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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 May, 2005, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Cooper named as Gillingham boss
Neale Cooper
Cooper left Hartlepool just before the end of the season
Gillingham have handed former Hartlepool boss Neale Cooper a two-year contract as their new manager.

The Scot, who was axed by Hartlepool just before the end of the regular season, replaces Stan Ternent - who quit as Gills boss last weekend.

Cooper had led Ross County to two promotions, before taking Hartlepool to the Division Two play-offs last season.

Ternent's assistant Ronnie Jepson, who had also been in the frame for the job, will continue as number two to Cooper.

I was impressed by the whole set-up
New Gillingham boss Neale Cooper
Cooper admitted it "came as a bit of a surprise" to be contacted by Gillingham chairman Paul Scally following his departure from Victoria Park.

"It's been a hard couple of weeks since leaving Hartlepool," he told BBC Radio Kent.

"I was on my way back to Scotland and I was delighted to receive a phone call from the chairman. I was surprised, but he wondered if I'd be interested in coming in for an interview.

"I was in a convoy back to Scotland at that moment, so as soon as I got back to Scotland, I returned the next day and had a meeting with the chairman.

"It was quite a relaxed meeting and interview, and that's how quickly it happened.

"It happened in a couple of days. I was shown around the ground and was impressed by the whole set-up."

Former Aberdeen, Aston Villa and Rangers midfielder Cooper had been linked with a move back to Scotland with either Dunfermline or Dundee United.

However, Dunfermline moved quickly to appoint Jim Leishman and United are waiting until the end of season before making any decision.




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