Meeting hears Hartlepool United is in '˜Last Chance Saloon'

Hartlepool United is '˜in the last chance saloon' and facing extinction, a public meeting has been told.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 10:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 10:50 pm
The panel (from left) Kevin McElhone, Steve Sharp, Mike Lewis, Les Watts, Tony Norman and Mark Gale

Dozens of fans packed into the South Durham Steelworks Club in Westbourne Road for a meeting to discuss possible fund-raising ideas.

Organiser Mike Lewis warned fans this weekend’s game could be the club’s last if the cash drive was not successful.

Pools fans at a meeting to discuss possible fund-raising ideas

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Members of the Friends of Hartlepool United had met with club chairman Pam Duxbury, who had outlined how precarious the financial situation was, he said.

The club’s clash with Leyton Orient scheduled for February 3 has been postponed due to the London club’s cup commitments – but would not have been guaranteed to go ahead.

“If there was a game against Leyton Orient in two weeks time and the money was not there, there would be no game,” said Mike.

The club had spent the money needed to stage this weekend’s game on the basis that there was more coming.

Pools fans at a meeting to discuss possible fund-raising ideas

“The money they had in the bank is being used to get the game going ahead this week – that is on the understanding the money being raised is coming in.”

The only long-term guarantee of the club’s future was to find a new owner: “We need somebody to come in,” he said.

“We are in the Last Chance Saloon now, and if we don’t get these funds in, there is not going to be a football club.”

Meeting chairman Les Watts urged fans to stand together to save their beloved Pools.

“We are all here for one reason and one reason only,” he said.

“Hartlepool has the name ‘United ‘ and we should be United as one.”

The club was urging fans to have their pre-match drinks at the Victoria Ground this weekend to boost the coffers, he said.

“What they are asking you to do is come to the ground – the bar is going to be open from 1pm,” said Les.

“Please have a pint at the ground – it is all money being paid into Pools’ bar.”

Supporters had been concerned about what might happen to any money raised, but the meeting heard the club had agreed to allow a solicitor and fans’ representatives to witness it for themselves.

“The money is for the bills, it is to cover wages and it is to cover general costs of the club,” said Mike Lewis.

“We have been invited to go there with the solicitor 
and watch the bills being paid.”

The meeting agreed to approach town legal firm Smith and Graham about holding on to any funds raised until they were passed to the club.