Trust aim to raise £250,000 to join forces with Jeff Stelling in Hartlepool United takeover bid

The trust are calling on Pools fans to donate to get takeover bid over the line.
The trust are calling on Pools fans to donate to get takeover bid over the line.

Hartlepool United Supporters Trust have launched an ambitious bid to raise £250,000 in order get Jeff Stelling's proposed Victoria Park takeover over the line.

And, should they managed to find the capital, they also hope to earn a seat on any post-takeover board.

Sky Sports presenter Stelling revealed last week that together with an as yet unnamed Teesside businessman he has around £1.2million to pump into the club, and has an agreement in principle with current Pools owner John Blackledge, of Sage Investments.

As explained in the Mail last week this significant sum already raised by the Stelling group will not used to pay off Blackledge or the outstanding debts to Sage. Instead, the owner, who pulled the plug financially on the club back in November, is likely to agree a deal to recoup his cash much further down the line, in light of, for example, promotion, or player sales.

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And with Stelling saying he still needed £600,000 to make any deal financially viable, the trust have stepped up. They hope enough supporters will come on board to get this deal over the line, although they believe less than half that sum will be enough to get the ball rolling.

A statement released on their website this evening reads: "Jeff Stelling is honorary President of both HUFC and of HUST and he is now clear that without an imminent takeover of HUFC the club will certainly face administration in March and with this could rapidly cease to exist.

"He is leading a consortium to take over the club and is urgently calling for partners to come forward to join the team to secure the funds required to take over the running of the club.

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"We all know that the club is running at a significant monthly loss and Jeff has confirmed that the consortium funds are being raised only to be used for the running of the club, with sufficient funding required to cover the time to restructure the club into a sustainable operation which will take at least two more seasons.

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"This weekend he has told us that there is no fee to purchase the club and that a deal in principle has finally been agreed with Sage to relieve the new owners of the significant debts.

"However, a further £600k is urgently required to add to the £1.2 million that has already been secured. In Jeff’s opinion this is the only option that is even close to being viable in the time available.

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"As fans we collectively have the opportunity to join this consortium via the Supporters Trust, receiving a shareholding in the club following a successful takeover and a seat on the club’s new board.

"To do this we need to raise more money and fast. Our fighting fund is open to all who wish to donate and we not only need to raise our target but we need to smash it – realistically we’d need £250,000 to help push this deal across the line and none of the funds raised would be parted with without receiving shareholding in exchange.

"Pools fans, we can do this! We can help to save Jeff’s club."

Details of how and where to donate any cash are available www.hufcsupporterstrust.org.uk.