Hartlepool United has announced it has secured funding to try to buy land around the ground as part of a long-term plan to generate money to safeguard the club’s future.
Pools’ ambitious plans seek to build housing and retail adjacent to The Northern Gas and Power Stadium where the Mill House Leisure Centre currently stands.
Club chairman Gary Coxall said: “This will be a big step towards securing the stabilizing the future of Hartlepool United.
“In football, you make money on match days, through transfers and sponsorship – we can’t compete with the bigger clubs on most of that and we could just say ‘we’re putting the ticket prices up’ but who will that help? We’re looking at making the Club self-sustaining through property development so that prices don’t have to go up, not now and not in the long-term.
“We’ve said from the start that our plans are to grow Hartlepool United whilst maintaining the strong community links and this project will benefit the community so much that those links can only be strengthened.”
In March, the club signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hartlepool Borough Council, which owns the Mill House Leisure Centre, which committed both organisations to work together for the good of the town.
The council’s Hartlepool Regeneration Masterplan area covers the marina, waterfront, Church Street and town centre area including the Mill House site which incorporates the football ground.
At the time council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said the council was keen to explore regeneration opportunities with the club.
The council says it is committed to supporting Hartlepool United’s ambitions but stressed nothing has been decided.
Pools say it will seek to secure further negotiations early in the New Year to take the plans forward.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “We understand the importance to the town of a successful football club and we are committed to supporting Hartlepool United FC’s ambitions. We have had a Memorandum of Understanding in place for over a year about how we can work collaboratively, but at this stage we have not finalised any plans on how best to utilise this site.”
Recruitment firm JPNG bought Hartlepool United from IOR around 18 months ago.