FootballOpinion

Legacy Issues – How Hartlepool United Made it to the Brink

News emerging over recent weeks have revealed that Hartlepool United have some major financial issues to overcome in the next few weeks. Ian King of TwoHundredPercent.net has a good summary of Hartlepool United’s situation. As a fan I’ve a few more things to add.

First of all, a bit of recent history. Going back years Pools were owned by IOR, an Aberdeen-based oil company who subsidised the club’s finances. The spending was never anywhere near as much as al Fayed at Fulham or Whelan at Wigan, who were in the lower leagues around the same time, but enough to help compete with Cardiff, Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City etc.

IOR’s motives seemed to use Pools as corporate entertainment (showcasing their business skill in the process) and as a tax write-off (Pools made losses of around £1m a season under their leadership despite going up and down divisions, which seems too steady to be coincedental.) The impression grew over time that IOR had gotten bored of Pools, and were happy for us to tread water. There was disaffection with them long before they sold the club.

A deal was initially struck for the club to be sold to Stephen Murrall and Peter Harris (known as The Monkey Hangers 2014 – a business set up for the purpose of buying the club). Gate money was transferred into their accounts during the transitional period before the formal takeover, which led to the deal collapsing. In financial terms this is classed as ‘self-dealing’, and was one of the reasons that they were later jailed.

Continue reading “Legacy Issues – How Hartlepool United Made it to the Brink”

FootballOpinion

Last Week’s Week, Brought To You This Week

I’ve just completed writing the latest Lower League Week for BornOffside and, after filing it for editing, I realised I’ve not linked to last week’s edition.

The main stories are news and opinion of Swindon and Cheltenham being defeated in the FA Cup; Hartlepool’s excellent form; Gillinham appointing a permanent manager; Shaun Derry retiring from playing to focus on management; Port Vale banning their local paper from covering their matches; Carlisle taking released criminal Courtney Meppen-Walter on trial; and mascots solemnly observing minute’s silences while smiling gleefully.

Imagine this guy with his head bowed trying to be dignified, and tell me that wouldn't be funny/creepy.
Imagine this guy with his head bowed trying to be dignified, and tell me that wouldn’t be funny and/or creepy.

Click here to read The Lower League Week – Port Vale Battle The Sentinel

FootballOpinion

Look! A Lower League Week!!

Going up tonight, the latest Lower League Week, covering events in Leagues One and Two, is now live.

Northampton have had a surprisingly bad start to League Two given their playoff finish last season; Hartlepool and Carlisle have their first wins of the season; Sheffield United are struggling in League One; I’ve covered the latest, (relatively) mundane developments for Coventry; Leyton Orient can’t stop winning even if they wanted to (though I assume they don’t); Notts County can’t win at all; and there’ve been a load of goals in League One, now officially* the best league in the world.

*It’s at least as official as Sky Sports’ insistence that the Premier League is the best league in the world.

Goals! Everyone loves goals!
Goals! Everyone loves goals!

So how can you say no to all that? Be honest, you can’t, can you?

Click here to read Lower League Week: Northampton Are Cobblers And Sheffield United Still Blunt

FootballOpinion

This Fortnight in Football

I wasn’t able to get a Lower League Week finished last week, so earlier this week a Lower League Fortnight went up.

born_offside_green

It covered Celtic’s offers for Peterborough’s Lee Tomlin; some other interesting late transfer window action; Hartlepool’s 5-0 win over Bradford and the context to explain why this was so bizarre; Bradford bouncing back with a 4-0 win over Brentford; Tom Pope opening his account for the season; Greg Abbott being sacked by Carlisle; Sheffield United’s new Saudi Arabian owners; Coventry winnin to cancel out their ten point deduction; and the huge figures Portsmouth owe to their former players.

Click here to read The Lower League Fortnight – Pay Up Pompey

FootballOpinion

Goals Galore for Coventry and Peterborough

Today at Bornoffside.net, the latest Lower League Week is up.

Carlisle’s results this weeks have been less bad than previously; Bradford’s Nahki Wells has broken a club scoring record; There’s been lots of goals for Coventry and Peterborough but few for Hartlepool; Wycombe have had a double financial boost; Mark Cooper has started well at Swindon but still has a few problems ahead.

Peterborough are binging on goals - any chance one or two could be spared for Hartlepool?
Peterborough are bingeing on goals – any chance one or two could be spared for Hartlepool?

Plus, there’s been a few upsets in the second round of the League Cup.

Click here to read The Lower League Week – Posh Peterborough Slaughter the Royals

FootballOpinion

Wolves v Blades… And a Tale of Two Coventries. Coventrii?

Today my latest Lower League Week went up at BornOffside.

It featured stories on Wolves trying to clear out unwanted players so that they can take a star player from Sheffield United, one of their rivals; Exeter have decided to expand their fanbase by appealing to Brazilians; Walsall have started surprisingly well and Carlisle surprisingly badly; there’s some brief thoughts on Hartlepool; and two different versions of Coventry City were playing at ‘home’ at the same time on Sunday.

We have a saying here in England - home is where the dangerously amateurish and visually repulsive DIY is.
We have a saying here in England – home is where the dangerously amateurish and visually repulsive DIY is.

Basically, it’s just another ordinary, bizarrely colourful week in the lower leagues!

Click here to read Lower League Week: Wolves at Sheffield United’s Door

FootballOpinion

Hartlepool United’s Summer

First proper post for a while, after last Sunday’s… thing.

With the football season upon us, writing for the excellent We Are Going Up, I’ve expressed my thoughts on Hartlepool United’s hopes for the new season.

I expect Hartlepool to win the World Cup, and win the league with a kajillion points.
I expect Hartlepool to win the World Cup, and win the league with a kajillion points. I’m an optimist.

Having started last year in a shambolic manner, and built up a functional but uninspiring team over the course of the season, it’s difficult to say whether Hartlepool fans should be quietly optimistic or expecting things to fall apart.

Click here to read Teamwork The Key for Pools