Hartlepool United takeover collapse a 'catastrophe' says TV Jeff
TV's Jeff Stelling has described news that a potential buyout of Hartlepool United has fallen through as "catastrophic".
Hopes were high among fans of a breakthrough after reports a local businessman, later identified as Chris Musgrave, had been in talks with the club.
But Mr Musgrave announced yesterday afternoon that he had pulled out after being unable to identify exactly how much he would have to invest to save the cash-strapped club.
Speaking to the Mail today Pools fan Jeff and the club's honorary president said: "It's catastrophic news for the club. I have spoken to Chris and understand his reasons completely that he feels he needs to have some idea of what he was getting into and how much money he would be expected to plunge into the club.
"He comes from the same estate as me, Rift House, he's desperate to do something for the club but he just felt things weren't transparent enough."
Jeff, who fronts the popular Soccer Saturday show on Sky, revealed Mr Musgrave was not the potential investor he has spoken to.
But it is understood they have not yet held talks with club chiefs.
Jeff said the club must be totally open and up front with any interested parties about the level of investment it needs.
He added: "I'm told there might be one or two other people who are also interested. If a local millionaire who is desperate to help the town and club can't see a way forward it's hard to see how anyone can.
"If anyone else gets that far things need to be made very transparent and shown just what they are getting into.
"It is not an unreasonable thing to hope for."
Jeff attended last night's 1-1 draw at Chester. He said: "I was just there as a fan. I don't get many chances to go, and especially as things are so serious as far as the future of the club goes."
Fans' efforts have raised more than Â£75,000 to help the club but if no new investor is faced soon, administration looks increasingly likely.
Entrepreneur Mr Musgrave had held meetings with club officials, Hartlepool Borough Council and other parties over the last two weeks.
He said in a statement he was willing to put over Â£1.5m into the club but he was unable to identify exactly how much was needed to save it.
Mr Musgrave said he did not intend to make money from Hartlepool United but was not prepared to sign "blank cheques with no end in sight".
He said: "As it stands, I do not intend to provide any funds to the Football Club, for reasons within this statement, but I do hope the club will saved.”