The future of Hartlepool United hanging by a thread - as new party emerges with takeover interest

Hartlepool United's future is hanging by a thread.

Monday, 5th February 2018, 11:44 am
Updated Monday, 5th February 2018, 11:51 am
Grant Findley with some of his employees

At any point Pools are no more than a phone call away from being put into administration.

But that has not stopped a potential investor throwing their hat in the ring at the 11th hour.

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A winding up order petition has been issued in relation to an unpaid, overdue HMRC tax bill totalling around £48,000.

Pools have an extremely short window in which to pay the sum - should they not they are at risk of being plunged into administration with uncertainty around where cash will be found to cover the outstanding balance.

It is understood chief executive Pam Duxbury had been keen to use the cash donated by fans from across the country to a Just Giving page to cover the bill - but the Mail has learned that may not happen.

Pam Duxbury

Those responsible for overseeing the fundraising effort, which tops £80,000, are keen to see local businesses, who are out of pocket, paid, before the tax man gets his mitts on the money.

A separate bank account has been set up for the cash to be sent to, under HUFC’s name, by an independent solicitor, tasked with dealing with the situation.

Duxbury will be unable to access this, and has agreed to total transparency by allowing the fundraisers to witness the transaction, as well as payments out to creditors moving forward.

The choice of where this cash goes is likely to be made by the fundraiser-in-chief and actioned by the independent solicitor.

Pam Duxbury

This process would mean fan fears of the cash being soaked up to service the reported £1.8million debt to owner John Blackledge, of Sage Investments, would be allayed.

The donated money is understood to already be on its way to this account, and the process of payment to creditors is likely to commence this week.

Should there be anything left, the remainder may well be used to cover wages, due at the end of the last full week in February, or be used in any potential payment plan with the HMRC.

Despite the financial landscape remaining remarkably uncertain a new interested party has shown their hand in the last seven days.

The Mail has learned that Grant Findley, a South Tyneside businessman, has thrown his hat in the ring.

Findley owns Findley Roofing and Building, who have their headquarters in Blackhall.

A letter of interest was sent to the club’s solicitors and informal talks are understood to have taken place.

His estimated wealth is unknown, nor is it known at this stage whether he would intend to be part of a consortium, or has the cash to go it alone.

Meanwhile, rumours of Swedish interest continue.

The Mail has learned that it is a Scandinavian football agent who heads the consortium who expressed interest in buying the club at the turn of the year.

He is said to have a number of high-profile clients, including one Premier League star.

Their interest is understood to stretch back into mid-2017, and Ostersunds chairman Daniel Kindberg was one of a number of high-profile continental businessmen sounded out about the prospect of owning Pools.

But, at this stage, they are still yet to show their hand, and as a result their interest is not seen as serious, despite the fact they were one of a number of interested parties to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

At this stage Hartlepool businessman Chris Musgrave remains out of the running, as the club teeters on the brink.