Hartlepool United president and Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling has appealed to potential investors in a desperate attempt to save the struggling National League club.

Stelling and a Teesside businessman are understood to have a fund of £1.2m, but require an additional £600,000 to pay off the club’s debt and buy out current owner John Blackledge.

In an emotional plea on Wednesday, Stelling revealed that he fears “time is running out” on the team’s existence.

“We can’t afford to find ourselves in the same position 12 months from now, so we need sufficient funding in place to guarantee the club’s long-term future,” Stelling said.

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“Our money is there and waiting if we can find the extra funds. But time is running out. Though it breaks my heart to say it, I don’t believe the club can survive much longer. The club needs investment – and it needs it now.

“We have been working hard on this for the past couple of months, but we now feel we need the extra funding within the next week or it may be too late.

“I can’t bear the prospect of this club going to the wall. I just hope there are some wealthy individuals or businesses out there that may feel the same. The town would be forever grateful.”

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Hartlepool survived a winding-up order earlier this month after a fundraising campaign set up by a fan successfully paid off their outstanding tax bill.

The appeal raised in excess of £84,000, with football fans around the world contributing towards the effort of saving the club.

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