AS one of Burnden Park’s old lower league visitors, Hartlepool United, fight for their financial existence – a solution to their longer-term stability may lie in Wanderers’ hands.

Winding-up orders, courtroom battles and threats of administration are all-too fresh in the memory for Bolton’s faithful, many of whom will sympathise with Pools’ current plight.

As things stand, Hartlepool need to find £48,000 to pay an outstanding tax bill and avoid being wound-up in the High Court on March 21.

Impressive fundraising efforts, and a rally of local support for recent home games – including a 7,000 gate for the visit of Wrexham – have helped keep the wolves from the door to date. Administration has been considered and in another situation which echoes Wanderers’ recent past, local consortia have struggled to conduct proper due diligence because of the haphazard state of the club’s accounts.

It may surprise some to know, however, that Hartlepool have a link with the Whites which could help them restore financial stability in the long run.

Since 2012, The Bolton Wanderers Development Association has run Pools’ Goldline Lottery, raising £89,438 for the North East club.

Although the number of subscribers has fallen from a high of 540 to a current low of 230, more than £48,000 in prize money has been dished out, including 67 winners of the £500 jackpot.

In the past, Hartlepool have billed their Goldline Lottery as a way of helping fund their youth system but Andrew Dean – whose work with the BWDA has helped fund millions of pounds worth of projects at Bolton, including the £350,000 purpose-built dome at Lostock – believes it could be more valuable over time.

“Pam Duxbury (Hartlepool’s chairwoman) came down to see us recently and go through everything we were doing for them,” he told The Bolton News. “I think she was shocked at just how much had been raised.

“We have seen it ourselves at Bolton, when we came very close to going out of business in the 1980s, this is the kind of thing which can save a club.

“For every pound their members put in, 70 pence goes directly to the club, nearly 30p goes into the prize fund and a tiny amount into overheads.

“I have read about the money raised by Hartlepool’s supporters so far – people putting £5, £10 into a bucket and raising money through Just Giving and it’s great to see people rallying round. But what about next week, or next month? “For me there is no sounder solution than people signing up to pay one or two pounds a week over the whole year. If 1,000 people bought in for £2 a week you earn £74,000 a year and that could be the difference between keeping afloat and going under.”

The BWDA raise money which is invested directly into projects which benefit supporters and the team and lottery funds cannot be used to pay bills or wages.

Wanderers run lottery schemes for other football teams such as Rushall Olympic, Blyth Spartans and Lincoln United plus other sporting organisations such as Swinton Lions Rugby League Club, Colne and Nelson Rugby Union Club and Derian House Children’s Hospice.

It may be 25 years since the Whites last met Hartlepool in the league at Victoria Park – Scott Green and John McGinlay netting in a 2-0 victory – but events over the last few months have struck a chord with those who remember the lottery first being set-up at Burnden.

“Looking at the crowds Hartlepool have managed to get, with help from the local clubs like Middlesbrough, you can only hope there is a way out of this mess for them,” said Dean.

“If it does come off and they avoid the worst case scenario then the people of the town have got to be there for their football club.

“At Bolton the crowds were down at 3,500, the place was in the doldrums when Terry Edge and Alf Davies came up with the vision of making something sustainable. A source of funding which can be relied upon.

“It is great to get people to pledge money to help in the short term but Hartlepool have got to ask where they go from there?”