The coronavirus pandemic has hit all football clubs hard and the impact has been particularly huge at National League level. Pools haven’t avoided any of this and, as a result, the HUST board has been working hard to find a way of helping the club while strengthening the fans’ voice. On behalf of HUST members, we’ve been working closely with the club’s Acting Executive Director Martin Jesper to facilitate an equity investment scheme in HUFC. Seeking fan representation through a clearly-defined shareholder agreement has always been an aim for HUST, as it is for many Supporters Trusts across the country, and we believe we are now in a position to negotiate terms of an agreement with club Chairman Raj Singh. We’ve always looked to back Pools while getting Poolies a place at the table, now looks like the time for action.
We believe this is an exciting opportunity to offer financial support when the club needs it while ensuring that we take a step towards our long-stated goal of achieving the representation and access to information that goes with owning a substantial share-holding. We think many members feel the same as we already consulted informally earlier this year, once to request feedback on how HUST should look to support Raj Singh and Jeff Stelling through this difficult period, and then for views on a proposed equity participation scheme. We received a large number of responses, a big thank you to the many members who took the time to send us their thoughts, and the overwhelming feeling was to explore supporting the club financially, as long as any scheme was realistic, associated with some equity purchase, and came with recognised fan representation.
The HUST Board believe this sensible approach could greatly benefit fans and the club. We also recognise the need for any investment plan to be sustainable, meaning ongoing input from the existing investment reserve and through additional funds raised from supporters, the backing of whom is vital. Nevertheless, HUST is a democratic body and we can only go ahead with negotiating a clearly defined shareholder agreement for equity investment during the 2020-21 National League season, if a member vote backs the idea. We also need approval to start raising the appropriate funds to meet whatever target is agreed.
If the vote is ‘yes’ and ‘yes’
Consequently, on 7 September, following consultation with the Football Club, HUST emailed all members over the age of 16 to vote on two proposals. Members were asked if they support the HUST Board working with the club on a shareholder agreement and establishing the fundraising requirements entailed. Secondly, members were asked to vote on using a portion of the existing investment reserve to kick-start this equity investment scheme. Members have until 5pm on 16 September 2020 to respond. If the result is a ‘yes’ to both questions the work won’t be over. Through HUST, a nationally recognised, democratically run, financially regulated and properly constituted organisation, we’ll have the chance to own a part of what has always been, and always will be, our club. Whatever the future holds, our voices could be formally represented within the club’s management. That said, even if members do vote to take this opportunity and we secure an agreeable shareholder scheme, raising the necessary funds will not be easy and will require everyone who supports the initiative to work together. It’s a great chance to move forward with the club but there is still a long way to go.
We want as many Poolies as possible involved so if you aren’t already a HUST member and would like to join click here. If you’re reading this and wishing you hadn’t let your membership expire don’t worry. You can sign up and reactivate your membership for the renewal cost of £10 for 16-60 year olds and £5 for 60+. Simply use the ‘discount code’ RENEWAL when you sign up. If you are paying by an offline method just ensure that you pay the reduced amount. Lifetime membership is also available for £100.