Quakers coming home to Darlington - if funds can be found

Darlington and Stockton Times: Mike Wilkinson from Darlington Rugby Football Club, Martin Jesper from Darlington football club, MP Jenny Chapman, Dave Mills from Darlington Football Club, Ian Wilkinson from Darlington Football Club and Coun Bill Dixon. Mike Wilkinson from Darlington Rugby Football Club, Martin Jesper from Darlington football club, MP Jenny Chapman, Dave Mills from Darlington Football Club, Ian Wilkinson from Darlington Football Club and Coun Bill Dixon.

A LANDMARK legal agreement that could see Darlington Football Club return to its hometown after two years in exile has been signed.

The Quakers have signed a memorandum of understanding with Darlington Rugby Football Club that will set the two teams on the path to sharing the rugby club’s Blackwell Meadows site from next season.

But the football club has warned that it is still facing significant financial challenges and needs to raise thousands of pounds if it is to make it to the end of the season and for the return to Darlington to go ahead.

Martin Jesper, chief executive of the football club, admitted that the club’s finances are “extremely stretched” and that without a “huge” fundraising effort by fans the agreement may not come off.

Darlington FC has spent two years in groundsharing with Bishop Auckland FC at Heritage Park, but the costs associated with that agreement, and a drop in crowd attendances this season, mean that a move back to Darlington is now urgent.

Details of the exact amounts needed and the timescales for the fundraising at Darlington FC are expected to be announced by the club early next week.

Senior figures at both clubs have hailed the agreement as an opportunity to each become more sustainable and to create a hub for team sports that will serve Darlington and the Tees Valley.

Mr Jesper said: “We need money to get to the end of the season because our finances are extremely stretched. In order for this groundsharing vision to happen in September, first the club has to exist. We will be fundraising to keep the club viable.

“The club has survived on the good will of the fans but there are lots of costs associated with being at Bishop Auckland. Without a huge fundraising push next week this may not come off.

“Being back in Darlington will help the off-field side of the football club.”

The memorandum of understanding sets out the terms of future discussions on the practicalities of a groundshare at Blackwell Meadows, which lies off Grange Road, on the outskirts of town.

Tony Stowe, secretary of Darlington Rugby Club, said: “We’ve had a vision to turn this corner of Darlington into a community sports hub.

“Adding the football club to the rugby union and league and amateur football we already have will mean it continues to develop.”

The scheme has won the backing of Darlington Borough Council, which will help with planning and car parking arrangements, and Darlington MP Jenny Chapman.

Ms Chapman said: “I see this as another milestone on what has become a very long journey. It’s a positive step and I’m pleased that the two clubs have a shared vision for sport in Darlington.”

Council leader Bill Dixon said: “It is fantastic that the football club is returning to play in Darlington. In terms of sustainability it’s got to be a win-win for both clubs.”

Comments (21)

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3:17pm Fri 13 Dec 13

andygib263 says...

How much do we need? When by? What incentives are there for non footie fans to contribute? Any detail likely to ever be released?
How much do we need? When by? What incentives are there for non footie fans to contribute? Any detail likely to ever be released? andygib263

3:31pm Fri 13 Dec 13

behonest says...

andygib263 wrote:
How much do we need? When by? What incentives are there for non footie fans to contribute? Any detail likely to ever be released?
"The new fundraising initiatives will be rolled out shortly.”

I think this means that they will shortly be rolling out the initiatives in respect of new fundraising.
[quote][p][bold]andygib263[/bold] wrote: How much do we need? When by? What incentives are there for non footie fans to contribute? Any detail likely to ever be released?[/p][/quote]"The new fundraising initiatives will be rolled out shortly.” I think this means that they will shortly be rolling out the initiatives in respect of new fundraising. behonest

4:13pm Fri 13 Dec 13

behonest says...

Here's an initiative for 2014/15:

Assuming the layout/seating of Blackwell Meadows can accommodate it, why not introduce a higher-priced ('executive'?) season ticket? In addition to £225 for an Adult Main Stand season ticket (which gives you a good seat and good view of the match), introduce a number (100?) of 'Executive' season tickets which gives (for example, and just my suggestions) a better seat, easier access to bar and toilets, soup or/and a sandwich plus drink at half-time, etc. Make it an affordable option for an individual fan, who is happy to pay more for a better service, but doesn't want the player sponsorship, company logo's, pre-match photo's, and all the rest of it that goes with many of the corporate packages.

Obviously the club needs to make money out of it, so the value of the 'extras' needs to be lower than the extra price charged for the ticket, so the 'extras' will need to be considered, but you could perhaps charge £375 (?). I'm sure there'll be at least 100 fans who would like to be 'Executive Season Ticket Holders'?

All the 'big' clubs do it. It may not be suitable at Evo-Stik level but just a thought. And I do think, with Darlo being one of the biggest non-league clubs, that it could work. Especially if the move back to Darlo can coincide with promotion to the Premier League! But if it's been tried before, and failed, then fair enough. I think they're running a similar package now, but on a per match basis?
Here's an initiative for 2014/15: Assuming the layout/seating of Blackwell Meadows can accommodate it, why not introduce a higher-priced ('executive'?) season ticket? In addition to £225 for an Adult Main Stand season ticket (which gives you a good seat and good view of the match), introduce a number (100?) of 'Executive' season tickets which gives (for example, and just my suggestions) a better seat, easier access to bar and toilets, soup or/and a sandwich plus drink at half-time, etc. Make it an affordable option for an individual fan, who is happy to pay more for a better service, but doesn't want the player sponsorship, company logo's, pre-match photo's, and all the rest of it that goes with many of the corporate packages. Obviously the club needs to make money out of it, so the value of the 'extras' needs to be lower than the extra price charged for the ticket, so the 'extras' will need to be considered, but you could perhaps charge £375 (?). I'm sure there'll be at least 100 fans who would like to be 'Executive Season Ticket Holders'? All the 'big' clubs do it. It may not be suitable at Evo-Stik level but just a thought. And I do think, with Darlo being one of the biggest non-league clubs, that it could work. Especially if the move back to Darlo can coincide with promotion to the Premier League! But if it's been tried before, and failed, then fair enough. I think they're running a similar package now, but on a per match basis? behonest

4:17pm Fri 13 Dec 13

swagger says...

Great news
Martin Jesper just needs to tell us how much we need and fans will start putting in, dont wait for the, "The new fundraising initiatives will be rolled out shortly.” Get on with it.
Anything like this is all about momentum, so lets crack on!
Great news Martin Jesper just needs to tell us how much we need and fans will start putting in, dont wait for the, "The new fundraising initiatives will be rolled out shortly.” Get on with it. Anything like this is all about momentum, so lets crack on! swagger

4:19pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Quakermass says...

The incentive comment is a valid one. The "wall of fame" always proves popular allowing die hards and non die hards to pay a nominal amount and in return become part of the clubs history, with their name being on a brick or a new stand within the stadium. Simple but effective. Hopefully the town will gather around and get the funds raised ASAP as without a football club a town effectively loses its identity.
The incentive comment is a valid one. The "wall of fame" always proves popular allowing die hards and non die hards to pay a nominal amount and in return become part of the clubs history, with their name being on a brick or a new stand within the stadium. Simple but effective. Hopefully the town will gather around and get the funds raised ASAP as without a football club a town effectively loses its identity. Quakermass

4:57pm Fri 13 Dec 13

DrHowardRoark says...

Oh diddums the poor lads can't play footy in town.
Oh diddums the poor lads can't play footy in town. DrHowardRoark

4:58pm Fri 13 Dec 13

bones26 says...

things looking up for the quakers and as if by magic bill dixon appears .must of been some food and drink going free aswell as a shirt which is to small i may add. where has been in the past
things looking up for the quakers and as if by magic bill dixon appears .must of been some food and drink going free aswell as a shirt which is to small i may add. where has been in the past bones26

5:24pm Fri 13 Dec 13

WEST HARTLEPOOL BOY says...

Putting it quite simply, I will believe when it happens
Putting it quite simply, I will believe when it happens WEST HARTLEPOOL BOY

5:31pm Fri 13 Dec 13

60 years a Darlo Fan says...

Great news, come on folks get yourselves along to Heritage Park for the rest of this season and support the team now,
Great news, come on folks get yourselves along to Heritage Park for the rest of this season and support the team now, 60 years a Darlo Fan

8:20pm Fri 13 Dec 13

darlo fan says...

Bill Dixon and the Council was one of the reasons the club had to move in the first place.
Bill Dixon and the Council was one of the reasons the club had to move in the first place. darlo fan

9:48pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Lionel1 says...

I'd be concerned with Martin Jesper's quote re 'extremely stretched' finances and him referring to the club still 'existing'. Sound to me like they're in the sh*t and this may be the only way out...
I'd be concerned with Martin Jesper's quote re 'extremely stretched' finances and him referring to the club still 'existing'. Sound to me like they're in the sh*t and this may be the only way out... Lionel1

9:50pm Fri 13 Dec 13

behonest says...

60 years a Darlo Fan wrote:
Great news, come on folks get yourselves along to Heritage Park for the rest of this season and support the team now,
Yes, it's great stuff at the moment. Biggest game of the season at Heritage Park tomorrow though - at home to Bamber Bridge, who are second. If Darlo win it then I think, given our fixture list after tomorrow, we've got to be favourites for at least a play-off spot. And the top (automatic promotion) spot is not out of the question!

Brilliant result last week, but tomorrow is a key game I think.
[quote][p][bold]60 years a Darlo Fan[/bold] wrote: Great news, come on folks get yourselves along to Heritage Park for the rest of this season and support the team now,[/p][/quote]Yes, it's great stuff at the moment. Biggest game of the season at Heritage Park tomorrow though - at home to Bamber Bridge, who are second. If Darlo win it then I think, given our fixture list after tomorrow, we've got to be favourites for at least a play-off spot. And the top (automatic promotion) spot is not out of the question! Brilliant result last week, but tomorrow is a key game I think. behonest

12:21pm Sat 14 Dec 13

swagger says...

GO GO GO GO to this site now and start putting in.......

www.backtodarlo.co.u
k
GO GO GO GO to this site now and start putting in....... www.backtodarlo.co.u k swagger

6:50pm Sat 14 Dec 13

judygone says...

Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.
Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story. judygone

9:46am Sun 15 Dec 13

Lionel1 says...

swagger wrote:
GO GO GO GO to this site now and start putting in.......

www.backtodarlo.co.u

k
I'd be wanting a bit more reassurance/detail from Martin Jesper on the liklihood of the club operating at the start of next season before donating money. As for the comments panning the Council and Bill Dixon, unfortunately for you if DFC are to return to the town they will need to be involved.
[quote][p][bold]swagger[/bold] wrote: GO GO GO GO to this site now and start putting in....... www.backtodarlo.co.u k[/p][/quote]I'd be wanting a bit more reassurance/detail from Martin Jesper on the liklihood of the club operating at the start of next season before donating money. As for the comments panning the Council and Bill Dixon, unfortunately for you if DFC are to return to the town they will need to be involved. Lionel1

9:22am Mon 16 Dec 13

RichToryTwats says...

judygone wrote:
Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.
We are a club run by the fans, we are the shareholders so if the club need some cash whats wrong with asking the people who support and run the club, it makes sense doesnt it.
[quote][p][bold]judygone[/bold] wrote: Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.[/p][/quote]We are a club run by the fans, we are the shareholders so if the club need some cash whats wrong with asking the people who support and run the club, it makes sense doesnt it. RichToryTwats

2:16pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Lionel1 says...

RichToryTwats wrote:
judygone wrote: Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.
We are a club run by the fans, we are the shareholders so if the club need some cash whats wrong with asking the people who support and run the club, it makes sense doesnt it.
How many shareholders are there?
[quote][p][bold]RichToryTwats[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]judygone[/bold] wrote: Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.[/p][/quote]We are a club run by the fans, we are the shareholders so if the club need some cash whats wrong with asking the people who support and run the club, it makes sense doesnt it.[/p][/quote]How many shareholders are there? Lionel1

2:21pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Jackaranda says...

RichToryTwats wrote:
judygone wrote:
Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.
We are a club run by the fans, we are the shareholders so if the club need some cash whats wrong with asking the people who support and run the club, it makes sense doesnt it.
Why don't you go round the streets with buckets? You'll get £000's of pounds off the mugs out there quite easily?
[quote][p][bold]RichToryTwats[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]judygone[/bold] wrote: Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.[/p][/quote]We are a club run by the fans, we are the shareholders so if the club need some cash whats wrong with asking the people who support and run the club, it makes sense doesnt it.[/p][/quote]Why don't you go round the streets with buckets? You'll get £000's of pounds off the mugs out there quite easily? Jackaranda

7:07pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Border Terrier says...

Has Jenny back heeled her 11% pay rise yet. The silence is deafening!
Has Jenny back heeled her 11% pay rise yet. The silence is deafening! Border Terrier

9:42am Tue 24 Dec 13

RichToryTwats says...

Lionel1 wrote:
RichToryTwats wrote:
judygone wrote: Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.
We are a club run by the fans, we are the shareholders so if the club need some cash whats wrong with asking the people who support and run the club, it makes sense doesnt it.
How many shareholders are there?
As many as support the club we all put money in, Im not a shareholder but they get money off me every month as well as going to games.
[quote][p][bold]Lionel1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RichToryTwats[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]judygone[/bold] wrote: Dont be surprised if the club announce they need at least £50,000 just to see this season out again. I am very concerned about some of the wording in this story.[/p][/quote]We are a club run by the fans, we are the shareholders so if the club need some cash whats wrong with asking the people who support and run the club, it makes sense doesnt it.[/p][/quote]How many shareholders are there?[/p][/quote]As many as support the club we all put money in, Im not a shareholder but they get money off me every month as well as going to games. RichToryTwats

4:54am Wed 8 Jan 14

snudge says...

This shared use is not a done deal yet! There is substantial opposition within the rugby club. A lot of members do not share the enthusiasm that he management clique at DRFC
This shared use is not a done deal yet! There is substantial opposition within the rugby club. A lot of members do not share the enthusiasm that he management clique at DRFC snudge

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