Businessman behind Pools takeover bid revealed

Businessman Raj Singh
Businessman Raj Singh

Former Darlington football club owner Raj Singh has been confirmed as the man leading a consortium hoping to take over Hartlepool United.

The Hartlepool United Supporters Trust which is involved in the consortium along with Jeff Stelling, issued a statement today updating the position.

Hartlepool United fans

Hartlepool United fans

It says it still needs to raise £600,000 of the £1.8m needed to proceed with the takeover from Sage Investments.

The statement released by the trust says: "Today we have been in discussions with the Jeff Stelling led consortium and we can now officially confirm that in line with online rumours Raj Singh is indeed the Teesside Businessman seeking to secure the consortium ownership of HUFC.

"Mr Singh has confirmed that an offer has been made to Sage Investments to acquire the club for no fee, with Sage Investment clearing their significant debts, (and therefore without interest payments accruing) and without any security held over the club by Sage."

Performance related payments, which are said to total a small fraction of the money owed to Sage, would be made on the club’s promotion to back to League 2 and another similar payment if Pools were promoted to League 1.

The statement adds: "There is an ongoing litigation issue within the club and without this being satisfactorily resolved then the consortium deal would not go ahead, however, those involved are confident that the matter would be closed to allow the take-over to go ahead.

"The £1.8 million of funds required upfront would only be used to fund the running of the club as part of a 3 year business plan, and during that time the club would need to be structured to be much more sustainable.

"HUFC is currently a loss making club, and while cost cutting can be implemented and revenue streams improved, this takes time to achieve, and is complicated by reductions in both EFL parachute payments and Academy funding over the next two seasons.

"This take-over would leave the new owners of HUFC with as clean a slate as possible, however, for the offer to proceed to the next stage then the consortium does need to find £600k to add to the £1.2 million that is already in place.

"Funds raised by supporters can be used to join the consortium via the Supporters Trust to give the fans direct representation in the running of our club and we can demonstrate to other potential consortium partners that we fans are committed to football in this town.

"We thank Raj for allowing us to give this additional detail today and ask all fans, whether HUST members or not to back our fundraising to support Jeff Stelling and Raj’s efforts to secure football in Hartlepool at the current level."