s members are probably aware by now, the police are investigating potential criminal activity at the football club. Over the last 4 or 5 months the HUST Board have released statements in relation to visibility of the clubs books in which we have pointed out that for legal reasons we could not go into great detail as to why these were not available. In fairness, Pam Duxbury has indicated to us for some time that this was a possibility, and unravelling all of the legacy financial activity at the club was proving very difficult.
When we met with Hartlepool M.P. Mike Hill two weeks ago, he promised us that he would raise the matter with the Police Commissioner so we are glad that we finally have confirmation that an investigation is underway. We hope, as I am sure all our members do, that the investigation is thorough, and that if any criminal activity is uncovered, that charges will be brought.
As a consequence , The Trust Board are now able to report that we have signed a non-disclosure agreement with Pam Duxbury and HUFC, allowing us to receive the club’s books to complete the due diligence process. Bound by the terms of the agreement, Nick Igoe, financial consultant to Supporters Direct, will prepare a report for the Board to allow us to gain insight into the position of the club’s finances both now, and as a projection until the end of the season. While we will be unable to fully disclose the information provided to us by the club and by Nick, the review is vital to allow us to appreciate how we can suitably move forward with the existing owners, potential new owners, and potential collaborators as part of a consortium, to sustainably secure the future of the club.
Nick Igoe has spent 27 years of his career as a Finance Director, of which 15 of those were spent at West Ham. Since joining Supporters Direct he has been involved with numerous projects for Supporters’ Trusts, and his extensive career in the football industry means he is ideally placed to review the financial information provided by the club on our behalf.
The most likely way of saving the club now would appear to be a Consortium led by a local businessman. We have had a face to face meeting with this man who we consider to be genuine and who shares our vision of creating a successful community club with fan involvement. We remain in contact with him via an intermediary, though will be looking to set up another meeting face to face hopefully as early as next week. We can assure members we are doing all we can to secure the future of Hartlepool United as a going concern.
Unfortunately there is no guarantee that the football club will be saved, until we see the books it is very difficult for us to gauge the true amount of money required to secure that. As we have stated within the last few weeks, the financial situation may well be worse than we had been led to believe. This means that we also still need to make contingencies in parallel in the event that the the club be liquidated.
Our conversations with the Town M.P. also saw us having discussions around securing rights for the Trust to operate a Phoenix Club from Victoria Park next season. This is a road we will only go down if we absolutely have to. Those discussions were very positive and we will be hopefully meeting with Mike again shortly and the Council in this regard.
All of our plans of course require funding, we will continue with our campaigns, and appreciate the support we have received thus far.