Money, Money, Money

BILLY'S CONTRACT remembers previous financial problems

Many Pools fans are concerned about what is happening behind the scenes at Hartlepool United in relationship to winding up orders and the rest. I always believed that a winding up order was near enough the death knell for a business or that the business in question was in some form of dire financial difficulties.

Gary Coxall has reassured supporters not to worry about these winding up orders which are no more than final notices to pay your bills. This begs the question as to why Hartlepool United find themselves in this position in the first place. Are they not in fact, paying their bills?

This, God bless them for all their sins, would never have happened on IOR's watch. It could have been an administrative error or an oversight that a bill or several invoices have not been paid to HMRC (Her Majesty's Recking Crew) but more alarming is that on at least one occasion the players and presumably the staff had not been paid, which suggests that the problems lie deeper than they actually seem.

Has the club run out of money and if so why and how has this cash flow problem occurred? Could it be that JPNG does not have the financial resources that IOR had. That nice Mr. Hovercraft estimated that IOR put near enough one million pounds per annum into the club just to keep it afloat.

I know it is only a rumour but they gather pace when no information is forthcoming, that the club have secured a loan of sorts to pay off their debts but not at the most favourable rates. I just pray that it is not Wonga that is providing the finances otherwise we would need to sell half a dozen Nathan Thomases just to cover the interest charges alone.

Other rumours abound about our new owners and some of the directors' track records regarding managing financial affairs. And we hear that the club is looking at buying the ground and redeveloping the surrounding area behind the Rink End. I'll level with you, I can't get my head around all of this it as it is all very contradictory but here's hoping that some of it will become clearer when Mr Coxall has spoken at the forthcoming fans' forum the week after this edition of the Bizz appears.
" he was curing the ill, restoring the sight of the blind and raising the dead just by looking at them"

Many supporters are, for obvious reasons, naturally concerned about the owners' motives for trying to buy the ground. It has been said that The Supporters Trust would be entitled to have the first option of purchasing the ground should the Council decide to sell it, but the question that begs is "Where would the Supporters Trust obtain the necessary funds/security to make the purchase?"

I have no axe to grind with Gary Coxall - he comes over well and says the things that people in the main want to hear but so did Garry Gibson. I recall one night at a packed working men's club in the town with over 200 Hartlepool fans crammed inside waiting/baying for Mr Gibson to address them and let them know about the latest financial crisis.

Prior to his arrival the atmosphere was so toxic that breathing apparatus was being issued to the punters. What people were going to say to him or do to him is not printable in these columns. It got to the point that many doubted that the chairman would turn up on the evening and that he would bottle it. I was genuinely expecting the headline in the following night's Mail to read: "Chairman Gibson lynched - 50 arrests".

Garry Gibson to his credit did turn up and boldly entered the bear pit (...or should that be beer pit?) at the appointed time. It was a bit like a Western when the baddie comes through the saloon doors. Everything and everybody went quiet - even the piano, or in this instance the space invaders machine.

Gibson took the stage and told the audience exactly what they wanted to hear and after his speech fought his way through the hordes with the words of the chanting Poolies ringing in his ears that there was only one Garry Gibson, One Garry Gibson. Poolies were fighting each other just to shake his hand or give him a backslap or get a blessing from the Great Man. As he made his way to the exit he was curing the ill, restoring the sight of the blind and raising the dead just by looking at them. He would have died of instantaneous sclerosis of the liver had he took up the offer of every free pint the fans were offering to buy to buy him on the night.

I confess I have never seen anything like it. It was like the second coming, and I don't mean Neale Cooper. It was like attending one of these evangelical meetings in the southern states of America. I was nearly convinced with everything Gibson said on the night but I took it with a massive dose of salt. Just as well as the club went 'pop' shortly afterwards.

I am praying that history will not repeat itself. I just cannot bring myself to visit Bamburgh Castle since, and I sincerely hope that Gary Coxall proves the doubters wrong and brings his promises to fruition. Only time will tell.

Quick, get me a Tardis!