HUST Board Candidate Statements

At the 30th October 2020 closing date for HUST board nominations we can confirm that ten applications were received for the eight available board positions. We would like to thank all ten candidates for their time, effort and support of HUST.

With more candidates than Board positions available members are now asked to vote on their preferred candidates. Members will be contacted again by email beforehand, however, in advance of the voting opening on Monday 9th of November 2020, you can read the nomination statements provided by each of the candidates on this page. We would encourage all members to read each candidate’s statement carefully before making your vote.

This is your opportunity to make your voice heard and to choose the people that you want to represent you!

The election process is being overseen by an Election Management Group (EMG) that consists of an independent, non-Member Chair, two HUST members and the Board’s acting Secretary.

Pauline McSweenie – Independent Chair
Roy Marshall – HUST Member
Andrew Povey – HUST Member
Mark Goodman – Acting HUST Secretary

If you have any questions about the election or would like more information please do contact the EMG via Acting Secretary at Mark.Goodman@hufcsupporterstrust.org.uk.

Voting closes at 23:59 on 7th of December 2020 and votes can be submitted by email directly to Mark.Goodman@hufcsupporterstrust.org.uk or by post to HUST, c/o 40 Belmont Gardens, Hartlepool, TS26 9LS.

Want to vote by Post?

Get in touch with your details and we will send you a copy of the voting form for you to complete and return. Please allow good time to allow the form to reach you and get back to us.


Candidates Listed in Alphabetical Order:

Robert Boswell:

I have supported Hartlepool United since I was about 13 years old, even though I have lived all my life in London.  The first game I saw at the Vic was the FA Cup match against Crystal Palace.  I think my experience in attending this match epitomised Hartlepool United, in that having paid for my tickets by post, with a covering letter, explaining my visit, the tickets and my cheque for payment were sent to me, along with a covering letter hoping that I enjoyed the game with the compliments of the club.  This is just one example of Hartlepool United being a true “fans” club, which I am keen to perpetuate.

Whilst living so far away I am unsure of what part I can play on the HUST Board if elected, but I am keen to help in any way I can.  I do have previous experience in assisting the club from a distance, as for many years I gave my services voluntarily scouting for the club in London and the South East, firstly working with Mick Tait and then soon after working directly with Tommy Miller Snr.

On any occasions, when senior representatives were unable to attend matches in London, I have represented the club in Boardrooms, a role I undertook when Mr Hornsey was chairman, and continued when IOR purchased the club.  I believe that this demonstrates my professionalism, and the trust held in my at the time by the club, and demonstrates my ability to work constructively and cohesively with everyone in the football industry at all levels from scouts to Chairpersons.

In my professional career I works in social housing for over 30 years and have experience of managing staff, conducting meetings, giving presentations, writing papers for presentations at board meetings and attendance at Board meetings.

I hope my skills and knowledge would be beneficial to HUST.

Thank you.

Jo Grylls:

My love for Pools and a wish to see it become a sustainable and community orientated club led me to become involved with the Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust. I believe in the aims and goals of the Trust and I believe that all fans are an integral part of any football club, investing their time and money to follow their Team through thick and thin!

As Secretary from November 2016 until the present time, my role has been all about ensuring the smooth functioning of the Trust and associated administrative tasks, responsible for effective management of the Trust, seeing that the Trust’s business is conducted with probity, accountability and in accordance with its standards and regulations. Communication and liaison is a big part of the role, building relationships with the Club, community and other agencies and playing a key role in the dialogue between Supporters Direct, HUST and the Club.  I have been a conduit for beneficial relationships that have been formed with the Trust and have developed good relationships with other Trusts and many local community organisations, in order to strengthen our ties within the football and wider  community.

As my second two year term has come to an end I am now seeking re-election to the Board and will continue to do what I can to help promote the Trust, act in the best interests of our membership and to play my part in hopefully securing a positive future for our Town’s football club.

Ron Harnish:

Hello, my name is Ron Harnish, I have followed Pools since the late 1950’s, I blame my father, but I have been fortunate to have seen every promotion our club has had. Sadly, I saw the worst relegation any team could suffer too. A few years prior to that time we had a couple of close calls, so close in fact that it caused the fans to get together and form a  football community trust that I got involved in at that beginning and have been ever since.

While it has not always a bed of roses, I believe the trust has rode the waves and come out the stronger for it. I now think it’s a great time to push on and become even more involved with the club one way or another. The last two years have seen big strides by getting involved in lots of projects, either in the donation, organisation or volunteering side within them. As we are now in talks with the football club along with other supporter groups, a lot more involvement should be forthcoming and be better for the advancement of our goals.

I believe that our message is getting across as, despite our clubs position, we have maintained a healthy membership, and from this I would like to think we need to keep varying our ways to both keep ourselves in the limelight while helping the club at the same time.

Should I be lucky enough to be accepted onto the board, I will do my utmost to keep steering the group in the right direction, however, if I fail to do so, then I will still help in any way shape or form that is asked of me.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, onward and upward, never say die. Ron.

David Jolly:

My name’s David Jolly and I have been a fan of Hartlepool United since the 2002/03 season, when I was only ten – the halcyon days! When I was in sixth form back in the day, I followed the team home and away at proper clubs like Rochdale, Rotherham and Leyton Orient as well as the big hitters like Sheffield United and Wednesday; nowadays, I have to be content with an online stream. Moving on…

I initially signed up to HUST in 2017 when Pools were owned by JPNG and facing going out of the league, it was the anger of chancers being involved at our club which was why I signed up the Trust. A few years later and seeing the great work the Trust does, I now want to be as hands on as possible which is why I’m putting myself forward as a board member.

Due to my varied working background, I have developed many relevant skills that will be of benefit to HUST. I have worked in marketing and communications with a local council, customer service with an IT company, have previously appeared on the BBC Tees Fans Panel and have worked in project development as a part of the EA Sports FIFA team. Coincidentally, I also helped out part time with Pools’ academy as their video analyst and am therefore aware of the great work HUST does for the youth team and would be very proud to be a part of that.

Thank you for taking the time to read my statement and here’s hoping for three points on Saturday (and every other Saturday after that!)

Phil Larter:

I am nominating myself to stand for the Hartlepool United Supporters Trust executive board. I have experience of standing on the executive board for Lancaster University Society of History, where I served for two years. Firstly, I served as the society’s Publicity Officer. This meant I ran the social media campaign and advertised events or activities for the society. I also served as the Chairperson, where I was responsible for arranging general meetings and maintaining the Society’s constitution.

Presently, I work as a social worker. This means I am used to balancing a busy workload. I also have relevant experiences communicating with people during difficult times, making clear arguments with evidence and preparing official documents.

I have supported Hartlepool United since 2002, where I was lucky enough to have been caught up in a promotion season! I joined HUST on the way to the Cheltenham away match, when it was becoming clear our time in the Football League was endangered and the future of the club was at risk. It is clear from looking at other clubs with fan representation on their board, the only people that genuinely care about the sustainability of local teams like ours, are the supporters.

Paul Larter:

I am nominating myself to stand for election to the Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust board. As a lifelong Hartlepool United fan, the idea of a supporters’ trust was something which I had always been in favour of, and was early to join HUST once it had been established. When I joined HUST in 2017, the club was in dire straits and it looked as though the club might not survive to the end of the season, it was clear that fan representation was critical to the club’s future. I am still very strongly of the opinion that a supporters’ trust is vital to our club’s future success. Fans are a fundamental part of any football club, whilst the club is currently performing well on the pitch, and in safe hands off the pitch, having a strong trust can still be of great advantage to everyone involved with Pools. Recently HUST has shown that we are serious about investment and gaining a seat at the table, but we have also shown that we can support the local community – both things which may prove to be pivotal in the coming months/years.

I currently work as a mechanical design engineer, with experience as a project manager. Despite my age, I have plenty of professional experience communicating with people, be it through personal conversations, email, or attending/chairing meetings. An important part of my work is to put my thoughts and ideas forward to groups, and to argue for what I believe to be the best solution to a range of problems.

Nick McNaughton:

I have been a long standing season ticket holder for the club and have an understanding of not just the footballing aspect but the social and economic one it brings to the town. Preserving and protecting this is something I feel passionate about and being able to assist the Supporter’s trust in doing so feels like the right step.

I have a strong background in business and banking knowledge having graduated from Sunderland University in Events Managements and holding various positions in a high street bank. My current role in Operations see’s myself identifying areas of improvement, negotiating with stakeholders and drafting comms across the bank. These are transferable skills that I believe I can assist the Trust with.

During COVID, the need to protect our football clubs has been greater than ever and as a father, I want to ensure that Hartlepool United remains around to share with my son. The club has seen many failed / overpromised takeovers and by having fan involvement this adds a dimension of “screening” which can hopefully help mould the club.

Should I be successful, I believe the Trust could benefit from increased transparency with potential members through more basic communication messages. As there have been other fundraising efforts to assist the club (with others potentially on their way) a simple FAQ / Rumour Busting page could be launched on the site with clear answers to questions that forever hound the Trust i.e Why doesn’t the trust give money to the club directly etc.

Along with this I believe a “living manifesto” could be put on the website that is ever changing depending on internal and external factors. This would include short term and long term goals which can be shared with current and potential supporters.

As a dedicated Hartlepool fan, I believe the Trust is the correct organisation to protect the club’s interests and provide the framework for the future whatever may happen.

Julia Newton:

I would like to apply for selection to the HUFC Supporters Trust Board.

I have been a supporter of the Football Club for close to 40 years and a season ticket holder for a significant number of years. I also joined as a member of the Trust when it was set up and I fully support the ambition to work in partnership for the benefit of sustaining and developing a successful football club that benefits the town and the community. 

In addition to my passion for the club, I would be flexible about applying my wide range of skills that include strong people skills, good organisation, integrity and can be relied on to complete tasks. I have a background in finance and am currently working in Human Resources where I have gained extensive project management experience.

I am also willing to provide support to HUST events and have previously supported the Kick It Out campaign last year and sold raffle tickets after the 2019 charity match at Seaton Carew.

My husband ( a supporter for over 55 years) and I attend many functions held by both HUST and HUFC, and take up hospitality options with the club several times a year. We have built up a good network of friends at the club, both other supporters and club staff.

Although not living in the town I would make myself available for Committee meetings where possible but also understand that attendance via social media sites is also a possibility.

I believe I have some valuable skills to offer and would hope that my application can be successful.

Alastair Shepherd:

I first watched Pools back in 1984. I went with a lad from primary school whose dad is Alan Stephenson, then joint 1st team keeper/commercial manager – not an immediately obvious combination! I got to enjoy the glory days of 1991 and that kind of raw emotion and joy never leaves you despite thirty years of ups and downs since.

I’m currently a season ticket holder despite living in Liverpool and sit up in the NWC with my sort of Scouse daughter, also an avid supporter, watching together since she was five. It’s a real pleasure watching Pools with her because she just gets the enjoyment of supporting our beloved team without worrying too much about real difficulties in the background.

We’re incredibly lucky and thankful that Raj stepped in when he did but there are challenges ahead and I really believe that putting fans at the centre of decisions will stand us in good stead for years to come, to the benefit of both owners and supporters.

It’s proven time and time again that where fans have an understanding of decisions made and feel a sense of stewardship (rather than being treated as consumers), there are massive advantages; purely from a business point of view revenues increase but there is a real emotional loyalty.

Our club is blessed with loyal, passionate fans, whichever side of the ground they sit or stand and I’m putting myself forward because I would like to help with communication. I am a director at an architectural practice by day.

I do think there is misunderstanding of the role that supporter’s trusts can play and think HUST can have a really positive impact. Other groups offer much as well and it’s in all our interests to pull in the same direction. Not everyone has the same opinion about how to help the club but most fans just want the best.

Being an exile as well, I get the importance of the club to people around the country – that enthusiasm is there to tap into.

We nearly lost Pools a couple of years ago and we just can’t let Pools disappear. All fans need to make sensible decisions together to ensure the worst doesn’t happen. It’s not easy but if HUST can demonstrate some of the benefits of fan representation, then we will have a much more sustainable club by the time we get back to the league.

There are so many great memories for fans at our club and much future potential – let’s treasure it and make sure Pools are at the heart of our community for years to come.

Michael Weir:

I have been attending Pools for almost 31 years now and I hope that my son is now reaching the age where he will start attending with me, once fans are allowed back in the ground. I am a long-term HUST member as I strongly believe that fans should have a stronger voice, and I also believe that a Football Club should be at this heart of its community. It is also vitally important that HUST are prepared to be a safety blanket if current or future owners decide that they do not wish to be involved which is another reason why I am keen to remain involved.

In my two years on the HUST board I believe that I have helped develop the professionalism and profile of the Organisation, as well as helping develop a stronger relationship with the Football Club. I have contributed with effective ideas and delivery of activities such as the legends day event, and new ways of engaging with members and beyond.

I want to continue this work, and help develop others on the Board through a clear strategy that I have been working on to ensure that HUST is ready to support with any scenario that may arise in the future. I want to continue with some ideas I have that fall under our community remit, such as a diversity campaign, and also try and help the membership numbers grow.

If elected I will continue to promote the benefits of HUST and encourage more supporters to have the confidence and belief that fans of our great Club should have a formal voice, and that the Supporters Trust is the most suitable vehicle to help provide this.