Could Pools benefit from Premier League TV windfall?

GROUNDS: Victoria Park, the home of Hartlepool United Football Club.
GROUNDS: Victoria Park, the home of Hartlepool United Football Club.

A PROMINENT supporter is hopeful Hartlepool United will benefit from the Premier League’s pledge to share its TV bounty – but the club itself is not so sure.

The English top-flight league recently secured a UK record TV deal worth £5.136billion.

It pledged to redistribute more than £1bn of that to five key areas: grassroots facilities, participation, fan engagement and matchday experience, the lower leagues, and supporting disadvantage.

It is the fourth of those which will be of most interest to Pools fans, with reports suggesting the Premier League is ready to make ‘solidarity payments’ to all 72 Football League clubs, which could total more than £300m.

However, Pools chiefs say they are not expecting that to have a “direct impact” on them.

Chief executive Russ Green said: “We don’t anticipate that the increase will have a direct impact on Hartlepool United.

“There are other avenues they are investigating on which to use the extra money, and these are still to be clarified.”

Should the money trickle down, though, it could have a positive impact on Hartlepool’s future.

Pools fan Phil Dunn, who is the spokesman for the proposed Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust, has his doubts that the club will benefit from the Premier League’s plans – but says it will be a “long way overdue” if they do.

He said: “It’s important that the Premier League shares some of its money with the Football League clubs.

“It’s about time some of the money does drip down, as it has been a long time coming.

“I think it will be a long way overdue if it does happen, and perhaps if it had happened earlier, some clubs would have been saved.

“There’s a massive gap between the Premier League and Football League – I don’t even really count the Premier League as part of the football pyramid any more, as it’s so far removed.

“I’ve seen how badly Pools have struggled over the last few years, and more income trickling down from the Premier League would make a big difference.

“I’ve never really trusted the Premier League and (broadcaster) Sky Sports, so while I hope this does come to fruition, I do still have some doubts.”

On the pitch, things are looking up for Pools, who are in buoyant mood having won their last three games in League Two.

Heading into today’s game against Cambridge United at Victoria Park, Pools are just one point from safety under Ronnie Moore.

However, the recent upturn should not affect the plans for a supporters’ trust, says Phil.

He added: “Even though we’ve been doing well on the field recently, the trust plan is still just as important.

“It’s nothing to do with how the club is doing on the field, really.

“It’s still important to get all the fans together and decide whether to go forward with the trust idea.

“We have a meeting scheduled for April 8, when we will decide whether to take it forward or not.

“The interest has been very high.”