Comment: New Hartlepool United owners must be the real deal

Ken Hodcroft's last act as Hartlepool United chairman, presenting Mike Brown and grandson Henry with a season ticket
Ken Hodcroft's last act as Hartlepool United chairman, presenting Mike Brown and grandson Henry with a season ticket

Here we go again then, Hartlepool United have announced another takeover.

It isn’t that long ago since the last one. Tuesday, December 16, 2014, to be precise.

But as we all know, that one didn’t last longer than six weeks as TMH (The Monkey Hangers) 2014’s plans for Pools never really got off the drawing board.

IOR, Hartlepool United and chairman Ken Hodcroft pulled the plug on that deal at the eleventh hour over serious misgivings about the people behind the takeover and their plans for the club.

At the time of the announcement, Hodcroft insisted the decision was taken with the best long-term interests of the club at heart.

Well, now Pools fans are facing another takeover.

It was always on the cards, the club’s hierarchy have been open about the club remaining up for sale, while they worked to bring in local investment too.

Now it has been confirmed as Hodcroft again decides now is the right time to walk away from a club that he has run for the best part of 20-years.

He, and owners IOR, have done an awful lot of good for Hartlepool United but have come in for some fierce criticism in recent seasons.

Pulling off the Great Escape - with renewed financial backing from IOR - helped restore some of that damaged relationship.

The outgoing chairman was pictured on the club’s website on Friday morning congratulating the recipient of the 1,000th season ticket.

It was his last act as Pools chairman.

And Hartlepool United fans will now turn their attentions to the incoming owners.

They haven’t been officially announced yet, with the club ‘revealing’ they will be ‘revealed’ on Monday.

But SportMail understands the club has been sold to a Middle Eastern-based recruitment firm known as JPNG Global, as first reported on the Mail website.

What do we know about them?

They are a specialist recruitment consultancy firm with clients in Dubai, the UAE and UK and offices in Dubai and London.

It remains to be seen how much they are willing to invest in the League Two side but with six signings already added to Ronnie Moore’s squad, hopes are high of further recruits.

Questions remain over whether IOR funded those signings or did the new owners lay down some cash in advance to secure the quality additions?

SportMail understands chief executive Russ Green is set to stay on at the club though, in the same way he was due to carry on under TMH 2014.

Meanwhile, we also understand a new signing could be unveiled on Monday to coincide with the official announcement - that would be the icing on the takeover cake for Poolies.

They just hope it doesn’t end the same way of the last takeover.

Last time round, TMH 2014, led by businessman Peter Harris, was registered with Companies House in the days before the announcement they were taking over Pools.

Harris’s interests lay in construction, nightclubs and investment but was keen to move into the world of football and Pools, who were up for sale, fit the bill.

Promises were made, including that new manager Ronnie Moore would be given the necessary funds to fight relegation.

It was also announced the club was debt free – IOR had offered to wipe £14m of debt as part of the sale.

But when it became apparent money wasn’t being readily invested during the January Transfer Window, serious questions began to be raised.

And that takeover eventually fell through.

Pools supporters will be hoping these new owners are the real deal.

The Great Escape created a wave of momentum at Pools that the club is hoping to ride into the new season.

New signings are on board, Moore and Sam Collins are doing the business off the pitch and hopes are genuinely high of a successful season on it.

Supporters will be desperately hoping promises of a brighter future are not dashed once again.