Pools offer Darlington friendly but Ken Hodcroft believes Quakers should fold

Ken Hodcroft.
Ken Hodcroft.

HARTLEPOOL United have offered to play a fund-raising friendly against old arch rivals Darlington.

But chairman Ken Hodcroft believes it could be time for the Quakers to accept their fate.

The Pools chief has spoken out against the game’s authorities for allowing clubs such as Darlington to fight their way out of administration.

Hodcroft insists that such clubs would again find themselves in a perilous financial position at some point down the line, and the decision should be taken for them to instead be put out of business immediately.

“I do have sympathy for Darlington,” said Hodcroft in an interview with the BBC’s Late Kick Off programme.

“But it’s time we made a stand – if a club is going out of business then you have to let it go out of business.

“For some reason they (the Football League) seem against letting a club go out of business.

“I’m sure Darlington will come around and it will be bought by somebody else and will keep its position in the league and in three years’ time it will be in administration again – this just can’t go on.

“The Football League have to say ‘if you fail then you’re out of the league – there is no points deduction or rescue, you’re gone’.

“It works in business, it will work in football – I guarantee it.”

Darlington were just minutes away from extinction last week when a supporters’ rescue group found the cash to keep it alive for at least another fortnight.

And Pools have now offered to send a team to the Northern Echo Arena next week in a bid to raise funds to aid their survival cause.

Pools chief executive Russ Green explained: “We’d be delighted to send a team over there and play a friendly to hopefully help them raise some funds.

“Clearly we have a great rivalry on the pitch with Darlington but I think that rivalry is healthy in sport so there is no way we want to see them struggling or going out of business.

“We just thought it would be a nice gesture to offer to send a squad over there and hopefully the game will attract a good crowd.

“We’re just hoping it’s possible that we can organise something if they think it will help so we’re waiting to hear back from them.

“Football is a big family and we have to stick together, especially when it’s a local club so we will do anything we can to help.”