Jeff Stelling urges Hartlepool United fans to welcome ex-Darlington chairman’s proposed takeover

Blair Adams curls in a screamer off the post to bring Pools level at Aldershot last night. Picture by Gareth Williams/
Blair Adams curls in a screamer off the post to bring Pools level at Aldershot last night. Picture by Gareth Williams/

Hartlepool United president Jeff Stelling has urged Pools fans to welcome former Darlington chairman Raj Singh with open arms, should his proposed takeover materialise.

Stelling is working closely with the prominent Teesside businessman as he aims to wrestle control from John Blackledge and Sage Investments, who pulled the plug on Pools financially back in November.

The Sky Sports presenter and lifelong fan accepts that having the former Darlo chief in control at Victoria Park could prove a controversial move.

But he hopes fans are pragmatic enough to see that Singh, in the current situation, is the only viable option to Pools going under.

“As far as Hartlepool is concerned I hope that people greet him with open arms because at the moment he is the principle saviour,” said Stelling, who was present at last night’s 2-1 loss to Aldershot.

“The issue was always that until we got somewhere close to a deal we did not want to mention Raj’s name.

“That’s obvious due to his connections with Darlington and such like.”

Stelling, as a minority contributor, along with Singh, who has much of the raised capital, have so far managed to get together around £1.2million to plough into the Pools coffers, should their bid to take over be successful.

This makes up two thirds of the amount they think they will need to turn Pools around within the next three years.

An agreement in principle is in place with Blackledge and things could move very quickly, should the last remaining obstacle to any takeover be removed by chief executive Pam Duxbury and those with the reins at present.

A legal case against Pools by their former owner Peter Goldberg needs to be dropped or resolved for Singh, or potentially the Swedish consortium, to even consider parting with any of their cold, hard cash.

Stelling says Singh is determined to prove to the North East footballing world that he is fit to run a club, despite perceived failings at rivals Darlington.

“He is happy his name is out in the public domain,” said president Stelling.

“I just hope it is a positive reaction.

“One of the things that drove him away from that club was that the fans were negative, understandably so, although they did not know the whole story.

“That negativity disillusioned him.

“We weren’t too sure what the response would be but all I would say is that even thought I’d never met him until a few months ago, his intentions are to right a perceived wrong from Darlington.

“He wants to show that he can be the right type of person to run a football club and he has chosen that club to be Hartlepool.”