Victoria Park will now be known as the Northern Gas and Power Stadium after Hartlepool United announced a new sponsorship deal.
The three-year agreement is one of the biggest in the League Two club’s history, and will also include Northern Gas and Power – whose head office is in Gateshead – emblazoned on Pools’ away shirts.
Pools chairman Gary Coxall said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Northern Gas and Power as partners of Hartlepool United.
“When we took over as owners of the football club, we told supporters that we would look to bring in new lines of investment and expand our commercial reach, and I think this partnership highlights that initiative.”
“We know it’s up to us to go out and source new sponsorship, and Northern Gas and Power are a strong brand who will represent us well, so they were our choice over four or five different companies.
“I think the partnership also demonstrates what an attraction we have become now to be bringing in sponsorship from a great, forward-thinking company who have bought in to the brand of Hartlepool United.
“During negotiations between the two parties it became clear very quickly that we were on the same wavelength, and I am delighted that we managed to agree a deal that will serve us both very well.
“We’re fully aware of the sensitivities around the re-naming of football stadiums but we hope our supporters understand that this partnership has been negotiated with the best interests of the football club at heart.
“The history and tradition of Hartlepool United and everything the club means to fans is very important to us – but so is the future.
“Other clubs have been benefiting from this type of deal and we don’t want to be left behind, so we have to do the same to bring income in to the football club.”
Northern Gas and Power have successfully expanded in to the global energy market, adding offices in America, France and India to complement their state-of-the-art head office on the Gateshead Quayside.
This expansion has enabled Northern Gas and Power to embark on an extensive recruitment programme throughout all offices, including creating 200 new jobs for the North East region.
John McQue, of the Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust, and Pauline McSweenie, of the club’s supporters association, have welcomed the investment the deal will bring.
Mr McQue, a member of the management committee of the supporters’ trust, said: “For me it sounds like really positive news. What’s in a name?
“Nobody really calls it Victoria Park, it has always either been The Vic or the Victoria Ground to everybody.
“I can’t imagine that will change. If Gary Coxall has pulled together a deal which puts some substantial investment in the club simply for having a name on the ground, I can’t imagine he would get much push back on that.”
Hartlepool United chairman Gary Coxall said other clubs have been benefiting from similar sponsorship deals and does not want to be left behind.
Pauline McSweenie, secretary of Hartlepool United Supporters Association, added: “Every club needs investment. The club has done it with stands in the ground but fans still call them as they always were.
“I can’t see the fans calling it The Northern Gas and Power Stadium. It will always be ‘The Vic’.”
Sean McCann, European director for Northern Gas and Power, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this partnership with Hartlepool United.
“Not only are we both proud of our North East roots, the club shares many of our core values, such as being intrinsically focused, extremely ambitious, and having the drive to succeed on a bigger stage.”