Hartlepool have approached Newcastle United to see if they will play the cash-strapped club in a fundraiser.

An exclusive in the Hartlepool Mail says that the National League side would like to host a friendly game at Victoria Park and have asked their Premier League near neighbours about the possibility.

The postponement of the Spurs match on Friday 16 March means that taking into account the international break, the Magpies will have no football for three weeks.

Newcastle home to Southampton next Saturday (10th) and then not playing again until Huddersfield visit St James Park on Saturday 31 March.

At his pre-Liverpool press conference on Friday lunchtime, Rafa Benitez admitted that he was already considering the possibility of playing at least one friendly game during this enforced three week break.

However, he appeared to be thinking  more about somewhere abroad with a perceived lack of opportunities closer to home, with ‘other teams’ in the UK already playing.

Whether Hartlepool would fit the bill is an unknown – certainly it would mean Rafa wouldn’t have to take his squad travelling, though one question mark would be whether he would see the National League side being of a good enough standard for a decent workout.

One other problem is that no doubt the Newcastle boss was probably looking to fit a game in on that weekend of Saturday 17 March but Hartlepool are away at Fylde that day, plus they are home to Bromley the following Saturday.

However, the cash-strapped side have no midweek matches so those slots would be a possibility.

With Newcastle having minimal international players (unless maybe a surprise but welcome call up for Jamaal Lascelles?), it could mean a more or less full first team would be available to play Hartlepool if something can be arranged.

Their financial state is so dire and it would be great if Rafa and Newcastle United saw this as a plan that would work for both clubs.

Rafa Benitez asked about the three week gap with no matches:

“We are already analysing that.

 “We would like to play, maybe, a game, but the (other) teams are playing.

“And then we would like to stay here, but then maybe we have to go and move around, so you can guarantee you can play a game.

“We are working on that now.

“Still early – but we’re working on that.

“We want to continue playing competitive games so we can be sure everybody has match fitness.”



  • Danimal

    Rather than go there and pick up the inevitable injuries, couldn’t the club just make a donation? Just to clarify for the benefit of our glorious leader, that’s a donation, not a loan. I’m sure our fans would top it up with a collection at the Southampton match or online.

  • ghostrider

    If a club cannot sustain itself then there’s no point in it being a professional club.
    Set Hartlepool up with an investor and run it in a proper manner, without begging for outside help, or simply go amateur.

    This might sound harsh but it’s logical, because bailing out a club just to sustain it for a short while is not going to do much for it if nobody is willing to save it.

    Jeff Stelling is a big name and an ardent fan who is president. I’m sure he could attract investors if he really wanted to.
    It appears that he’s trying so let’s hope he puts his money where his mouth is.

    I’d say the same about any club. If it cannot be sustained then contingency plans have to come to the fore. It’s pointless trying to stay on a rung of a ladder if the rung is about to break and yet the next few rungs up are gone. You basically have to step down to the rung below and below that if necessary, until such a time that the rungs are put back in place for a firm step up.

    I’d love to see pools get taken over, of course but as long as it’s long term and not a fly by night issue.

    • Danimal

      Agreed, any substantial donation needs to be used properly. I think every effort should be made though. I wouldn’t want to see another north east team disappear from the map, following Darlington and Gateshead (although those two are showing some signs of life). Too many Jonny come lately clubs from Home Counties commuter areas coming in to replace the traditional northern clubs for my liking!

      • ghostrider

        Yep, we don’t get many favours in the north east.

      • Whickhamrobbie

        what do you mean following Gateshead ? .We have been a club playing the lower leagues yes but were never in darlo,s or the hangers state .
        We nearly made the league through the play offs a few years back and we will return trust me.

        • Danimal

          I hope you’re right, I was disappointed when they just missed out in 2014. I meant they have had a tough few decades since departing the football league. Hope they can get a proper ground to call home. Surely could support a league team if they had that.

          • Whickhamrobbie

            just a few decades .we were voted out in 1966 for Peterborough but a league return is a tough ask on our poor crowds ( in numbers not in passion) .
            Alas the ground will never happen so we are stuck at the moment but Stevie is doing ok and a trip to wembley is not far off now .

    • Andy Mac

      It does sound harsh because we have no idea how much money has been invested wisely in their club and how much has been siphoned off ? It is arguable that we’re a sick club right now even though Fatman keeps the books balanced. Do we deserve to go down and down ?

  • Ivan

    Play the game at home and give them the gate receipts minus costs, Our Mike would surely agree

  • Lhc

    ‘If Rafa see it as a good enough workout or standard’ it’s not about that imo it’s about helping Hartlepool out. It’s a workout it’s 90 minutes like any other football match, let’s help them out eh!

  • GToon

    We should help them. No ifs, no buts. Help them. In the future it would create a link between the two teams. The North East needs it’s football. They are a good club who hold us in high regard too – check out their comments in the book “United, the first 100 years”.

  • Mxpx

    I’d love to help them out… Bit worried that we’ll get battered by them. Still as long as no monkeys are harmed then we should have a game with em maybe bring back steve Harper for a testamonial to give it some profile as hes from hartlepool

    • Geordiegiants

      Steve Harper is from Easington.

      • Andy Mac

        Nearer Pool than SJP though GG ?

  • Andy Mac

    I’d love to help them out too but wonder if Rafa’s safety first strategy might make us second favourites on the day ? Still there’s no trophy or points involved so we should be able to play with freedom even if we park the bus away ????