FOUR years ago, Hartlepool United found themselves on the brink of extinction. They had a matter of days to find a buyer before being plunged into liquidation. Now, following Raj Singh’s takeover, the Pools chairman says that the club is in its healthiest financial position in over a decade.

Having been relegated to the National League under the ownership of Gary Coxall, who left the club days before their drop down to non-league was confirmed, Pools were staring down the barrel of extinction during the tenure of Pam Duxbury.

Singh’s reign has seen the club climb back into the Football League, where they consolidated their League Two position with survival last season.

During last season, the club received a significant financial boost through various avenues including payments from the EFL, prize-winning funds for runs in the FA Cup and Papa John’s Trophy and increased revenue from an average home attendance of over 5,000 supporters.

As the club wrestle with the decision of their next managerial appointment, following the dismissal of Graeme Lee, Singh feels they can continue to ‘push on’.

“The health of the club is the best its been for ten or 15 years” Singh told the Northern Echo. “Probably longer than that.

“We’re all proud of that and that’s why people behind the scenes are just as important as people on the pitch so we’ve got that into shape which is great and now it’s all about kicking on.

“I’ve said in other interviews it’s not always about giving ourselves a pat on the back. We need to push on.

“The fans have been brilliant and they will keep coming as long as we keep giving them the fix on a Saturday afternoon or a Tuesday night.”

Pools are in the ‘latter stages’ of their next managerial appointment, having drawn up an ‘exciting shortlist’, and are expected to make a decision in the near future.

However, Pete Wild won’t be heading to the Suit Direct Stadium after taking the reins at Barrow.

Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling was part of the consortium to take over the club back in 2018 alongside Singh. While he has been happy with the way Pools’ first season back in the EFL has panned out, he doesn’t want it to stop there.

“It is really important that the momentum keeps going” he said.

“The crowds have been absolutely fantastic, not just those who come to the Vic. The travelling support is absolutely incredible but it’s a balance as well.”

Stelling recalled the financial difficulties the club encountered years ago. He continued: “When Raj and I came into the club, we were in a situation whereby the first thing we had to do was get contracts sorted out because there was a wave of players all earning ridiculously large amounts of money and we were in a financial mess.

“The balancing act is you want to keep your best players but you can’t afford to get back into the situation where you are paying players more than you can afford.

“Otherwise, you get to the stage where we were, when we were effectively 48 hours from liquidation.

“That can never be allowed to happen again but of course it is about maintaining momentum as well.

“I thought we did that pretty well this season. From going up from the National League to this season. Plenty of momentum, plenty for the fans to enjoy. It was just the last few weeks wasn’t it? That was all.”