Date:Wednesday January 18 2006
Hartlepool Borough council have responded to this afternoon’s statement on the official club website with comments made in the Hartlepool Mail newspaper. Councillor Stanley Fortune who is the chairman of a specially assigned team named the Hartlepool United executive committee told the Mail:-
'We thank the club very much for its offer, but after careful consideration we have decided to decline it.
There is the potential for significant redevelopment of the area around the Victoria Park ground in the future, but exactly what that could entail is unlikely to be clear for some considerable time. For example, we would need to consider future uses of the Mill House Leisure Centre site in Raby Road if the proposals for an H2O Centre become a reality and Mill House is replaced by a new water sports centre at Victoria Harbour.
In the light of this, we felt that any decision to sell the land would clearly be premature, and we hope that the club will understand the council's position.'
Who’s right, who’s wrong? Is it that simple? Well no it’s not really, there have been many well documented cases of football grounds being bought and sold with the best interests of the clubs involved not taken into consideration.
From an outsiders point of view it is difficult to pick the bones out of this story, whilst most Hartlepool United fans would never have a word said against the club’s owners, the need to purchase the ground is seen by some as concerning. We are already dependant on the money IOR invest in the club year on year; perhaps having the council retain the ground lease is not such a bad thing in the long run.
When all is said and done though I really do hope both parties can work together to continue to improvements we have seen in recent years, this is after all ‘the town’s club’.
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