FORMER Darlington chairman Raj Singh is part of a consortium that is looking to take over at Hartlepool United.

Hartlepool fan Jeff Stelling has put together a consortium that is attempting to prevent Hartlepool from going into administration, and has previously talked of a “Teesside businessman” being involved in the group.

Hartlepool’s Supporters’ Trust have this morning confirmed that Singh is the businessman in question, with the former Quakers chief having offered to take the club off the hands of the current owners, Sage Investment, providing pre-existing debts are cleared.

The supporters’ trust are backing Singh’s plans, although they need to raise £600,000 to go alongside the £1.2m that has already been committed.

Singh’s time in charge of Darlington was hugely controversial as he was chairman when the club was plunged into administration six years ago.

Singh first became Darlington chairman in 2009, and was in charge when the club suffered relegation from the Football League a year later. He then put the club into administration midway through the 2011-12 campaign.

However, his period as chairman did include Quakers’ win at Wembley in 2011 in the FA Trophy final.

He tried to become involved with Darlington again last summer, with then manager Martin Gray supporting his offer to put £40,000 into the club ahead of further future investments. However, his possible return did not go down well with Darlington fans and talks broke down.

A statement from Hartlepool Supporters’ Trust said: “We have been in discussions with the Jeff Stelling led consortium and we can now officially confirm that in line with online rumours Raj Singh is indeed the Teesside businessman seeking to secure the consortium ownership of HUFC.

“Mr Singh has confirmed that an offer has been made to Sage Investments to acquire the club for no fee, with Sage Investment clearing their significant debts, (and therefore without interest payments accruing) and without any security held over the club by Sage.

“A performance related payment which would total a small fraction of the money owed to Sage would be made on the club’s promotion to back to League 2 and with another similar payment should we be promoted to League 1.

“There is an ongoing litigation issue within the club and without this being satisfactorily resolved then the consortium deal would not go ahead, however, those involved are confident that the matter would be closed to allow the take-over to go ahead.

“The £1.8m of funds required upfront would only be used to fund the running of the club as part of a three year business plan, and during that time the club would need to be structured to be much more sustainable.

“HUFC is currently a loss making club, and while cost cutting can be implemented and revenue streams improved, this takes time to achieve, and is complicated by reductions in both EFL parachute payments and Academy funding over the next two seasons.

“This take-over would leave the new owners of HUFC with as clean a slate as possible, however, for the offer to proceed to the next stage then the consortium does need to find £600k to add to the £1.2m that is already in place.

“Funds raised by supporters can be used to join the consortium via the Supporters Trust to give the fans direct representation in the running of our club and we can demonstrate to other potential consortium partners that we fans are committed to football in this town.

“We thank Raj for allowing us to give this additional detail today and ask all fans, whether HUST members or not to back our fundraising to support Jeff Stelling and Raj’s efforts to secure football in Hartlepool at the current level.”