Hartlepool United Supporters' Trust signs non-disclosure agreement with club

The trust is trying to help secure the future of Hartlepool United.
The trust is trying to help secure the future of Hartlepool United.

Hartlepool United Supporters' Trust has revealed it has signed a non-disclosure agreement - allowing it to view the club's books.

Trust chairman Ron Harnish says discussions are ongoing with a potential investor as the bid to save the club continues.

Viewing Pools' books will allow the trust to fully understand the financial plight the club is in, and how much money will be needed to secure its long-term future.

Mr Harnish has also confirmed the trust has held discussions with town MP Mike Hill about the possibility of a phoenix club operating from Victoria Park next season, should the current club be liquidated.

In a statement released on the trust's Facebook page, Mr Harnish said: "The trust board are now able to report that we have signed a non-disclosure agreement with (Pools chief executive) Pam Duxbury and HUFC, allowing us to receive the club’s books to complete the due diligence process.

"Bound by the terms of the agreement, Nick Igoe, financial consultant to Supporters Direct, will prepare a report for the board to allow us to gain insight into the position of the club’s finances both now, and as a projection until the end of the season.

"While we will be unable to fully disclose the information provided to us by the club and by Nick, the review is vital to allow us to appreciate how we can suitably move forward with the existing owners, potential new owners, and potential collaborators as part of a consortium, to sustainably secure the future of the club.

"The most likely way of saving the club now would appear to be a consortium led by a local businessman.

"We have had a face-to-face meeting with this man, who we consider to be genuine and who shares our vision of creating a successful community club with fan involvement.

"We remain in contact with him via an intermediary, though will be looking to set up another meeting face-to-face hopefully as early as next week.

"We can assure members we are doing all we can to secure the future of Hartlepool United as a going concern."

Although all efforts are currently being centred around saving the current club, contingency plans have been drawn up.

Mr Harnish added: "Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the football club will be saved, and until we see the books it is very difficult for us to gauge the true amount of money required to secure that.

"As we have stated within the last few weeks, the financial situation may well be worse than we had been led to believe.

"This means that we also still need to make contingencies in parallel in the event that the the club be liquidated.

"Our conversations with the town MP also saw us having discussions around securing rights for the trust to operate a phoenix club from Victoria Park next season.

"This is a road we will only go down if we absolutely have to.

"Those discussions were very positive and we will be hopefully meeting with Mike again shortly and the council in this regard.

"All of our plans of course require funding.

"We will continue with our campaigns, and appreciate the support we have received thus far."

Fans can donate to the trust's fighting fund at https://supportersdirect.sharein.com/invest/901