THE shirts of all the clubs represented at the Soccerex convention in Dubai hang in the reception of the spectacular Madinat Jumeirah Hotel.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Newcastle United, Boca Juniors, Ajax, Juventus and Hartlepool United among them.

"It's the sort of image you will never forget, seeing our shirt up there with the biggest names in football. It's lump to the throat time,'' said Pool chief executive Russ Green.

Green is part of a three-man Pool delegation this week attending the world's premier football business convention

Last year he was there on his own - "It was a little intimidating, trying to let people know about League One Hartlepool when these guys are from all over the world."

But this year, with chairman Ken Hodcroft and technical manager Ian McRae alongside, it's far easier thanks to the success of last season.

Reaching the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium took Pool to a new level. They may not have reached the Championship on the pitch, but they are going beyond it away from the park.

"I call it the Cardiff factor,'' said Green. "Reaching the final last season has really put this club on the map.

"We were sat a table next to the organisers of the South Africa World Cup in 2010 - and they had watched the game, knew the score and knew all about us. It's frightening.

"We've made contact with them and they are organising a World Cup - and they know of Hartlepool United.

"Could you imagine this club being talked of in those circles in the past?''

He added: "Before the game in Cardiff, we had a fax from Iain Dowie wishing us all the best. We saw him out here and thanked him for it.

"His response was that he really meant every word he said - he told us he thinks Hartlepool is a lovely club and he felt for us that day.

"Sam Allardyce asked us about Scotty and Aggers and how they were getting on. Coming across managers like this can only be of benefit to the club.

"Even Leonardo, the former Brazil international, came over and introduced himself, thanked us for coming then started talking about the club and he knew plenty about us!"

Soccerex has over 2000 delegates attending - Pool are one of only nine English clubs present - and both yesterday and today features a full programme of conferences and seminars.

Sir Bobby Robson is among the speakers and today Sir Brian Mahwinney, chairman of the Football League, is expected to lay down new guidelines over the use of agents.

Last year, Newcastle chairman Freddie Shepherd launched an angry attack on Manchester United, claiming they were a "ship without a sail".

At last night's gala awards dinner, presentations were made to Sir Bobby Robson, Bryan Robson and Eric Cantona for their services to football.

Pool's shirt sponsors Dove Energy are one of the event partners and Green said: "While each of them was being presented, our name and logo was up there behind them. It's just another little way of making our mark.''

He added: "Coming here last year was a bit of a pioneering thing, to come back this year proves we mean business and I think that has been realised.

"During the introductions, our name was mentioned in the same breath as Chelsea and Manchester United - and it wasn't done in a condescending manner.

"They announced that we have the ambition to come here and be represented. Coming back to Dubai proves last year wasn't a gimmick for the club and people have recognised it.''

On his return later this week, Green will arrive at Victoria Park full of ideas and new ventures.

"Sometimes you get cocooned in your own club, then you get cocooned in your own league, then in your own competition,'' he said. "This event lets you see the bigger picture and puts things in a world perspective.

"It gives you a new outlook and I think it will give us an advantage on other clubs. We are looking at things here which won't be introduced in English football for three or four years.

"You never know how useful this will be. We are dealing with the business side of football primarily, but there's the playing side as well. The amount of contacts you can make is priceless.

"It really is a frightening opportunity and it's nice to say that Hartlepool United is part of it.''

Read more about Hartlepool here.