Trust provides fundraising update and warns administration remains 'very real possibility' unless Hartlepool United sale happens soon

Victoria Park, home of Hartlepool United.
Victoria Park, home of Hartlepool United.

A fundraising drive by Hartlepool United Supporters' Trust aimed at helping get Jeff Stelling and Raj Singh's proposed takeover over the line has so far raised £60,000.

But officials have warned the situation at Pools remains of "grave concern" and administration remains a "very real possibility" unless a sale goes through soon.

Earlier this month HUST launched an ambitious bid to raise £250,000 in order to help the takeover go through, with the possibility of also earning a seat on any post-takeover board.

Singh and Steeling's consortium has an agreement in principle with current Pools owner John Blackledge, of Sage Investments, but they remain £600,000 short of target funds.

A HUST statement said: "Latest total funds in bank is just a shade over £60k. We would like to say a massive thank you to all those people that have donated thus far.

"Obviously we are still some way short of our goal but we will continue to keep striving to achieve it. We cannot stress enough how important it is that people continue to support us however they can.

"We had a face to face meeting with the Council on Monday. One of the things we sought clarity on was the current situation regarding the lease to the ground.

"As previously reported to members we know that Sage lent a substantial amount of money to HUFC and that the lease to the ground was used as security.

"The council confirmed this was the case. We spoke to Mr Blackledge on Tuesday and he confirmed that he held the lease to the ground as security.

"We have discussed the matter further with our legal representatives at Supporters Direct who believe this should not be an obstacle were the club to be liquidated, but obviously would be a factor in any potential sale of the existing club."

HUST officials hope to have further discussions with the council next week.

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Regarding Stelling and Singh's proposed takeover, the HUST statement added: "The situation at the club remains of grave concern and administration remains a very real possibility unless a sale goes through in the very near future.

"As it stands the consortium involving Mr Singh and Mr Stelling remains £600k short of target funds. While the Trust still hopes to purchase a stake we have to be realistic about what we can afford.

"We did speak with a couple of potential investors last week and over the weekend but this has not progressed beyond them expressing an interest.

"We also note the Swedish consortium has been mentioned again in the press. We spoke with Mr Blackledge about this and he could only tell us what we reported last week that the media seem to be making a lot more of this story than there is to it, and that there have been no meaningful talks between owner and that potential buyer.

"We can also confirm that there has been zero contact between these potential buyers and the Trust though if their intentions are genuine we would welcome such contact.

"We also noted comments early in the week on social media suggesting a deal had been completed to buy the club, or that Mr Singh had already put money into the club. Having spoken to people involved we did not find that there was any substance to these reports."

It added: "The club itself remains in dire need of money to pay staff wages next week and we can only ask that fans continue to support it as best they can.

"Unfortunately our next scheduled home game against Bromley has been moved from Saturday 24th March to Tuesday 27th March, we know midweek fixtures are difficult for some fans but would urge as many as possible to get to the game and support the club and the players.

"In terms of the consortium we will continue with our Fundraising efforts and would again urge any potential investors who want to help save the club to contact us through the usual channels."

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