Revealed! Hartlepool United takeover details released as deal edges closer to completion

Hartlepool United will be sold for a nominal £1 - with further staggered payments to owner John Blackledge over the next 12 seasons.

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd March 2018, 2:05 pm
Raj Singh (centre) watches Hartlepool United in action alongside former Pools boss Craig Hignett, who is set to return as director of football should the takeover be completed.
Raj Singh (centre) watches Hartlepool United in action alongside former Pools boss Craig Hignett, who is set to return as director of football should the takeover be completed.

Takeover talks between Pools and a consortium led by businessman Raj Singh are continuing with hopes high that a deal will be concluded soon.

While the club will exchange hands for a nominal fee, Blackledge will receive further "small staggered payments" over the next 12 seasons and they would increase should the club progress through the league pyramid.

A statement by Hartlepool United Supporters Trust (HUST) released the details, with the Trust also thanking Blackledge for keeping them up to date with developments adding had he not stepped in last season there is "little doubt" the club would have gone under.

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It comes as Hartlepool Borough Council confirmed it has loaned Pools more than £77,000 so the club can pay this month's wage bill ahead of the takeover being completed.The HUST statement read: "We had a long chat with John Blackledge earlier this afternoon and he confirmed more details from the proposed Heads of Terms for the transfer of ownership. For confidentiality reasons we cannot disclose most of the content as the paperwork has not been signed at the time of writing.

"John did however allow some things to be disclosed which have already been reported.

"He confirmed the club will be exchanged for £1, though there will be small staggered payments to Mr Blackledge over the next 12 seasons. These would increase should the club progress upward through the leagues.

"Mr Singh has also agreed to make a financial contribution to the legal costs of Geoff Cunningham. While the deal is still with solicitors both parties are hopeful of legal completion tomorrow.

"We would like to go on record and thank Mr Blackledge for his honesty in the last couple of months, and for keeping us abreast of developments.

"Irrespective of what some fans may think, the reality is that he has ploughed a lot of money (somewhere close to £2 million) into the football club. The vast majority of that money he is not going to see again, unless we have a run through to the Premier League in the next decade, a scenario we feel is unlikely.

"Had he not stepped in when he did there is little doubt the football club would have gone under last season.

"We have also had meetings and telephone conversations this week with the Council and the town MP and again would like to thank them for their time and support.

"We are also on behalf of all fans I am sure, grateful for the loan the Council has given the club to help pay staff salaries this month which will allow time for a takeover deal to be completed."

The HUST statement added that until the takeover was formally completed their fundraising pages, which has so far raised more than £65,000, would remain open along with other fundraising activities including a golf day in May.

The statement added: "With funds in the bank, over 1,100 members, and the backing and support of Supporters Direct we feel we have a lot more to offer the club.

"We also hope that we have proven over the last few months we are capable of sitting down and talking with a wide range of parties and having detailed discussions without breaking confidences.

"We remain committed to helping Hartlepool United become a self- sustained, and successful Football League club."

Singh's takeover, which also includes money put in by Sky TV and lifelong Poolie Jeff Stelling, has been agreed in principle but has yet to be formally approved by league bosses.