Fans will have noticed a lack of updates over the last couple of days and it is important that we keep you fully informed in these uncertain times for everybody. We have now furloughed staff and as such cannot ask them to carry out duties which includes updating media channels.
The uncertainty over the conclusion of the suspended season along with any impact on the start of next season together with the cancelled fixtures and lockdown of our society are an unprecedented set of circumstances which the board of the club are working hard to navigate.
In doing so our only priority is to ensure that Hartlepool United emerges on the other side of this intact as a competitive force.
The Chairman has supported the club over the last two years financially and continues to do so, his investment has already gone significantly beyond initial projections and whilst he continues to support the club we cannot and will not take his contribution for granted. We must make sure that we control costs and make tough decisions in order that the demands on him financially are reasonable in the context of what will be a challenging economic environment over the next couple of years. The club has continued to bear costs associated with its time in the EFL largely in the hope of a return there as soon as possible but with the new financial reality we simply have to address the issues which present themselves.
As such over the last few days we have made some difficult decisions which have included asking all staff and players to take a 20% reduction in March Wages. In addition we have unfortunately terminated the contracts of a small number of members of staff and put the jobs of an additional few at risk of redundancy. These actions were taken with a heavy heart and involve individuals who have shown loyal service to the club in some cases over a significant period of time, but these are tough times and we simply must make sure that the club emerges with a sustainable cost base whilst still being competitive on the pitch.
Dave Challinor has been kept fully up to date with developments and is desperate to get back to work and continue the progress made over the last few months.
The Chairman’s involvement is, and always has been based upon two factors – progress off the pitch whereby the financial position improves towards a reasonable level in terms of the demands upon him financially, and progress on the pitch whereby we feel like we have a chance of promotion to the EFL. Dave and I are aware of, and take the responsibility of this incredibly seriously.
We are working to navigate the club through the short term and investigating the assistance available from government as well as discussing daily with the National League the position with regard to the conclusion of the current season and prospect of next seasons start. If anything next seasons start is uppermost of our priorities as the ability to sell season tickets is crucial to our sustainability over the coming months. Without a season start date we can’t go on sale.
Hartlepool United and Football Clubs in general play a huge part in their community, we do not consider ourselves any more important than any other business but we can be the catalyst for much that is good in our town and will play a significant part in the recovery post virus. We continue to ask for assistance from the Government and the Governing Body at a time when the only enemy bigger then the virus itself is the uncertainty we all face.
We have offered our help to local authority to ask if we can play a part in getting supplies to the vulnerable or assist in any other way and we continue to be here for our fans and for the people of Hartlepool who can contact us firstname.lastname@example.org if they feel vulnerable or isolated in any way.
We have had several offers of support from fans both financial and in terms of volunteering and we are humbled as ever by the unbelievable nature of the support out there. We will need you more than ever when we come through this and will ask you to get behind us by buying tickets and by volunteering at the appropriate time.
Finally the most important thing is to wish health and safety to all of our fans, players, staff and the people across Hartlepool during these unprecedented times.
Mark Maguire CEO
25th March 2020