‘We cannot stand still’ – Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh gives update on stadium development plans

Hartlepool United have met with Hartlepool Borough Council once again as plans to develop Victoria Park progress.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 4:45 pm

Last week, Hartlepool chairman Raj Singh and senior advisor Lee Rust met with council leader Shane Moore and managing director Denise McGuckin to discuss the plans for the club’s home ground.

That was before a bumper crowd of 5,522 people packed into The Vic on Saturday to watch Pools’ 2-1 win over Northampton Town in League Two.

The club have had no problem attracting crowds since returning to the Football League with an average attendance of 5,314 from their opening six fourth tier matches this season.

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Hartlepool United's owner & chairman Raj Singh during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Oldham Athletic and Hartlepool United at Boundary Park, Oldham on Saturday 18th September 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Only Bradford City, Swindon Town, Bristol Rovers, Tranmere Rovers and Port Vale have averaged higher crowds in League Two so far this campaign.

But the stadium has been highlighted by both Singh and new chief operations officer Stephen Hobin as an area that needs improving at the club.

The matchday atmosphere in the stands is second to none at the moment but the overall experience still needs work with issues surrounding matchday entry and catering.

Shortly before Pools were promoted back in June, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the club and the council to kick-start a long-term project for Victoria Park and the surrounding area.

Since then, progress has been slow despite Hartlepool’s continued progress on the pitch.

And Singh is keen to strike while the iron is hot and the club are doing well in the Football League.

“The memorandum of understanding was signed four months ago but progress since then hasn’t been as quick as either party would have hoped for,” he said in the Hartlepool matchday programme.

“In the meeting we emphasised the fact that there is some real momentum with the club at present and that collectively we cannot waste that momentum or opportunity.

“I am repeatedly asked by the fans what stage we are at with the development and the fact they have heard it all before with talk of stadium redevelopments for over a decade.”

The long-term plans could see a dated Victoria Park have its capacity almost double from 7,865 up to 15,000 over time. Although the initial developments have been slow, Singh wants to keep moving things forward with the council.

“It’s vital that we build on the progress the club has seen in recent times and keep the development project moving forward each month,” he added.

"We cannot stand still and I think we as a club have shown our drive, ambition and credibility to deliver things over the next few years.

“The next project board meeting is set for the turn of the year when we will be reviewing business cases and a chunk of the work that has been agreed for completion by December.

“In that sense, I’m pleased that we have an agreed deadline and next stage to work toward.

“We really need the council to work with us and collectively I’m confident that we can deliver something fantastic for the club, the town and the region.”

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