Jeff Stelling: Hartlepool United president offers cash help for any new owners of club

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Hartlepool United: Jeff Stelling may put own cash in

Club president and television presenter Jeff Stelling has promised to provide financial support for Hartlepool United once new ownership has been found.

The 62-year-old is confident Pools can find £200,000 for wages and costs to avoid administration this month after a crowd-funding appeal was set-up.

He expects a new owner to be in place in the near future, and is in touch with one potential investor.

"I'm in early discussions, shall we say," Stelling told BBC Tees.

"[One] I believe is a genuine investor in the football club, who is willing to put significant amounts in and may yet step forward and save the day.

"We'll get the £200,000 and then we have a new investor or the Supporters Trust, I will certainly show the colour of my money at that stage because that is when we're going to need it.

"The Supporters Trust are set to hopefully step in should they be required, should no investor come forward with sufficient funds to take the club on.

Danny Graham
Blackburn's Danny Graham is among the former Pools players to invest in the crowd-funding page

"The Trust are prepared to go on and run the football club and I'll be part of that, if no investor is found."

Stelling has been an outspoken voice about Hartlepool in recent years, notably last season when with the club on the cusp of relegation from the English Football League he called for then-boss Dave Jones to quit.

Pools are by no means the only club to encounter major financial problems, with running costs outstripping income, and the threat of administration becomes a genuine concern.

Local rivals Darlington struggled with a similar situation in 2011-12, where only a last-gasp injection of money from the fan-run DFC Rescue Club kept them going until the end of the season.

Unfortunately, the Quakers were unable to find further investment to overcome their predicament and eventually reformed as a phoenix club, but Stelling does not anticipate the same fate for Pools.

"I'm really hopeful that we will have a new investor in place in the not too distant future," he added.

"I might feel very differently having had talks next week, but just at this moment I feel very hopeful, and if that doesn't happen the Supporters Trust have plans in place.

"You just have to look around, I'll give you the best example of all, of a club that is run by supporters and that is Newport County who have stayed in the Football League on the last day of last season when we didn't.

"Look where they are now, run and funded by supporters, they're in the top half of League Two and have an FA Cup fourth round tie at home to Tottenham to come."

Hartlepool United players react to their relegation from the Football League last season
Hartlepool United dropped out of the Football League for the first time in their history

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