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Cooper's big incentive to increase Victoria Park fortunes
EVEN at £4.28 a game this season, it's been joked that the cost of a season ticket at Hartlepool United hasn't been value for money.
In launching the club's initiative for the 2012/13 campaign, Neale Cooper has vowed to make it wholly entertaining.
While the price has gone up - they are priced at £155 - there is a big incentive for Cooper to improve the fortunes, and an even bigger one for fans.
Because if Pools sell 5,000, the one season ticket holder will win £15,000 in a unique prize draw.
Pools won a Football League award for last year's scheme which led to over 5,800 sales at £100 each.
But, while gates at Victoria Park have been boosted, performances and results have gone the other way.
They have lost ten League One games, scoring only 18 times in 20 games.
But big victories over Carlisle, Notts County and Bury have showed what they are capable of and now Cooper is out to make sure the team's form matches the club's promotion.
"The offer shows how much the club means to he community,'' said Cooper. "Football can be expensive and this offer is one people can afford. And there's even the chance to win something back - £15,000 is a nice little return for someone if we sell 5,000. It's not bad odds is it?
"It works out so cheap per game and we want to make it enjoyable. Take the game to the opposition, entertain and win games.
"People know the way I like to play, 4-4-2 with wide men pressing forward creating chances. At the moment you use what you have. Add extra to the squad, create chances and it's all the better.
"We have had some good wins here, look at Carlisle, and it was an exciting game with a good atmosphere last weekend against Sheffield United. I said to the players that was the sort of game you should enjoy.
"And the support were positive, we had chances and lifted the crowd. We just need to be more of a threat, more lethal and potent as a team.
"We aren't among the top scorers, but the support has been great and we aim to make it a lot more entertaining next season.
"This offer is an exciting one, there's a prize draw for people to get something back."
Last summer's offer brought a real buzz to the town and the club and, while Cooper wasn't around at the time, he understands the benefits.
During his previous spell, attendances were in excess of 5,000 and he said: "It's an impressive offer, I wasn't here last year when it was launched but knew all about it and other clubs think about it. It was an amazing offer, recognised nationally and it did Hartlepool good , very positive.
"People bought them knowing they may not be at every game, but it was such a good offer it was worth buying up.
"Let's hope it is bought up as good as last year's was. Our home record hasn't been great, it has to be better but we are positive and got over that nine game jinx and started to get better.
"You have to make your home pitch a fortress and attack teams. Let's hope we can do that next season and make an impression and be a lot better for it.''
Pools have the sixth best away record in League One, winning eight times and drawing six of their 20 games.
As they head off this morning for tomorrow's game at Colchester United, Cooper is satisfied with Pools' away form.
Apart from the off-day at Wycombe when they were thumped 5-0, Pools have generally been sound on the road and won their last trip, 1-0 at Yeovil. There's only away games at Tranmere and Charlton to follow tomorrow's game and Cooper said: "Since Wycombe we have had a reaction away from home, we have defended well and it's been positive.
"There's not many games left, we will be as positive as we can be in every one. I ask for the same performance as last week and we win more an we lose.
"Can we go and win our last games? That's the aim. We are a positive bunch and how could I be negative after the performance at the weekend?
"Training on Monday was positive and we head off on Thursday in good spirits.''
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