Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling has released a statement regarding the takeover situation at his boyhood club Hartlepool United.
The 62-year-old Gillette Soccer Saturday host is urging investors to push through a deal to save the relegation-battling Vanarama National League club. Pools slipped out of the EFL last season and their financial struggles have been heavily documented recently, with supporter Rachel Cartwright notable starting an online fundraising campaign and even paying the club’s tax bill herself of around £48,000.
Now Jeff Stelling is reportedly working with a consortium aiming to buy the club, with around £1.2 million available but another £600,000 needed to complete a deal. His statement reads as follows:
“We can’t afford to find ourselves in the same position 12 months from now so we need sufficient funding in place to guarantee the club’s long-term future. Our money is there and waiting if we can find the extra funds.
“But time is running out. Though it breaks my heart to say it, I don’t believe the club can survive much longer.
“The club needs investment – and it needs it now. We have had promises of backing from a number of people, but so far none have come up with the money when asked.
“We have done due diligence and any serious investor is welcome to look at the report. We have been working hard on this for the past couple of months, but we now feel we need the extra funding within the next week or it may be too late.
“There has been rumour after rumour about people with plans to save Pools, but nothing has happened and things are getting desperate. I remember standing on the terraces with my late sister Sue in the early 1960s.
“I can’t bear the prospect of this club going to the wall. I just hope there are some wealthy individuals or businesses out there that may feel the same.
“The town would be forever grateful. I can’t promise you this is no risk; it is football so there is always a risk.
“Remember it’s only a few seasons ago that AFC Bournemouth were playing us and look at where they are now. And look at how Newport, who survived at our expense, have done.
“This is a no get-rich-quick scheme. If anyone shares our dream, this is the time to come forward.”