Hartlepool receive a helping hand from the neighbours to stay afloat

first_imgNot that he is to blame for the problems. Twelve months ago the former chairman Gary Coxall appointed the admittedly experienced Dave Jones as manager. Jones won only three games, in effect ending Hartlepool’s 96‑year Football League residency.With the current reluctant owners, Sage Investments, wanting out, Pam Duxbury, the club’s chair, has endeavoured to clean up an awful financial mess before sealing the mooted sale. “The support, locally and from afar, has been overwhelming. I’ve learnt the huge pull this club has and how much people want to get involved,” says Duxbury, who stands by her decision to retain a large, fully professional squad rather than turning semi-professional.“Everyone expects the players to go out and give their all. But football’s a mental game and players have been affected by what’s gone on. Can they pay the mortgage? Can they pay the bills?“Our aim was promotion at the start of the season. I think everyone, players, management, will admit we should have done better. It’s been disappointing. We stayed full‑time, fully professional to gain an advantage over rivals. In hindsight we could have stripped everything back but then we’d have always wondered what if …”Providing the takeover really does happen, Hartlepool fans may soon dare to dream again. More importantly the club’s enduring power to pull visitors (both home and away fans) into the town will continue to boost the struggling local economy by as much as £10m a year. Crosses are falling in the Premier League: why the focus on target men? Sean Ingle Share via Email Most purchased a special match programme. Designed by David Carless, a local art teacher, its front cover depicted a Middlesbrough footballer holding out a helping hand to a Hartlepool counterpart. The pair were set against an abstract impression of a mountain of fans also linking hands as they supported each other during an arduous climb to the summit. An inspiring, evocative, image, it harked back to 1986 when a then deeply indebted Middlesbrough staved off the threat of extinction, partly thanks to their near neighbours lending them Victoria Park.With Hartlepool now the ones facing liquidation, financial support from Boro fans loomed large in a fund-raising initiative which has ensured that the wages of players and staff – totalling around £140,000 – will be paid on Thursday. Pinterest The cover of the match day programme which was designed by local art teacher David Carless. Photograph: Mark Leech/Guardian Facebook Share on Pinterest features Facebook Twitter Share on LinkedIn Pinterest Pinterest Share on Twitter If newcomers are initially underwhelmed by some rather drab architecture – not to mention a surfeit of bingo halls, fast‑food joints and working men’s clubs – they can hardly fail to be impressed by the town’s carefully restored Historic Quay and handsome Marina Development. The jewel in the crown is HMS Trincomalee, Britain’s oldest floating warship. On Saturday Wrexham supporters emerged from the waterside National Museum of the Royal Navy to gaze in awe at her as she sat serenely on a cobalt blue, deceptively calm North Sea.Built in Bombay, named – and first blooded – in Ceylon, HMS Trincomalee spent the 1800s variously helping quell riots in Haiti, stemming an invasion of Cuba and spearheading anti-slavery patrols. Those Hartlepool United fans who admire her from the Niramax stand every home game are evidently made of similarly stern stuff.center_img Maybe David Cameron’s “big society” does exist after all? It certainly seems to be alive and kicking in Hartlepool. A genuine sense of community, connectivity and cooperation filled the frosty streets surrounding Victoria Park as 3pm approached on Saturday and a bumper crowd of almost 7,000 filed in to watch Hartlepool United face Wrexham in the National League. Share on WhatsApp Twitter Hartlepool Middlesbrough supporters with collection buckets show their solidarity with the neighbouring club where Brian Clough cut his managerial teeth. Photograph: Mark Leech/The Guardian Facebook Twitter A fan proudly shows off his T-shirt; the Hartlepool fans in the bumper 7,000 crowd cheer their team on; Hartlepool fans put up a banner outside of the Mill House pub. Photographs: Mark Leech/Guardian Wrexham Topics Share on Facebook There is real optimism that the club where Brian Clough cut his managerial teeth will be under the new ownership of an unidentified local businessman by payday. After attracting too much tenuous interest from publicity seekers, club officials seem reassured by this mysterious Mr X’s insistence on anonymity and discretion until the deal is done. Encouragingly he has provided proof of funds amounting to £3m.If all proceeds to plan, one of his first tasks will be liberating the squad’s training kit from a local laundrette where it is being held hostage because of unpaid bills. Then there is the managerial situation to confront. Craig Harrison, a former Middlesbrough defender who left the Welsh Premier League side The New Saints to become Hartlepool’s 32nd successor to Clough, is floundering.Indeed Wrexham’s 2-0 win ensured the earlier air of camaraderie was soured when fans surrounded the home dugout at the end, calling for Harrison’s head. “Inexcusable”, “clueless,” and “unacceptable” were some of the politer assessments from fans exiting the Cyril Knowles stand as late afternoon temperatures turned distinctly icy. Those who have dug deep to leave Hartlepool on target to bank the £200,000 demanded to stave off administration appear slightly hurt by the team’s failure to rise to the occasion.Two goals from Wrexham’s Scott Quigley following badly defended counterattacks ensured that a team relegated from League Two last spring have won just one of their past 13 matches and are only six points above the relegation zone.“There’s disappointment and anger,” said Harrison, who is operating under a transfer embargo. “Again we conceded stupid goals at stupid times. It’s ridiculous.” Read more Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *