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‘Football Clubs are for life not just Business’

By Updated on Jan 19, 2012   5016 views   2 comments
Mark's Your Man - ‘Football Clubs are for life not just Business’
‘Football Clubs are for life not just Business’

On the 18th of January it had to be the most emotional and roller-coaster of emotions I have had in such a short space of time during my life. As some of you may know my club Darlington F.C (I support united as well yes) for the last 9 years has been in administration 3 times, we have only won one cup in my lifetime (last year), but its mine and the citizens of Darlington’s club. Prior to today Former players such as current Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale has been raising money to give to the club fund. Such generosity by certain forum board members gained something like five or maybe eight thousand pounds in 24 hours. The fund is located here (at top of page) if anyone was wondering.

Even with the administration the support was almost like a banding as brothers in the fans, although personally I was unable to attend any of the games due to my broken leg, due to being hit by a car in early December, and inability to travel due to leg and university. But the cry from our players to keep the club going such as captain and young lad (well older than me) Jamie Chandler.

Also the Barrow fans made a banner as our youth team playing as Darlington F.C (due to them being funded by the Government and not the club) lost 3-0 to them, it shows the insight that football fans have for our situation:

‘Football Clubs are for life not just Business’

The players on Monday had been sacked due to the fact Darlington F.C has no money to give them.

The shining light in all of this has been Craig Liddle the Manager of the Youth Team primarily, who took over as caretaker manager back in October. He was the last staff member to be sacked, but yet he still worked with the youth players for free. His talks with radio shows like 5 live sport as well as countless interviews showed what a Legend he is at Darlington F.C.

I had just finished a morning Lecture at University, and sat down 30 minutes before I was set to meet my student group members to get some work done, and I checked immediately to see if anything had happened since 3 am the same day.

As I scanned through the forums a deal had looked unlikely especially seeing as though our last Chairman who put us admin before this one (hated by the club’s following because it cost us promotion from league 2) came to ‘try and save the club’, later that day he said no and there is nothing left there and it is doomed. (This was 2 days or so prior). So I put the radio on and stuck my headphones in as I was glued and frozen to my seat. My group members came in but I didn’t do anything but listen. They noticed my nervous and fairly frantic status, so I told them the situation, they laughed and said it’s just a football club. Many people do not understand that

• 18 years of your life
• the ups and the downs
• its my club,
• it may be blue square premier but its my club
• I am football crazy and a die hard fan

Anyway I waited with anticipation for an hour until the deadline to see if Darlington would be saved, with rumours and inklings of no progress, including our M.P removing herself from Prime Minister’s questions to meet with our ex-chairman. The News came in Darlington F.C was no more, I died a little bit insider as I heard of twitter messages by the youth team telling of their contract termination. I was teary but composed myself as messages came in from the fans..... Then suddenly a message came as what can be described as a ‘is this real?’ moment:
‘John Foster from BBC Tees had text me the night before to see if I would be available for a chat around lunchtime, no problem. So there I was in Sainsburys in Durham and the phone goes. I was put on hold and listened to Mark Drury who was at the ground explaining what had happened. The players had been informed the club was going to be liquidated, my heart sank. Then all hell broke lose, well I don't mean hell but all I could hear was Mark Drury saying that a car had just raced up to the front of the stadium and two men were banging on the front door. There were muffled noises and then I could hear Shaun and Doug from the DFCRG shouting that they had the money and they can't close down the club.’

(Taken from Uncovered)

*DFCRG-is a rescue group of local businesses people in the area all wanting to save the club

I was like please don’t be a wind up as my emotion’s changed dramatically I celebrated with the non-caring students. The details came in: as well as the supporters trust donating money and the rescue group an individual fan from overseas had apparently given Darlington F.C £150,000 to continue running.

This meant that Darlington F.C could last till the end of January until a buyer is found, this includes 3 more games, 2 of which are home games, I will attend the last of the 3 and hopefully not my last one. This has been an emotional day to say the least.

Here is uncovered guys point of view:

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Discussion: ‘Football Clubs are for life not just Business’

2 comments have been posted so far.

  • _Man_u_barmy_army_'s avatar
    I always find Darlington to be too much of a backwards struggle which along with my policy of not picking the same team each fm. As do I especially with the huge support this last few days attendance wise. Yes hopefully the game against York should be a good atmosphere as I heard the last one was.
  • ToonForever's avatar
    Darlo is my favorite lower league club. Every new version of FM I get I start a Darlo save. It was a pain in the butt to get my shirt about 4 years ago, but I got it. It is heartbreaking to watch this rollercoaster ride and be powerless to do anything about it :( I hope we find a buyer - but we have to find someone with vision and a plan for the future.

    Honestly, we have to find another place to play too. We've got to get out of that arena somehow. Here's hoping. Thanks for this update.
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