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Ex-Quakers boss in cash appeal to 'missing' fans
A FORMER North-East football club manager last night urged 850 “missing” fans to invest in their club.
David Hodgson, who took Darlington to the Wembley play-off final in 2000, said: “This club is like the Titanic and it’s hit the sand at the bottom of the ocean – I know that Martin Gray can bring it back, but not without the fans’ financial backing.
“The fans have rightly been critical in the past of individuals who have owned this club and not done the right things by them; now they have the chance to fix all that hurt and revive their Darlington FC. If the fans back their club, there is a future.”
More than 1,000 supporters made pledges to community company Darlington FC 1883 (DFC 1883) earlier this year.
That money was returned to fans last month after a different ownership model was drawn up. However, only 150 supporters have so far reinvested their cash in the new community interest company (CIC) – 1883CIC.
Although some fans have chosen to put their money direct into DFC 1883, the club still only has about £75,000 despite setting a target of £200,000 by the end of this month.
To join the CIC, fans have to invest a minimum of £100. In return, they are being offered benefits including access to exclusive events and forums involving the players and management, discounts on club merchandise, regular newsletters and priority booking for tickets.
DFC 1883 leaders say the CIC will provide the necessary funds for the football club to succeed both on and off the pitch. The immediate objectives are to put together a team capable of gaining promotion next season and for the club to return to Darlington as soon as possible.
DFC 1883 chairman Denis Pinnegar said the club was hoping for 1,000 people to join the CIC by the end of the month.
He added: “When we saw how many fans had taken the time and effort to back their club with hard cash, it was inspiring – but we need to ask them to do the same again.
“The CIC will be great for Darlington FC in many ways and the structure gives members a genuine voice in the running of their football club.”
For more details on the CIC, visit 1883cic.org