New owners in it for the long haul with Hartlepool United, says chairman Gary Coxall

New Hartlepool United chairman Gary Coxall

New Hartlepool United chairman Gary Coxall

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JPNG are in it for the long haul at Hartlepool United, insists new chairman Gary Coxall.

And he has moved to reassure worried fans that their tenure in charge will be a positive one.

It follows the failed takeover by TMH 2014 in December, with the plug pulled on the sale six weeks later after serious concerns were raised by the club.

That sorry episode left a bitter taste in some supporters’ mouths and Coxall admits he understands why some fans would be worried about new owners after Increased Oil Recovery’s (IOR) 18 years in charge.

But he says specialist recruitment consultancy firm JPNG only have good intentions.

They had initially looked to become a sponsor but then decided to buy the club instead, believing it was in a “false” position at the foot of League Two.

“We have various projects on the recruitment side in Europe, but a great catchment area for us has been in the North, North East and Hartlepool,” said Coxall.

“We were looking at sponsoring the club initially to push our brand around the area, but it didn’t really come off so we thought ‘could we own it instead?’

“We are here to invest money, we are good owners and have a group of companies. We approached IOR and it was something they were receptive to.

“We did all the due diligence – too much for me because I was impatient to get started! – and everything was positive.

“There are various clubs looking for serious investment and we looked at a few, but this one stood out like a sore thumb. We saw a club that was under-performing,” added Coxall, who grew up a West Ham fan.

Coxall admits JPNG have work to do to convince those fans scarred by the TMH 2014 collapse, but he is adamant they have nothing to hide.

He said: “We are a recruitment firm predominantly specialising in IT and construction recruitment. We don’t go out and say ‘we are this, that, have this client, that client’ and go out there in a brash manner.

“A lot of what we do is behind the scenes for clients.

“We don’t list our clients and we earn their trust.

“So when you have someone checking us out’ they come back and say we have no clients!

“They ask and wonder who we are, but we are a firm on some major projects.

“We recruit across the country, with offices in London, Dubai and Essex.”

Coxall is all too aware of the “bad taste” left by the failed TMH takeover, adding: “The difference between us and TMH is we have done everything and proved it.

“We have the sign-off from the FA and the Football League.

“We are not a company set up to buy this club, the JPNG group was already there – a strong group. This time it won’t go wrong.”