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What’s holding up the Hartlepool United takeover? A progress report on Raj Singh’s Pools bid

Former Darlington chairman Raj Singh
Former Darlington chairman Raj Singh

Tensions are running high in Hartlepool at the moment, with Raj Singh’s proposed Pools takeover still yet to be announced.

But what do we know about the deal, and where is it at right now?

Here Liam Kennedy answers all your questions with regards the current situation at Victoria Park.

Has there been a hitch in the deal?

The simple answer to this, at this stage, is no.

Things are still progressing as all parties would hope, if a little slower than anticipated.

Sources close to the deal have told the Mail that there are “just not enough hours in the day” to get everything done as swiftly as everyone would like.

So what is the hold up?

No takeover is ever done overnight. And with Singh and Pools, business has been conducted at a considerable pace.

Often these things can take months, even years. Pools didn’t have time on their hands. Everyone involved, including Singh himself, knew that if the deal was to happen it had to go quickly.

This hasn’t been without little bumps in the road.

A deal in principle was agreed, but nothing in writing. This risked collapse when the goalposts were shifted at the last minute.

When that hurdle was overcome a number of other minor disagreements were ironed out, batted back and forth between solicitors.

What stage is the deal at now?

The main detail of the deal is done, including the structure of payments, price paid for the club, dealing with outstanding litigation and legacy debts.

The selling party have done their side of the paperwork. The buyer already has plans in place for life post-transaction and have done for some two weeks now.

The deal is yet to be ratified by the National League, FA, etc. This can take time.

The National League board are due to meet on Thursday, April 12. At this meeting they will discuss the Pools takeover. There will be a decision to either ratify or a refusal given to the relevant parties in due course following the meeting’s conclusion.

When will the deal get done?

An announcement could come at the back end of next week, after the league meeting.

The buyers had been keen to get things announced before the Bromley game, but that deadline was too optimistic.

It is not out of all realms of possibility that this drags out to the end of the season, but there would be no ulterior motive for this, other than time constraints getting in the way of progress.

Should Poolies be concerned by this lull?

There is nothing at all to suggest this deal will not go through.

One of the major concerns would be whether Singh passes a fit and proper owner test, set by the league. Those fears have been played down by those close to the deal.

What do Poolies have to look forward in the new Singh regime?

Well, there will be a totally new way of thinking at the club from top to bottom, with a twist of the old, given that former manager Craig Hignett will be calling the shots on the footballing side of things, outside of the manager’s responsibilities, of course.

This will be closer to the IOR model than JPNG or Sage Investments.

While cash is available it will not be spent wastefully. Pools will cut their cloth to suit on and off the park.

Things might get more painful before they get better, but whatever decisions are taken will be done for the good of the club first and foremost.