HARTLEPOOL UNITED have become the first North-East club to make cutbacks with the football season on hold.

The club has this week paid off two staff directly involved in the football side of the club, one of them physio Callum Davidson, with another three non-football staff placed on notice of redundancy.

Matchday staff – which includes mascot H’Angus the Monkey – have been told they are no longer required.

Pools have been left with four home games outstanding this season, which will cost the club around £100,000 in lost revenue as attendances are on the up with Dave Challinor’s side impressing and improving amid hopes of a play-off push.

Not being able to launch season ticket sales for next season is also proving a financial problem and, with the uncertainty surrounding this campaign and next, Pools put all staff on a 20 per cent salary deduction, before informing three staff they were under threat and dumping two others.

The club earlier this season also made three staff redundant: two office members and the kitman.

Maguire said: “Matchday staff have been informed as they would be at the end of a normal season and that is normal close season stuff.

“Beyond that, in discussions with the chairman and board, we have to plot a way through this to make the club come out of very trying circumstances stronger.

“The impact of this will be long and wide ranging, with a recession beyond. We have to protect the chairman’s investment, review the whole business in terms of next season and get it to a level where it is sustainable.

“We have asked all staff to take a 20 per cent pay cut this month in order to help the chairman. It is unclear what help we will get from Government initiatives and, as we examine those, we have to be cautious to ensure the short-term is manageable.

“We are in the process of a whole review of the business to ensure it comes out as efficient as possible and that involves some tough decisions. Some people have had their jobs put at risk and that doesn’t mean there’s a conclusion – we have to review it to satisfy ourselves we are as efficient as can be going into next season.

“A couple of people have, unfortunately, had their contracts terminated.’’

The club posted a statement explaining their stance yesterday afternoon, but speaking to The Northern Echo, Maguire added: “There are two aspects to this – short-term challenge in an unknown crisis and making sure whatever we have next season, financially, we are as efficient as we can be.

“We assume worst scenario and we are in this league still and we can get to a level which the chairman is comfortable with in context of what may happen with the global economy.

“We still bear costs from the EFL and we work at that and have made significant cost reductions since the change of ownership, the chairman has still had to put huge funds in to keep it going and will have to for the foreseeable future.’’

While Victoria Park is, in lines with Government advice, in lockdown, the decisions could leave the club with little to no staff on their books when football resumes.

“It’s a horrible situation to be in,’’ said Maguire. “There is a commitment from the chairman to support the club financially, but at a level he is comfortable with.

“If, a big if, the Government help announced is forthcoming, would be have confidence to navigate through it? Without that support, the chairman remains committed to navigating through that.

“We have to act as if it will cost him rather than getting Government assistance. Short-term I am really confident of getting through it, but through the other side we have to be secure and reasonable

“The chairman has put an awful lot of money into the club, this season and last. The challenge next time is to bring his levels down, while protecting the club.

“His involvement continues at a reasonable level, while being competitive. He doesn’t want to be sat 16th in the table, so we have to have a business where we are trim on one side while maintaining a competitive challenge on the other.

“It’s a delicate balance, we have some really good people who have had their jobs put at risk and that’s a tough situation. We have to secure the continuity of the club and the biggest concern now is the uncertainty.’’

Ian Macrae, the club’s former technical manager during the years the club was ran by IOR, has died in Scotland following an illness.