Mixed response to AGM decision

HARTLEPOOL United fans have given a mixed response to news there will not be a shareholders annual general meeting this year in a bid to cut costs.

Some supporters of the League One club have backed the decision on cost saving grounds, while others say the annual meeting is a chance for shareholders to question the club’s hierarchy face-to-face on matters both on and off the pitch.

The meeting is usually held around December and gives chairman Ken Hodcroft the chance to reflect publicly about the previous 12-months.

But supporters will not get that chance this season, which has left some feeling short changed, especially given the first team’s poor start that has seen them win just once all season and the arrival of new manager John Hughes.

A statement on the club’s website said: “Hartlepool United FC advises shareholders that the company will not be holding an AGM this year in order to reduce costs.”

A club spokesman added: “In this time of austerity we are always looking to save costs.

“It is no longer a requirement for us to hold an annual general meeting, at considerable cost, so we have taken advantage of that as we thought it was a good cost-saving plan.”

Meanwhile, it is not yet clear whether there will be an annual statement from Mr Hodcroft this year, which is usually published online as well as being handed out at the meeting.

The club’s accounts will still be made available to shareholders.

Pauline McSweeney, secretary of the Hartlepool United Supporters’ Association, said: “I think if it saves money then it has to be done, we are all looking to make savings after all.

“For the amount of people that turn up, is it really a big deal?”

Mark Carroll, who works in the highways department at Hartlepool Borough Council, sits in the Niramax Stand and travels home and away.

The 34-year-old said: “I think it is disappointing because this is a chance for fans who are shareholders to ask questions of the chairman and the new manager about the health of the club, what the future of the ground is and what the owner’s views are looking ahead.

“The fans want to know how the club plans to move forward.

“Hopefully there will still be a statement at least.”

Season ticket holder Neil Sharpe, 43, a married dad-of-three who is a production manager at Atkinson Print, in Church Street, said: “It is fine by me as long as the money is used to get a new midfielder or striker.”

Adrian Liddell, 42, managing director at Atkinson Print, said: “If they no longer have to hold one then that seems fair enough, however it was always good to have them in the past.

“I am sure the information shareholders require will be made public when it is good and ready,” added the married dad-of-four.

Shareholders who have queries are asked to call the club on (01429) 272584.

l It’s your vote: Page 9