We are alive
by Scott Thornberry - 18th August 2012
In January of this year our football world was once again turned upside down as yet another owner chucks the towel in after being unable to make the club work financially. As fans I think we all knew that this could be the end, we could not keep on going into administration every other year and in the current economic climate there are not that many people willing to gamble with their cash.
I sit here thinking of what to write and am starting to feel sorry for myself, but self pity will not get us anywhere. We have been smashed in the face by so many over the last decade or so, and in typical darlo fashion, just when something comes along and lifts you up off the ropes and gives you an energy drink (wembley) bang, Darlington FC are given the knockout blow.
Darlington fans and football fans around the country have been fantastic. I will always remember one saturday morning heading to the bank on High Row to pick up the first £8000 that fans had donated for the players who had not been paid by the club. Due to paypal issues I could not get the money to my account fast enough so "borrowed" the £8k from my mortgage. So the situation was normal fans had donated thousands of pounds, I had borrowed money on my house, all to donate money to football players who were not being paid. So guess what landed at my door that morning? Yet another solicitors letter threatening all sorts of action. It really shows the difference in humanity between people. I know I can sleep at night happy in the knowledge that I have not upset anybody, not tried to inflict worry on others and tried to make a positive impact on the world we live in.
But for all of our fight I do feel that we have gained very little, infact in some ways I feel we have lost as I really don't see what we have gained apart from a club crest and the players debt. But hindsight is a wonderful thing and at the time we would not really have believed that the FA would have treat us so disgracefully.
So much time and money was poured into those dark days of January, so many meetings, so many fund raising hours put in. I will be honest, it drained me, the whole DUFF administration, the picking up of thousands of pounds in brown envelopes, the mortgage money, the solicitors letters from various owners (what is it with legal letters to Uncovered eh?).
I remember having a conversation with Craig McKenna about he DUFF investment. The whole Darlo Uncovered Fighting Fund raised over £22k in the end, and on this particular occasion I was being asked whether I would be willing to transfer the DUFF fund into CIC. I couldn't really understand what it was all about, I was actually in the back of a hire car in Essex somewhere and the signal kept going. But I agreed to invest, the reason? Because the whole purpose of DUFF was to save Darlington Football Club, nothing else. It was not go towards creating a phoenix club or any other project. It was solely for DFC. The 1883 option was our only path and for that reason we had to follow that route. But we did not find a rainbow at the end of the path and we now find ourselves in the position of Northern League and homeless and some outlets calling us Darlington 1883.
But we now own our club, we now run our club and we can now rebuild our club for future generations. We don't want to be a massive club, premiership in five years crap. We want to be a small town club with a nice neat and tidy ground which could take us back to lower league football. We can do this but it is going to take time so lets hope we are all patient.
I am slightly nervous of this afternoons game but at least I have a game to go and watch. I hope you all enjoy the match and thanks to all who have helped out financially over the last 8 months and all who have donated their time to keep the Darlo project rolling on.