The Club would like to inform supporters that discussions with Hartlepool United Supporter Trust (HUST) have been concluded and a viable agreement could not be reached for a HUST led consortium to take control of the Club at this stage.
HUFC Chairman Raj Singh commented on the matter:
Following recent events it is important that I update supporters on the proposed Hartlepool United Supporters Trust led takeover.
Sensitivities around these discussions prevented me from doing so to date. I have also been incredibly mindful of the impact that continually raising the topic publicly has on the operations of the Club – the ownership and perceived funding uncertainties of late have presented endless difficulties in securing and retaining staff, signing players and agreeing commercial partners.
Despite placing Hartlepool United up for sale at the end of last season as requested by some supporters, there’s categorically been no credible buyers nor has any party even come forward with the correct initial proof of funds.
That backdrop led me to approach the Trust in trying to do the right thing. The Trust was set up as a legal entity that could act and I asked the Trust to liaise and involve other supporter groups as well.
Upon consideration of the finances involved the Trust understandably identified that they could not take over the Club alone and that they would look to raise consortium investment.
The stark reality is that it costs a lot of money to operate a Club in the National League, especially if promotion is the aim and not just sustainability.
I have been upfront with the Trust since day one, and consequently the consortium, as to what kind of takeover structure I was able to support with, so as to not waste anybody’s time.
I must be absolutely clear that I have never changed that basis nor is it an excessively onerous one in terms of other benchmark deals that have happened at this level of football.
Whilst I can’t go into specifics I feel I must highlight that the principles of my suggestion, based on the Trust’s involvement, required no up-front fee and any repayments of monies that I’ve invested in HUFC would be over the long term and only triggered if the Club either returned to profitability or achieved windfall incomes or league status milestones.
Initial proof of funds were supplied however I haven’t yet received information as to how the consortium would formally work or how it would run and fund the Club going forward, which I did request in December.
Some concerns have been raised by supporters regarding the final make-up of the consortium with withdrawals of key individuals and potential funds, a minority shareholding for the Trust and breaches in professional confidentiality across social media during the process.
Personally though I want to thank the Trust and consortium for their efforts and I will keep dialogue open. Having listened to feedback and regardless of anything else that happens next, I will be approaching the Trust and other supporter groups as to how they can represent more formally within the Club, which could include a form of shareholding or stake.
Since April I have taken a step back from the Club. That will remain until the longer-term future is clear. Additionally, and as I’ve said since day one, I’m open to serious offers and will actively welcome further approaches if they can safeguard this Club’s future and also realistically help fund and accelerate taking the team back to where we all want it to be.
Immediately now in the short term, and given the position the team finds itself in, I need to reiterate and provide assurances with significant financial backing for the manager and Club staff. We must get the team clear from any potential relegation fight as an absolute priority and ideally start looking upwards.
The recent ongoing process has paralysed the squad rebuild that Joe Monks and the football staff have been trying to implement following relegation. We must change the backdrop for now and I have given my assurances to Kevin Phillips as our new Head Coach on that matter.