‘About time’ – Hartlepool United manager welcomes Newcastle United takeover and comments on Sunderland and Middlesbrough
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor believes Newcastle United’s recent takeover ‘can only be a positive’ for football in the North East.
The past five years has seen all of the North East’s professional football clubs suffer the heartbreak of relegation – Sunderland have gone down twice in that time.
But the doom and gloom surrounding football in the region seems to be slowly but surely fading away in place of a more positive outlook.
After four years of financial uncertainty paired with non-league football, Pools are back in League Two and are looking toward a more sustainable future following a positive start to life back in the Football League.
Elsewhere, Sunderland are looking competitive towards the top of League One following their takeover last year and now Newcastle have become one of the richest football clubs in the world following last week’s takeover involving the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.
It’s easy to be cynical and bitter about rival clubs securing investment or having success. But, unlike many, Challinor has welcomed Newcastle’s takeover and the potential investment and increased profile that could come to the region as a result.
“People certainly from the local area would say it’s about time and you’d probably agree,” he admitted.
“I think the North East is an area that’s been starved of genuine success for some time and I think the supporters of all the clubs, and I include Hartlepool in that up until a few years back, have all become a little bit glass half empty, a little bit pessimistic, a little bit ‘we never get any joy’.
“There’s been shoots of optimism throughout. Thankfully from our perspective we’ve been really good on that and have probably got our success before Sunderland, who are a massive club and should never be in League One, who are now in a position where they look like they are going to compete and can get themselves back into the Championship.
“Middlesbrough is a tough one because they are in a brutal division with some massive teams and massive budgets. You can get lost in that league.
“The Newcastle stories that are breaking could completely change the horizon on what football up in this area looks like because of what the investment that could potentially come into them could do them.
"I’m sure with that you’ll see a completely different St James’ Park when they are there.
“I suppose it’s similar to what we’ve spoken about here, those supporters will feel they have the opportunity of getting their club back and their club being able to potentially achieve what they’ve all hoped for for so long.
“That can only be positive for the whole area. From our perspective, if it helps us a little bit then that will be fantastic.”
Down in League Two, Pools currently sit eighth after 11 games and are looking to consolidate their EFL standing after four years away. Progress is being made off the pitch too with plans to improve Victoria Park close to getting off the ground.