a pleasure to know Coops. He was a true gentleman. It was such a shame it didn’t work as everyone wanted it too the second time around. I was gutted when he left we exchanged messages after he left and kept in touch for a bit but obviously life takes people in different directions. Thanks Gaffa for taking the time to make that call and being the person you were.

Thinking of everyone in Neale’s family at this time. Heavens gained the greatest guy possible.

Shaun Garbutt

I first meet Neale at reserve away game at York, he was taking a look at Jo Porter, I was shouting come on pools sneeked off work for this, Neale came up to me and said your madder then me, he then asked my view on Porter and I said yeah looks good, and when asked about another player, he laughed and let’s say he said gald he doesn’t listen to my judgement, he then pinched my sandwich and drunk my tea, but laugh, he was brilliant and thanked me for the support, I then meet him a few more times over the years and most recent when we went threw the #savepoolsday, we’re he was so excited to be asked if we could organise it, be manager of the pools legend team, and be in the pools dug out one more time, such a shame we couldn’t get the game on, last time I heard from him was only a couple of weeks ago on my birthday when he phoned, yesterday a part of my heart broke, but he will allways have that special place in all hartlepool fans heart, he may be gone, but he will never be forgotten, RIP Neale, a pools legend forever.

Michael, Claire, Bradley and Anna Leigh Lewis

Thank you Neale for giving me some of the most enjoyable times in my 50 plus years of being a Poolie. So many highlights, the Millennium Stadium of course – would we have won the play off if you had been there? – the 8-1 demolition of Grimsby, the Friday night game against Sheff Wed, the great comeback at Peterborough. I could go on and on. So many happy memories watching Pools play the best football I have ever seen both home and away. You personality and charisma was infectious and I had the pleasure of meeting you on a number of occasions – always a pleasure. RIP Neale, your memory will last long in the thoughts and hearts of all Poolies.

Geoff Newton

RIP, Neale  a true gent and a pools hero shocked at his passing

Ken Ansell

Best manager of my time, will never forget being around 10 minutes away from the championship. Absolute pearler of a man, had time for everyone and I’d like to say thank you for that. RIP Super Cooper, you’ll be hugely missed.

P Rutherford

This is a lovely way to honour a special man.

For us Aberdeen fans he lived the dream. Grew up supporting the Dons, scored in a cup final against our rivals, lifted 2 European Trophies.

Some of us were lucky to meet him and hear his stories from his time playing under Sir Alex Ferguson. Neale was a wonderful story teller who lived with a smile on his face.

He will be sorely missed by all.

Condolences to Hartlepool United FC from sad Aberdeen fans.

Stewart Fisher

A true gent, had time to talk to the supporters,one of Pools best.

Michael Mahoney

“I didn’t know you, but I felt I did, that was part of what made you a legend to us.” Deepest sympathy to your family and friends.

Geoff Young

RIP Neale Cooper a true poolie we will never forget you sleep well.


What can I say? Neale was a rarity at Hartlepool United. A Manager who delivered.

The two seasons we had when first joined the club have never been surpassed.

Looking forward to the next game with a smile on your face and the knowledge that we could equal anyone in the division helped. He instilled a winning mentality on the team…

The team with Neale at the helm where theepitimoy of the Never Say Die spirit.

One game particularly springs to mind when we fought back to win against Bournemouth even after missing a penalty in injury time.

Also the day I my son had as mascot in the playoff final season. The picture of Neale and the rest of the team I will cherish for the rest of my life.

You dared us to dream big and with you we did.

Sleep tight big man, we will never forget you. You truly are and always will be a Poolie Legend.

Paul Moore & Family

I never had the pleasure of knowing Neale, listening to you all! Proves this man was someone very special!! My heart goes out to his family.

Alison Richardson

Absolute top man. You will be greatly missed.

Christopher Forsyth

Sad times one of the best at hartlepool our thoughts are with your family.

John Matthews

Well no single words can express how gutted to hear the passing of great manager, player, coops was amazing passion in my time watching Pools he got us to Cardiff one of highlights so many he knew how to get best from lads.

R.I.P Coops gone but never forgotten fly high

Wayne Calvert

I’ll be honest and admit that back in May 2003, when Pools announced the appointment of a new manager, I said “Neale who?”. Didn’t take long for me to find out exactly who.

Being a Pools supporter since 1984 didn’t leave me with high expectations in general but what Neale gave us was way beyond anything we could have dreamed of.

He gave us a team, a style of play and a manager we were all extremely proud of. He did it all with a smile on his face, a sense of pride and sheer determination. He loved Hartlepool and Hartlepool loved him right back.

It was a shame he didn’t lead his team out at Cardiff but he got us there and what a journey along the way. As a man he was a class act and the fact that during his second spell as manager he put himself and his livelihood to one side and resigned for the sake of the club and his relationship with the supporters. That underlined his class.

His second spell not working out didn’t damage his relationship with the fans or the regard he was held in by the town one bit.
He gave me personally the best two years of my Pools supporting life. I’ll never forgot that time or the man himself.

Manager, leader, legend……Poolie.

Thank you Neale, I’m devastated your not with us anymore. RIP.

Paul Keay

I have been a Pools supporter all my life, right from the days of Norman Oakley, Ray Bilcliff, Bobby Folland and Ken Johnson. I couldn’t avoid it – my grandfather was a Director in the 1940s so it was in my blood from the day I was born. Back in those days, success was measured by not having to apply for re-election to the Fourth Division of the Football League. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that Pools would twice be on the brink of being promoted to what is now the Championship. The disappointments of the agonising play-off defeats at Bristol City and then at the Millennium Stadium the following year are themselves highlights I never thought I would see. These achievements came about because of  the inspirational work of a manager with ambition, desire and heart. I never met him, but I am told he was also a thoroughly nice man – a shining beacon compared with most of the others who have had the privilege of managing ‘my’ football club. Super Cooper indeed – he will never be forgotten in this house. Thanks for the memories, Neale.

Miles Harwood

Neal was a real gent. I recall waiting for the players to board the bus at Hillsborough and he came across and had a quick chat. Seems to really care about the fans’ views and wanted to engage with them. I have supported Hartlepool from afar for many years and he is th beets manager that I can remember.
I was really sad to hear of his passing.

Jonathan Hall

It’s taken me a while to come to terms with today and the devastating news that Neale Cooper has passed away. The man was a true Hartlepool United legend, and a Poolie through and through.

Simply put, Neale Cooper is the greatest manager Hartlepool United have ever had. His overall win percentage (if you like that sort of thing) of 44% puts him up there amongst the very best. But when you consider that all of his games in charge were in League One, this must place him above all others.

But not only that, he was truly loved by each and every single Hartlepool fan. He spoke openly and honestly about his teams and you could see that he truly cared about the club. He united the club at every level and during his tenure, you could tell that everyone was pulling in the same direction.

His team played some of the best football I have ever witnessed on the Victoria Park pitch. They epitomised the very idea that an effective team can be greater than the sum of their parts. When he first took over the club, everybody outside expected us to struggle. Pools were supposed to be nailed on relegation contenders, but Cooper had different ideas.

This was evident from his first game in charge. At half-time, Pools were 3-1 down to Peterborough United and it seemed all was lost. But somehow, the newly-promoted club managed to stun their opponents and come back to win 4-3. With four debutants all scoring, including a screamer from centre-back Micky Nelson, this set the tone for the rest of the season.

Many of my favourite Pools matches took place during Cooper’s first spell in charge. The aforementioned 4-3 match at Peterborough is amongst them. But the game that proved just how special this team was, was the match in which Pools swept aside Grimsby to win 8-1 (yes, EIGHT one).

There was a particularly interesting game against Luton at the Vic that had an extra bite to it because Luton’s manager was Cooper’s predecessor. Mike Newell had won promotion with Pools the season before but was sacked by the club. Unlike Cooper, the fans never really took to Newell and he wasn’t given a warm welcome on his return (I remember a certain banner in the town end vividly…). Pools won 4-3 in another pulsating game.

Pools reached the League One Play-Offs in his first season in charge and this gave Cooper’s team the opportunity to show their worth on a national stage. Finally, the nation would be able to see the special nature of his team. Pools pushed Bristol City all the way and should have gone into the second leg with a lead, though they weren’t helped by the ref not awarding a clear penalty when Eifion Williams was felled in the box.

But the return leg to Bristol will live long in my memory, not for the cruel way Pools were beaten with two 90th minute goals, but instead for a moment at the start of the game. Pools would always prepare for the game with a pre-match huddle, but this time it was different. Instead of just being the 11 men on the pitch, every single member of the Pools contingent joined in this huddle; proving the unity in the team.

A key component of Cooper’s team was his trust in the youth. Throughout all of his time, he wasn’t afraid to give young players a chance. Whether it was Matty Robson, John Brackstone, Jack Wilkinson, Darren Craddock, Andy Appleby, Michael Maidens or anyone else I’ve missed (sorry lads!), he always trusted his young players to do the club proud.

The following season features a match that I’m still drying off from today. The legendary match against Sheffield Wednesday at Victoria Park. Cooper had managed to bring the best out of Adam Boyd and this season, the striker was on fire. Boyd had been ill and hadn’t trained all week, but in the rain, he produced one of the finest striking performances to grace the Vic. He scored a hat-trick which was capped off with one of the greatest goals ever scored at Victoria Park. Boyd ran into the box and sent two Wednesday defenders sliding into the Mill House Terrace and beautifully chipped the ball over the keeper. It summed up the freedom of play that Cooper encouraged throughout his reign.

He might not have been in charge for it, but the play-off final at Cardiff was the pinnacle of Cooper’s team. Every single man on that pitch was there because of Neale Cooper and every single fan’s pride was because of him as well.

I was lucky to spend a few minutes having a conversation with Neale at the recent reunion dinner for the Cardiff team. They tell you never to meet your heroes, but this man surpassed all expectations. He was kind, he was funny, he was everything I wanted him to be and more. My mam had taken a photo of the team at Cardiff in their huddle before the game and before the dinner, Micky Barron asked if he could have a copy. We took him one and a few extra for the other players. Of course, I kept a copy for myself and got all of the players, and Neale, to sign it. Each time, they smiled and talked about memories of that day. This has pride of place on my wall today.

Though he wasn’t there, you could see the pride in Neale’s face when he saw that picture. We asked if he wanted one and he absolutely did. But he didn’t want to lose it while the players went out after the dinner so he gave us his address. A week or so later, my mam received a text from Neale thanking her for the photo. He spoke of his immense pride in the team and how thrilled he was to receive the picture. This speaks volumes of the man, to take the time out to send that message was wonderful.

To sum up, I simply want to say “Thank you” to Neale. You gave me the greatest team I’ve ever seen and made me more proud to be a Poolie than ever. Your reign will live forever in my memories and I’m heartbroken by the news of your passing.

You will forever be a Poolie.

Alex Hodgson

Absolutely heartwarming to see the way Hartlepool United are honouring Neale Cooper.

I’m an Aberdonian and Aberdeen supporter who grew up watching Neale play and remember THAT goal against Rangers in the cup final like it was yesterday.

Hartlepool, you are a credit to the game.

Much love, much respect. We are all hurting at this time.

RIP Neale. Hope it’s forever 83′ where you are x


He was the best, brilliant Manager give use a chance, met him a few times, he was very knowledgeable, such a sad loss, condolences to family RIP Neale.

Dale Homer

Thank you for the good times Neale, you were one of us and showed what it was to be a poolie with that never say die attitude and the bags of passion, charisma, and hard work you showed us on a daily basis. We will miss you and again thank you! R.I.P super Neale Cooper!

Craig Thornton

Having supported Pools for over thirty years I’ve seen some highs and lows, but the two years we had Neale as manager was simply unbelievable, attacking football, ripping teams apart Grimsby 8-1 Sheff Wed 3-0 stunning.
His enthusiasm for football rubbed off on his players and the  fans, yesterdays news was absolutely tragic. RIP Neale a true Pools legend gone but never forgotten.

Mick Spindloe

So sad at the tragic loss of the BEST manager I’ve known as a Poolie. Neale instilled so much joy of the beautiful game into the squad & onto the terraces. It’s been said ‘he just got us’ & I truly believe we Pools fans just ‘got’ him too. He will always be remembered with much love & thanks. Sincere condolences to his family & many friends xx

Jayne Hodgson

Peterborough away opening day of the season, 3-1 down, 4-3 up! Start as you mean to go on. The football we played under Neale was nothing short of superb. He knew how football should be played and that The Vic was our fortress.

The togetherness of the team was there for all to see, from the huddle at the start of the match to the inevitable 3 home points at the end.

I’ve supported Pools for over 20 years and those first two seasons were the best I’ve seen. The players wanted to play for him and that showed.

He wore his heart on his sleeve, he loved the club and we loved him.

Neale Cooper’s Blue and White Army!

Dan Nicholson

My brother died when he was our manager and we had the wake in the victoria lounge after our kids funeral.

A lot of my family is scottish and walking in neale cooper upon hearing the accent talked to a lot of us and gave the kind of talk that was his trademark, making the wake a more warmer and overall better event than it could have been.

He is defo one of if not the best manager pools have ever had ever but he was a brilliant human being too and the world is definately a worse place now hes not in it.

Good night and bless Neale.

Thank you for those memories.

Richard Parsons

Finding the right things to say at times like this is never easy. Just reading some of the messages left just shows how much Neale was loved by so many people.

The use of the word “Legend” seems to get used so very easy, but for Neale this word has to be the way to describe him.

We will never forget Neale here at Pools and our thoughts go to his family at this very sad time.

Thanks for giving us great times and leaving us many many memories.

A true LEGEND Neale Cooper, RIP.

Steve Sharp and family

Thoughts go with Neale’s family and friends ,He maybe gone but in this little part of North East  England  he will never be forgotten  R.I.P Big Man you brought so much joy to all HUFC fans.

Tony Norman

I was fortunate to meet Neale during his second spell at the club. They say never meet your heroes, well he was absolutely first class. Nothing seemed an effort, he just thrived off being around people and talking football. He was an absolute gentleman who will always be loved at our unique little club. Put this into context…. we were competing with Sheffield Wednesday for a place in the Championship!

Thank you for the memories, Super Cooper. Goodnight, God Bless from all of The South East Poolies.

Stuart Miller

Coops, it was a privilege to have met you, an honour to shake your hand, and an absolute pleasure to watch the players you assembled play with passion and pride for the Pools shirt. You are up there with Sir Cyril as one of our greatest managers and I hope you are having a bit of craic with him now. Rest In Peace Sir Neale Cooper.

Denny Bates

Tears fall as I write this Neale you created so many  memories on and off the pitch. Just a couple . . .

Peterborough was the start of many memorable games.  Grimsby away! After being sent off you reappeared pushing your way to the front of the directors box!

During a talk in  at the corner flag you spotted something. Appeared to us dressed in an emu suit!

Thanks for memories  – one of my all time heroes –  never to be forgotten.

Pauline McSweenie

Great football, Great times, Great man.

Forever in poolies hearts, loved and never to be forgotten, there’s only one Neale Cooper.

Stuart Coaten

So sorry to hear of the sudden passing of Neale Cooper who Pools fans showed great admiration for. Neale instilled an exciting brand of football during his first spell in charge which will be very difficult to surpass. He also kicked every ball from the dugout, such was his passion for the game.

I first met Neale not long after he arrived in the summer of 2003 when he was our celebrity in the HUFC Annual Golf Day. He was great company and our 4-ball laughed all the way round. Clearly, he was still getting to know the players as it was pre-season and he turned to us and said: “I need to get that John Branighan to hold back in tackles during training as he’s going to bloody hurt someone”. We all looked at each other a bit confused, and said: “Don’t you mean Brackstone?”. “That’s him”, Neale quipped. “I’m still getting to know them.”

It’s tragic that Neale’s life has been cut short and he’ll always be remembered as one of Pools’ best ever managers who brought enjoyment for fans and put a big smile on their faces. Sincere condolences to Neale’s family.

Alastair Rae 

Neale Cooper was the most charismatic manager Hartlepool has ever had. I always remember Mark Simpson asking, “So Neale, what are you expecting from Brentford?” and Neale replying “F*** knows” followed by laughter.

But he was more than just charismatic, he was a kind infectious human being.

I was a teenager and Neale built a team that will live with me forever. Not necessarily because of its success but because of what it personified, hardworking, flair, 100% commitment and a never say die attitude, a team that played to the full. All traits that embodied Neale as a person. The club was a family, it was the Town’s Club and he was the Town’s Manager.

Everybody had a smile on the face, the staff, the team, the fans and it was because of Neale’s infectious personality.

I remember a league cup match against Macclesfield, we decided to sit in the Cyril Knowles Stand for a change near the dugout. It was there where my most overriding memory of Neale Cooper came – in the heat of battle, his warmth shone through.

Daniel Gaunt

Had the pleasure of meeting him ion a trip to Dublin one weekend when he’d taken some timeout with Mark Prudhoe & Martin Scott. Great man, clearly enjoyed life to the full in every sense!

On the football front, he thought like the fans, which is why we warmed to him to much & coincided with some fantastic football & results.

RIP Neale Cooper

Steve King

R .I .P a real genuine man.

Brian Jefferson

A man amongst men, a great manager who had an affinity for the town, our club and the people, he just ‘got on with it’.  You made the world a better place for being here.

Ian and Adam Simpson

As a manager he ticked all the boxes. Passionate, motivator, engaging, tactical nous, player good football, great man manager and could be tough when needed. What a time it was to be a Poolie.

More importantly what a great human being. Absolutely gutted.

Michael Weir

If you want to see Neale at his best then have a look at the 1982 Scottish Cup Final, he scored the fourth goal. His celebration is legendary. YouTube has a couple of videos which are worth a look. So please to see your reactions to his sad passing shows the quality of the man.

All AFC fans are today devastated at his loss so thank you all for your tributes.

Dons fan who was there in Gothenburg to see the highlight of his career.

Stand Free.

John Still

RIP Neale

Thank you for the ‘golden years’

Deep condolences to the family.

Robin Meredith

Having been a pools fan for over 20 years through some good bad and ugly, I’m pleased to have been able to see the glory days brought by Neale’s influence.

The victory in the league cup away at Hillsborough on penalties was an incredible night. The 8-1 demolition of Grimsby and of course, building the team which took us to Cardiff!

So many good memories created by such a great guy. Although I didn’t know him personally, he has clearly brought joy to many and will be well remembered in Hartlepool.

Mark Cordiner

So sad to hear the news about the gaffer.

I had the privilege of working with him twice.

Just a Topman !

Best days of any poolies life the gaffer was in charge.

I was lucky enough to be working so close to him during these good days.

Stats don’t lie he is THE MOST SUCCESSFUL manager in the history of club .

Has remained a true friend .

R.I.P gaffer

Thanks for everything



I still have the T shirt ‘super cooper’ will wear with pride now. RIP Neale.

Ray Sheale

I remember you sat in the dug out at a friendly against Billingham years ago and me and my friend were nattering through the whole game and you said to us, “Do yous ever shut up!?” In a joking way! Ha! It made our day.

Samantha Louise Andrews

Well thought of, also well loved. Will be missed.

Suzanne Ainsley

You’ve taken a piece of my heart with you 💔

A truly remarkable man xxx

Alison McCartney

I think the biggest testament you can give to Neale is a very big percentage of the most memorable games in the clubs history came as a result of Neale’s superb. We all thought it was a strange appointment as we prepared ourselves for a season of relegation from League 1 back to League 2. What happened instead though was memorable for different reasons. Who can forget the Peterborough comeback from 3-1 down, the immense following at The Stadium of Light and those playoff games. Great times. Rest easy Neale.

Sam Carter

Like all with Hartlepool United in our blood, totally heartbroken at Neale’s passing. Amongst one of the Poolie greats, the team he built was not only a winning one but also very entertaining to watch. He was so much more than just a good manager though, he was a great man.

RIP Neale.

Gary Lupton

Will be sadly missed gave my son his debut for the Pools. R.I.P Neale

Gary Hawkins

Can’t remember what year it was exactly but it was when he was manager second time round, around 2011/12 time. Me and a few of my mates were playing football at the former Schooner pub in Seaton Carew. Just before leaving to play I noticed him turn into my street. So before I left I took pens and paper  for my mates, hoping of getting an autograph from him. Around half an hour later he came past the schooner, we all ran to his car wanting him to stop. He did and he signed all our papers for us and spoke to us for ages, such a nice person and a true gentleman. Couldn’t of been nicer to us.

You will be dearly missed Neale.

Matty Neill

Neale James Cooper it was a great pleasure to have met and spoken to you. Thank you for the great memories as a POOLIE supporter. Our thoughts are with your family and friends at Aberdeen. Neale you are gone but will never be forgotten RIP.

Murray James

So sad I’m genuinely heartbroken the memories though will live on.

I’ll never forget what Neale done for Hartlepool United.

Best manager there ever was.

“Super Cooper ” “Neale Coopers blue and white Army”

RIP big man gone but never forgotten.

Sir Neale Cooper Hartlepool United Legend xxx

Bri Stokle

Deepest condolences to Neale’s family. So sad to hear about the loss of a Pools hero. Thank you for the memories.

Brian and Ali Lobb

I am still reeling from the news that Neale has gone.

Always had a smile on his face and a cheeky glint in his eye he will be missed by everyone in the football world. When he was manager of my beloved Pools we were no longer the butt of jokes and we actually started to turn a few heads.

Neale will be greatly missed and I would like to send my love and thoughts to his family at this horrible time.

Always in our hearts.

Cath McLaughlin

Having been a Pools supporter for 18 years (10 years as a season ticket) and a former Rangers season ticket holder for about 15years I’d like to express my shock and sadness at Mr Coopers sad passing and sure all supporters of, both HUFC and RFC will all be thinking of his family and friends at this sad and difficult time. R.I.P. Mr Neale Cooper.

J Maxwell

I never had the pleasure of meeting Neale Cooper but as a Pools’ supporter for more than 50 years I wish to record my thanks for everything that he did in giving me and so many other Pools’ fans the very best of times, for coming across as a true fan of the club as well as a manager and most of all for coming across as a genuinely nice bloke.

Eric Elliott

RIP Neale Cooper
You’ve got your very own Hartlepool United F.C. team to pick from the very best of yesteryear’s players.


Will be missed by me. A very lovely manger, always had time for the fans to keep them upbeat at all the matches at home and away. If I had to choose a friend in the football side it would have been Cooper.

Suzanne Ainsley

Such a sad end for the GREAT MAN. He was always so full of life and ready for a laugh and a joke.

I remember sitting on the garden wall of Holy Trinity Church after the passing of another Pools legend Paul Mullen, as we waited Neale was chatting about football and he mentiond Marcus Richardson who had turned up for training in a pair of new boots. “Look boss he said  new boots just  like Thierry Henry”  “Aye,” Neale said to him.“It’s a bloody shame you play like Lenny Henry in them”   A great man and very popular with the fans, alwys had time for a chat, he had the gift of reaching them which few people possess.  Under his leadership we the fans saw some of the best football ever in my memory played at The Vic.

Cardiff should have been his big day.

God Bless you Neale Cooper.

Ian Malcolmson

Such sad news.

Neale, pure and simply, you made me fall in love with HUFC.

Thanks for the lifelong memories.

Poolie till I Die Too.

RIP Special One.

Allen Grant

I would just like to pass on my condolences to Neale’s family and friends over their sad loss. Neale Cooper was our greatest manager ever, not only that, but a gentleman and very nice man. I have been going to ‘Pools for over 62 years and his time and teams  during that period was fantastic, 23 games without defeat, play off games,and the play off at the Millennium Stadium.Thank you Neale, you will be sadly missed, not only at Hartlepool but in the whole of the football world. R.I.P.Neale.


Coops you may have been a Scotsman but you truly became a Poolie. We will always think of you with affection and how close we came at Cardiff to promotion to the Championship.

You totally embraced us fans, always ready to chat and often were waiting for us at the away turnstiles thanking us for travelling.

You made a great team but were never scared to change the system if it was not working, even after 15 minutes. This sums you up totally.

At Plymouth after a truly awful performance you came and apologised to the travelling fans and said you wished you could refund all of our ticket money. What a true gent and great man.

Thanks for the memories Coops. RIP . The Blue and White Army will never forget you.

Audrey and Keith MacDonald

I was very sad to hear of the death of Neale Cooper. Neale was the best manager Pools ever had, a real gentleman. Pools played the best football ever under his leadership and it was a great time to be a fan. Condolences to his family. You will be missed but never forgotten.


I first spoke with Neale back in 2014 when organising the reunion evening of the 2005 Cardiff heroes. Despite Neale not leading the team out on that day in Cardiff the players assured me Neale needed to be at the reunion. From the moment I spoke on the phone I realised why…  he was instantly infectious and had my respect instantly. He was funny, helpful and so so passionate about the town, the club and the town’s people. I then met him in Aberdeen to discuss the plans over a beer and again I was hooked by his personality and his presence.

Then at the reunion Neale attended and had the audience wowed once he got hold of the mic. His stories of his players were mesmerising. He brought a number of gifts for the raffle and auction, again summarising his generosity.

From his tales of his memories of the greatest season in the club’s history (in my personal opinion), as a Hartlepool United fan I cannot thank Neale enough for giving us Pools fans the memories of that great season.

A true hero that has been taken far too soon, but a gaffer must have been needed for the angels above.

Never forgotten and rest in peace.

Andy Wilson