Labour’s Iain Wright hits back after Pools attack

editorial image
29
Have your say

IAIN Wright hit back at Hartlepool United after the club urged fans to “think carefully” before voting for the town’s MP just hours before people went to the polls.

In an article published on the club’s official website ahead of voting opening yesterday, it criticised Mr Wright for comments he made when the club was linked to rapist Ched Evans in December.

Mr Wright, a Hartlepool United season-ticket holder said at the time the club would be a “pariah” if it signed Evans.

The following day Pools issued a statement saying they would definitely not be signing Evans.

The club also criticised Mr Wright for failing to help in talks with the Labour-led Hartlepool Borough Council about the sale of Victoria Park.

The club has been involved in a long-running wrangle with the council as it bids to take over the ground.

The article on the website stated: “The MP failed to recognise that his immediate comments on certain issues regarding player transfers did not benefit this Club but, in the Club’s opinion, were made for political gain.

“In addition, his failure to assist in negotiations with the Council on the land purchase issue since his election has been disappointing.

“The Club expects more from a local MP.”

The club appeared to favour the Conservative and Ukip candidates Richard Royal and Phillip Broughton over Mr Wright, saying they had attended games and shown “current and future interest” in the club.

The statement added: “This club supports any candidate who supports the club and the Football League.

“The current Hartlepool Labour MP has failed to support the club on many occasions (as has the Labour Council).

“However it’s up to you the people of Hartlepool but the club urges you to think carefully about voting for any councillor or MP who does not recognise the importance of this Football Club to its loyal supporters, the income it brings into the town and the future of the club.

“Maybe it’s time for a political change in Hartlepool?”

Pools chairman Ken Hodcroft made almost identical comments in his programme notes for Hartlepool United’s triumphant last home game of the season against Exeter when they secured their League Two survival.

In another article on the Hartlepool United website the club looked at each of the main political parties regarding their policies towards football.

After his election victory, Mr Wright said: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Hartlepool United and their out-of-town oil baron who is chairman has given his opinion.

“The people of Hartlepool haven’t listened to him. I care passionately about my club, I’m a season ticket holder and I have been for years.

“I’ve always offered to work with the club and Hartlepool United have never been in touch with me.”

Mr Wright said he also stood by his comments regarding the club’s possible signing of Ched Evans in the past season.

Pools’ statement in full:

“TO date we have had a Conservative candidate (Richard Royal) and UKIP (Phillip Broughton) attending games and showing current and future interest in the Club and potential support from a political point of view.

“The Green candidate (Michael Holt) and of course Labour’s Iain Wright are also standing for election in Hartlepool. The choice is yours but please do turn up to vote.

“This Club supports any candidate who supports the Club and the Football League.

“The current Hartlepool Labour MP has failed to support the Club on many occasions (as has the Labour Council).

“The MP failed to recognise that his immediate comments on certain issues regarding player transfers did not benefit this Club but, in the Club’s opinion, were made for political gain.

“In addition, his failure to assist in negotiations with the Council on the land purchase issue since his election has been disappointing. The Club expects more from a local MP.

“However it’s up to you the people of Hartlepool but the Club urges you to think carefully about voting for any councillor or MP who does not recognise the importance of this Football Club to its loyal supporters, the income it brings into the town and the future of the Club.

“Elsewhere on this website we list more information about the political parties and their “views” on football. The SNP are also listed but we assume they will have no influence over English football – but then again who knows!

“Maybe it’s time for a political change in Hartlepool?

“Please carefully review all the candidates and cast your vote on May 7th.”