I want to start by thanking everyone who attended our Open Meeting on Monday, especially the guest speakers who gave up their free time to provide some insight into events at the club and where we go next, and also those who tuned in to the live feed.
We have listened to the feedback we had on the evening and after the event, and would like to update everyone on the various strands that we are working on.
We have decided as a Board to set up 3 sub committees to allow us to give extra focus in the following 3 Areas :
This will be headed up by myself and Jo Grylls. We are in ongoing dialogue with the owners regarding the sale of the club. As of today we are still being told that there are interested parties in negotiations to buy the club. As a Trust we continue to facilitate discussions between potential partners in a Consortium to buy the club, we are also doing our best to sell the positive aspects of the club to buyers. Unfortunately we cannot share all of the information we have, as a lot of what we have been passed is of a confidential nature.
One thing we have been told by potential investors, and I am sure Jeff Stelling will confirm this if asked at his Talk In, is that perceived division between the fans is becoming an issue. Our fan base is one of the main selling points the club can use. We are one of the best supported clubs outside of the Football League, and indeed our average attendance is higher than many League Two clubs. As we said on Monday night we do not all have to be friends, but we do have to present a united front. We accept it is only a small minority causing this division, however they are very vocal. Can we ask everyone again to please think very carefully when posting on Social Media and the Forums about what sort of image your comments might present to an investor.
All of the Trust Board are season ticket holders, almost all have day jobs, and they are putting a lot of their own time and effort into trying to save the Club.
This will be headed up by Andy Wilson and John Hawksworth, who will seek to increase contributions to the Fighting Fund. We appreciate that people have already contributed in January to the various campaigns, but we do need to build a pot of money to cover all eventualities. Should we be part of a consortium that buys the club we will raise a share issue for our contribution to the purchase price. However we will need money from the Fighting Fund to pay our share of ongoing running costs.
We have already formed a partnership with Hartlepool Media Group who will be assisting with promotional video content but would be happy to work with anyone who has ideas on how we can raise our profile and ultimately more money as long as they are not going to charge for their services.
This will be headed up by Richard Ward and Mark Dobson. Obviously this is the option none of us really want to think about, and it would naturally be a last resort, however as part of our Contingency Plan it is something we must think about now.
If we have to start again then the planning for that has to begin now. We have already been in dialogue with the Council and Local MP, the former has confirmed that the ground is not up for sale, and the latter is in the process of setting up a meeting for The Trust with the Councils Head of Regeneration. We are very reassured by what we have heard thus far. We have also been in detailed discussion with Supporters Direct about the practical implications of starting a new club. This is far from straightforward and if we had to start afresh in August then a lot of preparation needs to be done now.
This is NOT us saying we want to start a Phoenix Club, it is us saying it is a possibility we have to consider and the decision to liquidate the club would be something largely outside of our control. The timeframe in which we would have to register a new club after Liquidation is very short and for that reason we need to be prepared.
In closing I would like to thank all that have donated thus far, and would urge everyone to get involved in the campaign, even if it just means sharing details of what we are doing. This is not just about the 9 Board Members, it is about each and every one of us collectively working to keep our club alive.