FOOTBALL fans have contributed over £1.5million over in support of a local club.

Loyal Darlington Football Club fans smashed the £100,000 target for this year's Boost the Budget fundraiser launched at the start of May, raising £131,190 to help keep the club going during the "uncertain time" throughout the coronavirus pandemic as well as “fine tune" the squad, calculate a playing budget and put the tie down the contracts of current key squad members and new arrivals.

Over 707 fans contributed both large and small amounts, an astonishing £43,000 being pledged in the last ten days.

Within hours of the scheme's launch, more than £25,000 had been raised.

Pledges were made either as a one-off amount or as a regular weekly or monthly direct debit, but every little helped the club to reach it's target, and the scheme has now closed for this year.

The latest figures mean that in the eight years since the fans took the club over, they have contributed a mammoth £1.5 million to fund several club projects in various ways.

Last year, Darlington FC’s received £100,000 in pledges from fans, which allowed the club to compete at National League North level.

The club would like to sincerely thank everyone who pledged.

Darlington chief executive David Johnston said that not many fans in this country could claim to help their club so much financially as Darlington fans have.

“Darlington fans have once again proved how much they love their club," he said. "Considering the difficult times that we’re living in – and let’s hope that they will be over soon and everybody remains safe and well – to have contributed well into six figures is testament to how much Darlington fans want their club to be successful and move forwards.

"It was amazing to see the running total gather pace at the start and near the end of the campaign.

"Every time I checked, the total had gone up by a few thousand."

“The money that they have generously contributed will help Alun compete in the transfer market for players and challenge for the play offs in the new season."

Manager Alun Armstrong, who has just signed a contract extension, said he was "overwhelmed" by the generous donations from fans.

“What a lot of people seem to forget is, that this is your club and without you doing this we wouldn’t be here, which is why this club is so special and unique.

“I don’t see any club in the world, never mind the country, raise this kind of money in such difficult circumstances. To raise this on top of the £10,000 to help cover the loss of income from the last four home games is just astonishing and to be the manager of the club with fans/owners like this is an absolute honour.

“I will do my utmost to give you what you deserve. Together we’ll be stronger."