Hartlepool has cost Raj Singh more than he’d budgeted for, but he wouldn’t change a thing about Pools’ progress

Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh sits in for the official Hartlepool United team photo.  Picture by Frank Reid
Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh sits in for the official Hartlepool United team photo. Picture by Frank Reid

Raj Singh has revealed he’s had to dig a little deeper than first anticipated to get Hartlepool United in a position to compete.

But the Pools owner thinks that the progress made in the short time since he took control is nothing short of amazing.

And, despite having to spend bigger than originally budgeted for, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“These are exciting times, the town and the fans have come on board and got behind us. The staff here have done a good job at the club over the summer. There’s a lot to be excited about,” said Singh, who bought the club from previous owners JPNG in the final weeks of the 2017/18 season.

“Since I came in, it’s possibly cost me a little bit more money than what was expected at first, but that’s always the case when taking on a business.

“I’d like to think I’ve got a sensible business head, but there’s always a little bit more to come. It’s been a little bit more, but nothing to worry about.

“If someone had said to me that we would make this sort of progress we have made over the last two to three months, I would snatch their arm off.

“We have made massive leaps from where the club was in March time, it’s really encouraging.”

Singh was speaking at the club’s home and away kit launch – another sign that Singh’s Hartlepool are keen to engage with the town and a wider audience.

There’s a feel about Hartlepool this summer, one not felt for some time.

Singh feels it too. But he’s keen to keep everyone’s feet on the ground ahead of the National League season’s starting next Saturday.

“We have to manage expectations, no-one will get too excited, but it’s fair to say if we sat down two or three months ago and said we would get the players in who we have got in, it would have been an exciting thought to consider, let alone actually getting them in,” he added.

“But it’s about keeping our feet on the ground and be quietly confident.

“We are all in it together and then see where it takes us.

“The supporters have come along in their numbers to see the players and the new strip – things are positive.

“Season ticket sales have been good, very positive especially after what had gone on last time.

“You never know what the take up will be, but Mark (Maguire), Craig (Hignett) and Matty (Bates) have done a great job in getting players into the club and that always helps.

“The fans want to see a good team, positive signings and so far, so good we have all been impressed.”

One major stand-out about Pools this summer has been the number of players who have been all too happy to take a step out of the Football League, or similar, to join.

Singh said: “The players arriving here are of a high standard.

“One of my remits to Matty and Craig was to try and get in as many local players, lads from the North East as we can.

“They have done that and if you look across the squad there’s only a few outside the area and you can live with that – we want lads from the region who will fight for the club.”

* Pools have their final pre-season fixture tomorrow, with Middlesbrough visiting The Vic, with a 1pm kick-off.