Darlington survive again. Well, two weeks at least.
Ego maniacs should be listed on FA’s “fit and proper persons” guide.
Many years ago I used to go and watch Darlington play during a stint of working in Thirsk.
That season (1990) they won promotion to the old third division and things were looking good for the Quakers.
Fast forward twelve years and the chairman builds a 25,000 seater stadium pompously bearing his name. The stadium had no hope of it reaching capacity due to local government regulations.
Unsurprisingly the loan interest repayments and stadium costs took the club into administration in 2003 after which they have made several Houdini like attempts to escape the liquidator again in 2009 and 2011.
Exactly the same thing has happened to my local club Telford where local businessman Andrew Shaw built a new stadium with grandiose plans for the future and promptly took the club into administration.
Telford , Incidentally is one of the largest towns in England without a football league club.
For Telford FC unfortunately there was no white knight riding to the rescue and the club was liquidated and expunged from the conference.
It took seven years of hard work from local business and fans alike to resurrect AFC Telford and get them back into the conference where they belong after having to start over in the Evo Stick league.
The day last summer when Telford finally won promotion to the Blue Square Conference will live long in the memory and is talked about often in my household. The game was a lockout with just short of 6,000 people willing Telford on.
Try telling me football isn’t the heart of the community.
What is galling for fans of clubs that slip into administration like Darlington and Telford is the lengths that ego maniac owners are prepared to go to see their name in lights.
Ripping the football heart out of a town or city for the sake of their own pitiful self promotion and damn the consequences.
I have empathy for Darlington fans and todays news that they have been granted a two week extension to find a buyer is only good news. Let’s hope that they can find someone who has the clubs interest at heart before they disappear.
If ever fans were needed to turn out in force then this is the time to do it.
Good luck against Fleetwood this weekend.