With Hartlepool back in the Football League and succeeding under the management of Dave Challinor on their return, the Hartlepool board want to power ahead with plans to re-develop Victoria Park.
Eighth in League Two, on-field success is yet to be met with positive news off-field.
Before Hartlepool clinched a return to the EFL, the club and council got together and agreed a large-scale plan to improve Victoria Park in the near future.
Speaking with The Hartlepool Mail, Raj Singh commented on this memorandum being signed back in June and a frustration at plans not moving ahead quicker: “The memorandum of understanding was signed four months ago but progress since then hasn’t been as quick as either party would have hoped for. In the meeting we emphasised the fact there is some real momentum with the club at present and that collectively we cannot waste that momentum or opportunity.”
These plans would see Victoria Park gain a well-needed expansion, with Pools supporters this season packing out their home ground. With one of the better home records in the division to date, a sell-out could well be on the horizon. After many years in the abyss – routinely middle of the pack in the National League – the impatience from the Pools hierarchy is justified. They cannot let this moment pass whilst the club is on the up.
Singh spoke of the importance of securing this new development project, stating: “It’s vital that we build on the progress the club has seen in recent times and keep the development project moving forward each month. We cannot stand still and I think we as a club have shown our drive, ambition and credibility to deliver things over the next few years.”
With a few tough fixtures ahead for Challinor’s men – trips to Bradford and Leyton Orient hard asks – Hartlepool might not be achieving a back-to-back promotion anytime soon. But, with the club eighth in a division that has bypassed them in recent years, Challinor can deliver a comfortable mid-table position for Hartlepool.
Having a new and improved stadium would match this on-field success, a step in the right direction for all involved.
Singh concluded with a cry to the council to get the ball rolling again, to deliver an idea that’s been in the pipeline for too long: “We really need the council to work with us and collectively I’m confident that we can deliver something fantastic for the club, the town and the region.”
A passionate region of the country for football supporters – with Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle alongside Hartlepool in that little pocket up North – the time is there for Hartlepool to excel. With a passionate backing also – 5,522 packed into Victoria Park for their 2-1 win over Northampton Town – any disenchanted Pools fan has changed their mind.
For Hartlepool’s sake, let’s hope this isn’t one of those development plans that never come into fruition. After years of little to no success, it would be great to see Hartlepool expand and reach new heights.