COMMENT: So where do Hartlepool United go from here after takeover deal failure?
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That is the danger when attempting to judge the decision by Hartlepool United owner Raj Singh to reject the “final” takeover bid by a mystery consortium.
It is also tempting to unpick old wounds to work out how we got here in the first place.
But bleed these blue and white scabs too deeply and it is not too long before you begin questioning the wisdom of sacking Neale Cooper just one league game from the end of arguably the most successful season in the club’s history back in 2005.
So, given that I have a 750-word limit, let us just concern ourselves with the present and future.
Nine months after putting the club up for sale, Mr Singh has rejected the only meaningful offer he has seemingly received.
In a lengthy statement, he says: “I haven’t yet received information as to how the consortium would formally work or how it would run and fund the club going forward.”
The consortium, whose bid has been brokered by the Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust, responded by saying: “We did not give Mr Singh a detailed business plan because we did not receive detailed enough accounts from him to be able to prepare one.”
It also tantalisingly revealed that one of its backers – “a major international investment company” – was prepared to invest £14m on top of nearly £600,000 already paid into a solicitor’s account by other members as proof of funds.
For all the consortium describes its latest offer as “final”, the best case scenario to emerge from a week of verbal jousting is that perhaps we are still at base camp.
Perhaps Mr Singh believes that the bidders, said to be made up of Pools fans with strong connections to the town, have the clout to submit an improved offer and both the patience and passion to match.
On the other hand, however, will the current offer even stand if Pools, who have played more games than the majority of their National League opponents, continue to pussyfoot around the fringes of a relegation battle?
Will it even stand if the club retain their status or actually gatecrash the play offs and beyond?
The last £14m I had spare was not spare for very long (sometimes I think it would have been cheaper if my family simply bought Amazon rather than bought from it) and I am certain international investment companies can quickly find other uses for such a hefty sum.
If Mr Singh is indeed engaging in a game of brinkmanship then it is a dicey one.
Should the team alas end up in the sixth tier then he may never receive a better offer for a club he clearly wants out of.
But what of the team? And what of the fans amid social media chatter about terrace protests?
It must not be forgotten that the club have signed five players in January as I write.
Yet a play-off spot, in my uneducated view, is unlikely unless new boss Kevin Phillips can mastermind a run of Alan Murray-eque proportions (look it up if you don’t understand the reference – it’s an amazing story).
A more realistic outcome is that Phillips secures National League status and begins rebuilding for a concerted promotion push next season.
And, unless he fails miserably, he should be given ample time to rebuild.
For what Pools do not need is a sixth new boss in less than three years and all the usual player upheaval which would come with it.
As for the fans, the customers who pay their money at the turnstiles, they have form for speaking their minds but also for getting the balance right.
I am reminded of a dismal thumping by Fulham on Easter Monday 1993 after Garry Gibson’s cavalier ownership of the club had started to unravel.
As the 3-0 reverse neared its end, the Vic faithful did not hold not back its fury as relegation back to the fourth tier loomed.
Yet the defeat was bookended by unlikely home wins over Plymouth Argyle and Brighton and Hove Albion in which the supporters roared Viv Busby’s team to ultimate safety.
Such vocal diplomacy may be required again while Phillips hopefully stabilises the club's fortunes on the pitch.
But how long will fan patience last if the tiresome malaise continues off it?