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Mystery investor could save Darlington FC
DARLINGTON Football Club could be out of administration by next week after a mystery investor stepped forward to save the club.
However, former chairman Raj Singh must agree to write off £2m he is owed by the club, and fans who have invested in a “crowd funding” website must allow changes to their investment model if the mystery benefactor is to inject £390,000 into the Quakers.
Monday is the deadline for Darlington 1883, the organisation set up to buy the football club for the community, to decide whether to proceed with a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to bring the Quakers out of administration.
Yesterday, Darlington 1883 said it cannot go ahead because it has not yet reached its target of £750,000-worth of shares.
A number of business investors have indicated they would buy shares, dependent on the CVA and main creditor, Mr Singh, withdrawing his claim. He has indicated he would withdraw his claims, but is seeking two conditions which, he says, do not jeopardise a community takeover.
In a statement last night, Mr Singh said: “I’ve simply asked for two conditions to be included in the CVA, which does not involve a new group paying a penny out of funds raised now or in the future.
"It could be saved by Thursday if everything falls into place.”Craig McKenna
“I’m simply protecting my interests going forward. I’m not preventing the CVA, I’m not blocking any deal, what I’m asking for does not affect the financial viability of the club going forward in any way.”
The mystery investor, believed to have links with the club, said he would put in £390,000 – dependent on Mr Singh withdrawing his claim unconditionally, and a change in the share model allowing one person to own more than £150,000-worth of shares.
Last night, Craig McKenna, of the Growth Academy, which helped devise the buydarlo crowd funding pitch and is advising Darlington 1883, was confident of a solution. He said there were two options.
* Mr Singh withdraws his claims and fans agree to a majority shareholder owning more than £150,000 of shares.
He could then put his money in and the club could be out of administration by Thursday.
The investor has said he would go into partnership with the fans, who would have the option to buy him out.
* A new share model accommodating Mr Singh’s conditions and cash continues to be raised on the Crowd Cube site.
Mr McKenna said fans who have invested and were unhappy with any new arrangement could withdraw their money.
“I don’t think the conditions he (Mr Singh) has are unreasonable. I’m confident we’ve got enough to convince (administrator) Harvey Madden to extend Monday’s deadline. It could be saved by Thursday if everything falls into place.”