Jeff Stelling grows frustrated at lack of Hartlepool United takeover progress

Jeff Stelling admits he is growing frustrated by the lack of progress in his takeover bid for Hartlepool United.

Monday, 12th March 2018, 6:00 am
Jeff Stelling.

The Sky Sports presenter, along with former Darlington chairman Raj Singh, has managed to so far pull together around £1.2million to plough into Pools.

An agreement is in place, in principle, with John Blackledge and Sage Investments, which would see Stelling & Co not pay an up-front fee for the club.

But despite Pools’ worsening plight, there are still obstacles to getting any deal over the line.

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One of which has been a need for around £600,000 in outside investment, the other is legal action which is yet to be resolved by Pools.

And lifelong fan Stelling is disappointed progress is so slow, especially with his boyhood club sleepwalking into administration and potentially oblivion.

“It has been very difficult to gain any momentum,” he said of the takeover process.

“Business deals are not really my thing but to me it appears as if progress has been at a snail’s pace. I don’t blame anyone for that but it is frustrating.”

Stelling is hopeful that something can be done.

And he thinks the next 10 days in the process may well be crucial.

“We have no guarantees but we are desperate to see something happen,” he said.
“And I think if something is to happen, it will happen in the next 10 days.

“The position realistically is this - Raj is the major player and I have put some money in.

“Once people see we are serious and fingers crossed the takeover does go ahead, then maybe people will come forward with more money to support us.

“People have been cynical for obvious reasons.

“Any investment will be gratefully received.
“That goes for the supporters trust, too. They know they will not be able to raise £600,000. They have to be realistic.

“They have a target of around £250,000 and I think, being brutally honest, if they manage to get two thirds of the way to that total they will have done a brilliant job.
“If a takeover goes through and they have had a hand in that financially - they will have representation on the board.

“I think this is what they wanted all along the line.”

Light could be at the end of the tunnel on the investment front, although Stelling is treating anyone coming forward with a hefty pinch of salt.

Far too many in recent months have expressed an interest, only to withdraw when asked to show Singh and Stelling the colour of their cash.

“There has been interest from one or two other parties,” said Stelling.

“We have had a number but the issue is that it is all well and good for people to come forward but we need to see the colour of their money.

“It is safe to say that nothing concrete, to my knowledge, has come out of it, yet.

“We are literally in the last chance saloon as a club. I think everyone knows that.

“I do not know how long this club has to survive - I have not had access to the club’s books. But I do know that we need action and we need it now.”