The Club’s new Chief Executive has made the following statement following Gary Coxall’s decision to stand down as the Club’s Chairman.
Firstly, I would like to say that I am delighted to have finally been announced as Chief Executive of Hartlepool United FC. I have been working in the background since January 2017 and have been implementing changes at the Club.
I would like to address some concerns that have been raised by a number of fans and provide reassurance. The current owners of Hartlepool United FC are JPNG Ltd. JPNG is owned 50% by Gary Coxall, 25% by Mark Fisher, who is the former Financial Controller of HUFC, 12.5% by Sage Investments Ltd and 12.5% by myself. There is debt within the Club that is owed to Sage Investments Ltd and there is security over the shareholding so that the shares cannot be sold without approval by Sage Investments Ltd.
As a result of Gary Coxall stepping down as Chairman and looking to exit from the Club, I agreed a mandate with him to allow me to engage with fans and the local business community to move the Club towards supporter ownership within Hartlepool. My first meeting was with The Supporters Trust to gauge interest and response from them, but this is by no means to be exclusive to The Supporters Trust.
Since the announcement has been made, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, which was the reaction that I was hoping for. I have had many offers of help for people to engage with the Club they love. This has confirmed to me that it is the right decision for Hartlepool United and the town.
I am currently exploring the best fan ownership structure as there are a range of options available. Whatever the outcome, I want this to be a transparent ownership, with good governance and accountability. I want there to be good engagement with the supporter base, to deliver true partnership with our sponsors and business partners, and be successful on and off the pitch.
I would expect to have a defined structure in place in the next few weeks, and as I have information that is reportable, I will keep you all updated via the Club’s Official Website.
On a final note, I would like to make a plea. We are heavily dependent on our Season Tickets renewals for the Club to operate and I would appeal to all our fans to take up their Season Tickets to help sustain and support the Club. I can personally assure all of you that the money received into the Club will be kept within the Club and used for normal Club operations and is fully under my control. Whatever our league status is, this Club only survives on the support of the fans, which is why it was a natural choice to seek feedback on fan ownership.
Clubs that suffer relegation will lose a large proportion of the Premier League solidarity payments (approximately £350,000pa after National League payments). Clubs will continue to receive EFL payments for 12 months after relegation, which then drop to 50% in the second year, should they not achieve promotion in the first year. I know that it would be my responsibility to find ways to make up this loss with sponsorship and support from the business community and the initial response this week makes me feel confident it could be achieved at this Club.
I can only thank all of you for your continued support, and in particular, our amazing away support. Poolies are truly the best fans in any league and all the clubs I have visited have been welcoming and regard our fans very highly.
I look forward to a packed park on Saturday as we all cheer our lads on into battle!
Whatever the outcome on Saturday, we are better together. #NSD