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 Post subject: Quakers Keep 1 Player
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 12:47 pm 
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Crisis-hit Darlington have confirmed all but one of their playing staff are available on free transfers.

The club are on the brink of closure after failing to find a new owner following their entry into administration in February, with administrators bidding to cut costs and keep the club afloat for as long as possible.

Only 17-year-old Josh Gray is exempt from the cull due to his age, while coaches Neil Maddison and Craig Liddle have been retained to look after the football side of the club following the departure of caretaker-manager Martin Gray and his backroom staff.

A club statement read: "Following the end of the playing season and the expiry of the player deferral agreements, and considering the reduced levels of income in the close season, the administrator has unfortunately been forced to allow the majority of the first team to leave the club with immediate effect.

"This decision has been made to enable the club to trade as long as possible in order to allow any potential buyer as much time as possible in order to make an offer for the club."

The Quakers saw the deadline for offers from a prospective buyer pass this week and administrator David Clark claimed the situation was "very serious and worrying".

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 Post subject: Quakers Out Of Administration
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:00 am 
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Darlington have finally exited administration after being handed their 'Golden Share' by the Football League, meaning they can begin the new season tomorrow.

The beleaguered Quakers have been hampered by financial troubles since February, and with hefty debts and weekly losses the club's future was in doubt for much of the summer.

However, local businessman Raj Singh's protracted takeover of the club has been ratified by the Football League and it means Colin Todd's side will avoid a points deduction.

"This is the culmination of lots of hard work and dedication and we're elated to finally cross the line," said Singh.

"We knew we'd get there in the end, but we also know this will still come as a relief to our staff and our long-suffering fans.

"We can now put it all firmly behind us and concentrate on doing the business for Darlington Football Club, on and off the pitch."

Darlington kick off the 2009-10 Coca-Cola League Two season away to Aldershot.

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 Post subject: Darlington - Stan's The Man
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:23 pm 
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Colin Todd has resigned as manager of League Two strugglers Darlington after four months in charge.

The Quakers have only collected two points this season including Saturday's 1-1 draw at Grimsby, Todd's last game.

He told BBC Tees: "It was agreed before today's game that if we didn't get the win then I'd be leaving.

"At certain levels you're dictated by results, the time factor sometimes isn't long enough but you have to take the rough with the smooth."

He added: "I think the chairman should have been here to address the situation. I've had the players all in together and nobody had any idea, not even my staff [that I was going]."

When asked who had suggested he should leave if Darlington failed to win, Todd added: "It was the chairman. It was [a feeling of] disappointment. It was always going to be a difficult job here and a long job."

And Todd said that the next boss would be brought in from outside the club.

"I know for a fact it will be somebody new. [Dean] Windass will not get the job so they're looking for someone, I don't know what type of manager," he added.

The ex-Middlesbrough, Bradford, Bolton, Derby and Swindon boss was handed the manager's job at the Arena by returning chairman George Houghton in May.

Before his appointment he had been coaching in Denmark with Randers.

Todd took over at Darlington after former boss Dave Penney left to take charge at League One Oldham.

The Quakers were forced to assemble a new side during the summer after most of last year's squad left.


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 Post subject: Re: Darlington - Colin Todd Quits
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:05 pm 
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Steve Staunton has landed the Darlington manager's job until the end of the season.

It was reported on Sunday that the former Republic of Ireland chief had agreed terms with the League Two basement side over the weekend.

And now Staunton will officially take up the reins at the Darlington Arena on Wednesday after their Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash at Leeds.

Staunton will also bring in Kevin Richardson as his assistant, as they look to try and save the Quakers from the drop into non-league football.

Darlington chairman Raj Singh is delighted with the appointment.

"We're excited about the prospect of working with someone with vast experience in the game and a wealth of contacts," Singh told the club's website.

"Steve enjoyed a formidable playing career and he has a strong desire to succeed as a manager as well.

"We spoke to a handful of applicants over the weekend and Steve came across as the most professional and organised. He'd done some thorough homework on Darlington and League Two, our players and potential new players, some of whom he's already targeted to bring in.

"He's extremely realistic and is aware of the situation here at Darlington, but he's confident he can utilise his contacts to bring players in who will improve our squad.

"We're also delighted with the appointment of Kevin Richardson, who is highly thought of in the game and has a lot of coaching experience on the back of a very successful playing career.

"I said recently that the new manager would need some financial assistance and we'll give Steve as much support as we possibly can.

"But we're very confident we've made the right decision and both Steve and Kevin will help us achieve our short-term goal of staying up this season so that we can build and improve next summer."

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 Post subject: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:28 pm 
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Managers and all players sacked by administrators.

Looks like they're going to be the next club off the face of the earth.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:25 pm 
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Dark days. A shame. I've been to see Darlo a couple of times over the years.

I believe George Reynolds will be heavily to blame for what happened to them, as he was an idiot.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:37 pm 
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Terrible to see any club go. In this neck of the woods, Rushden & Diamonds have gone and Kettering Town are next, so it seems. Really is a shame. They mean a lot to some, but not much to the others, obviously. :no:

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:42 pm 
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Wasn't expecting them to go tbh, it must be really bad. Usually you get talk of it, and then it all clears up without mention.

Went to Kettering with FCUM a few years ago preseason, didn't know they were in trouble, decent little ground!

Re Darlington: £25m on a stadium is lunacy.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:46 pm 
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Fans should get together and reform it wipe the slate clean and start again might be the best option for them. Didn't Telford do it a while back?

Needs some real die hard fans to set it up and keep it going but it means starting flalmost from square 1 again like AFC Wimbledon did.

Kettering had an owner who spent a fortune then ran out of money leaving the club with the debts

Don't know the full story but building that stadium was a crazy idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:58 pm 
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Darlington's administrators have terminated the contracts of the club's interim manager Craig Liddle and the remaining playing staff.

The move puts Saturday's home game with Fleetwood in doubt, with the Football Conference setting a deadline of Wednesday to decide if it goes ahead.

In a statement, administrator Harvey Madden said there was "no alternative" given the club's financial position.

He also said that, despite interest, no formal takeover bids had been received.

The statement read: "Given the current financial position of the club and, as a consequence of my legal obligations, I have had no alternative but to terminate the contracts of all playing staff and the retained administration staff.

"Notwithstanding this, there remain parties interested in either injecting funds into the club to enable it to continue operating or acquiring the club.

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"Every effort is being made to progress this to try to save the club. However, at this stage I have still not received any formal offers and unless a deal is concluded as a matter of urgency, time will have run out for Darlington Football Club."

Players Ian Miller, Sam Russell, Liam Hatch and Jamie Chandler all left the club prior to the announcement, although several senior professionals have been affected.

"To say I feel sick is an understatement," said Marc Bridge-Wilkinson on his Twitter account, while team-mate Paul Arnison told of his frustrations at being made redundant and defender Aaron Brown expressed surprise at being asked to train for the Fleetwood game.

Adam Rundle, who was one of the players to have accepted reduced payments to ensure the club fulfilled the fixture at Barrow earlier this month, was equally disappointed.

"Not a good day if you're a player - even got taxed on the £200 we were offered for the Barrow game, [I am] hoping Darlo survive though, looks promising," Rundle said on his social networking account.

Former chairman Raj Singh placed the club in administration earlier this month, but as the major creditor said he would not demand his investment back if a buyer could be found.

Since that time the club has cut costs by initially reducing the off-field staff, while players who had not been paid handed in their notice and left the club.

Administrators then handed Darlington a stay of execution on Friday when their future looked bleak, although negotiations now appear to have stalled.

Meanwhile Liddle has revealed he will continue to work with the youth team for free with the funding for the side guaranteed by the Football League until the end of the season.

The 40-year-old has represented the club as both player and coach, and had previously combined running first-team affairs with a head of youth development role.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:10 pm 
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Reedo wrote:
Wasn't expecting them to go tbh, it must be really bad. Usually you get talk of it, and then it all clears up without mention.

Went to Kettering with FCUM a few years ago preseason, didn't know they were in trouble, decent little ground!

Re Darlington: £25m on a stadium is lunacy.


They left that ground, Reedo. Moved to the Rushden & Diamonds ground, just off the A45. Cracking ground. Everyone thought it a sound idea and that fortunes could turn in the right direction. Not a chance.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:19 pm 
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Willie Eckerslike wrote:
They left that ground, Reedo. Moved to the Rushden & Diamonds ground, just off the A45. Cracking ground. Everyone thought it a sound idea and that fortunes could turn in the right direction. Not a chance.


Oops, didn't know that.. why did they move?

Seem to remember them having a decent cup run not long ago, sure they had a game on TV against someone fairly good?

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:22 pm 
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With Northampton bottom of league 2 they could easily go the same way as the owners won't subsidise the club forever.

Dons must of sucked a lot of casual fans away like they did at Northampton.

The old R&D ground was a great little ground but in football it would appear that if you build it they might not necessarily come.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:47 pm 
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Reynolds spending so much money on that stadium was the beginning of it all I think..their average attendance must've been like..5000 at the most or something. So Reynolds builds one capable of holding about 25k.

Soulless place really that im sure most of the fans didnt want.

Remember them almost signing Tino Asprilla as well, until he pulled out at the last minute and vanished.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:00 am 
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I don't think they ever got the stadium fully opened because of planning licenses it was restricted to 10,000.

Seems crazy to build something so big for a club who don't need it you have to get the team up the leagues before people will start coming again.

Edit: didn't realise he was a crook as well
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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:21 am 
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As Darlington move to the brink of extinction, friend of AGR and Darlo fan Rob Parrish tells how it came to this, and what must be done to prevent it happening again...

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Back in December 1998, Darlington came close to upsetting Manchester City in the FA Cup. Fast forward 13 years and the financially-stricken North-East club are on the brink of going out of existence, while City sit proudly at the Premier League summit after seeing their fortunes transformed by the arrival of owner Sheikh Mansour.

As City boss Roberto Mancini complains about being short of options due to injury, suspension and the African Cup of Nations, Quakers caretaker counterpart Craig Liddle is contemplating coming out of retirement at the age of 40, nearly seven years after hanging up his boots due to injury, with only 10 senior players left on his books for Saturday's Blue Square Premier clash with Fleetwood. One club is genuinely down to the bare bones.

It remains to be seen whether Darlington will even be in existence to fulfil their fixture this weekend, with the club's administrator poised to pull the plug on their life-support machine unless a last-ditch rescue package can be agreed. With mounting debts and the Quakers haemorrhaging money, liquidation is not an idle threat, but a grim reality for the 129-year old club.

I feel it is important to make clear I have no axe to grind with City. I've merely used them as an example of the financial disparities which exist between the elite and the also-rans in English football. The fact they are threatening the established order is good for the top flight and only the most churlish would complain after the arrival of talents such as Sergio Aguero and David Silva on our shores.

Far, far away from the bright lights of the Premier League, the news of Darlington being plunged into administration for the third time in nine years earlier this month warranted barely a footnote in most newspapers, while for supporters of the team it marked confirmation of fears which had been circulating for some time.

The problem for Darlo, which outgoing chairman Raj Singh became the latest to realise, is that their current cavernous stadium acts only as a millstone to drag them into the financial depths and can never be a viable venue.

Built by former owner George Reynolds in 2003 and initially named after a man who has since spent time behind bars for tax evasion, the Darlington Arena has a frankly baffling capacity of 25,000. It was just over one tenth full for their last home game - the New Year's Day encounter against local rivals Gateshead - and has often been much more sparsely populated.

Given Reynolds' proven approach to financial affairs, it was little surprise when the crippling costs of building a new stadium which could never be filled pushed the club to the brink financially for a first time in that same season. His departure soon after was welcomed by all associated with the Quakers, but a bitter legacy remains in the shape his self-indulgent folly, a mocking reminder that the misguided dreams of one man can bring the hub of local community to its knees.

The ground cannot be regarded as an asset in any form, particularly as ownership of the stadium was passed to major creditors Philip Scott and Graham Sizer when another previous chairman George Houghton took the club into administration in 2009.

And it is a world away from Feethams, Darlington's former home, which is now little more than an overgrown meadow in the centre of the town, with the remnants of just one stand - The Tin Shed - only still in place to act as a sight-screen for the cricket club next door. My first game there was a 0-0 draw with Merthyr Tydfil back in 1990, and after that I was hooked. Obviously.

The highs of supporting a club like Darlington are few and far between, but they are certainly worth savouring. Back-to-back promotions from the Conference to the old Division Three in 1990 and 1991, plus three trips to Wembley and the last-gasp joy of Chris Senior's goal at the death against Mansfield in the FA Trophy in the last of those in May.

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Memories may be all that fans are left with if the final discussions with the administrator fail to bear fruit. I've already been asked a couple of times who I will support if Darlo go to the wall. Anyone with a genuine understanding of football will know it doesn't work like that.

Even if an unlikely stay of execution is secured, the longer-term problem of financing a non-league club in an outsize ground will remain and would have to be addressed to prevent yet another inevitable trip to the precipice. And with 10 points deducted and strict Conference rules relating to teams in administration, a further relegation this season must be expected, should the Quakers make it to the end of the campaign and beyond.

If the axe does fall, discussions over a phoenix club have already taken place, but that version of Darlington would have to start again at the foot of the football pyramid, which would make their current standing in the highest level of non-league look like a place in the UEFA Champions League. And for every AFC Wimbledon success story, there is a Scarborough equivalent.

Whatever the outcome for Darlington, the continued blasé approach to loans, debts, wages and general financial management from clubs in the Premier League downwards, particularly in the face of a crippling global recession, has to be addressed by those in power, with UEFA president Michel Platini at least attempting to do so with rules on financial Fair Play.

The time for living the dream has gone. Now everyone needs to live within their means.

Rob Parrish. This article first appeared on Sky Sports.com

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Today the administrators have sacked everyone at Darlington. David Preece remembers the day George Reynolds took over, how he screwed him personally and began to kill the club...

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I was there on the exact day that Darlington Football Club began itʼs cruelly slow and painful slide into the black hole of extinction. Over the last thirteen years, the Darlo fans must have felt as if itʼs beloved club had been gradually destroyed, like a live pig being excruciatingly spit roasted to a mere block of black charcoal.

The arrival of convicted safecracker turned multi-millionaire businessman, George Reynolds, was supposed to be the dawn of a bright new era. I was the twenty-one year old goalkeeper for The Quakers and like everyone else, I was initially caught up in the whirlwind of promises to build a spanking new stadium and bring us Premier League football within five years. I say “initially” because for me, the cracks presented themselves rather early in his reign. Of course, I couldnʼt foresee the agonising years the club has since endured but I could sense something just didnʼt add up.

Ultimately, I was proved right. It was all supposed to be so different. The club had been struggling to pay our wages for the previous 5 months and the insecurity of the clubʼs finances had all but put pay to any chance of promotion we had given ourselves earlier in the season.

We were halfway through the 1998/99 season and we were flying high at the top of what is now League Two. An away day at Brentford would see us involved in a first versus second top of the table clash. We were flying. That is until our manager, David Hodgson, came to the back of our bus as we were travelling south and delivered the news that our wages wouldnʼt be in our bank accounts that day as was expected.

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“Ayr f****** United?” I thought. “What happened to Charlton and Bolton?”

Suddenly, talk of promotion was sharply replaced by worried conversations of missed mortgage repayments and our focus was shifted from the game. We might as well just have turned the bus round and headed back home. We lost 3-0. Luckily for me I was a young lad still living at home and my mother had gratefully deferred my monthly board I gave her for my upkeep. But for those with families it was unsettling to say the least. We slid down to the mediocrity of a mid-table finish but towards the end of the season, the financial situation at the club worsened. The club was in trouble and with no new investors forthcoming. The state affairs was such that unless we could sell a player or perhaps two, the club was going under and nobody would get paid.

Thatʼs when I was summoned to the managerʼs office. Iʼd had a pretty good year and with me being a young keeper with potential, there was interest in me from two championship clubs. David Hodgson explained the extremity of the clubʼs plight and an offer of £75,000 plus add ons was accepted from Ayr Utd, whoʼd had an injection of funds from somewhere.

“Ayr f****** United?” I thought. “What happened to Charlton and Bolton?” I asked. He explained the Ayr United bid was the biggest bid with the cash up front and if I didnʼt go, the club had no idea where they would find the money to dish out salaries. What could I do? Without showing any disrespect to Ayr United, I had no desire to join them whatsoever. None at all. But there would be serious repercussions for the club if I didnʼt and I knew by the tone of the gafferʼs voice I didnʼt really have much of a choice. I either stay and possibly not get paid along with everyone else or agree to be transferred against my will. I was screwed both ways.

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Rumours rumbled on of unpaid bills but George was always there to rebuff them as nonsense.

The manager was right though, I didnʼt have any choice and without the perspective of a more mature man, I drove back home with the resignation of a death row prisoner running through me. Later that night, the phone rang. I hadnʼt changed my mind, I still didnʼt want to go. The Scooby Doo-like coward in me thought about hiding in a wardrobe and ignoring the call but I decided against it and picked up the phone. As expected it was my manager but the words coming from the phone werenʼt the daggers of disappointment I thought theyʼd be. A saviour had come forward in the Donald Trump-haired form of George Reynolds. He driving to meet Reynolds at his Witton Hall mansion and my departure was now put on ice, at least for the time being, anyway. So, in he swept and we were saved. Iʼd been saved too, from a move I didnʼt care for. And now, the club were going places and I wanted to be part of it. I thought the offers that the club were receiving for me mustʼve meant I was doing well so I went to see the new owner and asked if the club didnʼt have to sell now, and more importantly, didnʼt want to, then perhaps they should offer me a contract that would eward me for my performances. I was greeted with a curt “No” and sent packing. David Hodgson, my manager, a man I trust implicitly, consoled me fact that nobody would be getting “unnecessary” new contracts. It seemed George wanted success but wasnʼt prepared to pay what it takes to get it. To me or anyone else for that matter. If we were going places, it was on the Mega Bus not British Airways First Class. Rumours rumbled on of unpaid bills but George was always there to rebuff them as nonsense.

Fast forward three months and I was again summoned to the managerʼs office with news that bids had come in for me. Three bids of around £300,000 each, in fact. The choice put to me was that two clubs wanted me as a young number two and the other, Aberdeen, were looking for a number one. My initial reaction was to ask if the chairman would offer me an improved contract to try and keep me but again, he wouldnʼt. It seemed they wanted, or more appropriately, needed the cash. The manager gave me his honest opinion and advised me to accept the offer from Aberdeen. This was despite the fact I could have expected to earn double the amount in salary from the other two clubs. Aberdeen were giving me the best chance of playing every week and thatʼs the only thing that mattered to me, not the money. So, off I went on the next flight to the oil capital of Britain and the deal was done.

Well, almost. Just as I was walking out for my first training session, the secretary of Aberdeenʼs chairmen, Stewart Milne, approached me with a mobile phone and handed it to me. A female voice said, “Itʼs George. Heʼd like to talk to you.”. There wasnʼt even a “Hello.” or any other kind of greeting. He simply said this: “Have you ever heard the story about the monkey who saw a peanut at the bottom of the milk bottle and put his hand in to grab hold of it? What he didnʼt realise was that he couldnʼt get his hand out of the bottle unless he let go of the nut.”

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If you don’t waive your right to that money I’ll pull the plug on the whole deal and let you rot in the reserves…


I was confused. My head was already swirling with the prospect of facing Celtic live on TV the next day. What on earth was he going on about? “You have a clause in your contract that states you receive 15% of any transfer fee the club receives for you ( about £45,000 in this case ). If you don’t waive your right to that money Iʼll pull the plug on the whole deal and bring you back here and let you rot in the reserves.

Youʼre under twenty four years old so if anyone tried to sign you, itʼd go to a tribunal. Letʼs see who wants you then!”. One minute I was stood there, feeling a million dollars decked out in my spanking new training kit my new club had just given me, chomping at the bit to get started, the next I felt like a punctured balloon.

As I saw it, this was my big break. A chance to take the step up to the next level. Itʼs not like my contract with Aberdeen was of the sort that might set me up for life but I really thought it was the start of something big for me. I tried to explain that I wasnʼt some jumped up little footballer who had demanded to leave his club and that this money would have been a Godsend to someone who had come from the same area in Sunderland that he did. But nothing. Not even a word of negotiation came from his side. Heʼd even made the Aberdeen chairman swear he wouldnʼt try and compensate me in any way by adjusting the figures in my contract. I just couldnʼt understand it. I was earning peanuts at Darlington. They had signed me on a free transfer and the club was making a good profit but he was adamant that he wasnʼt giving me a penny of the deal.

The way he put it, that clause in my contract wasnʼt worth the paper it was written on. He had predicted exactly what Iʼd do though, thatʼs how the power lay with him. He knew how much the move meant to me and took total advantage. As a blackmailer he held all of the cards but the whole situation barely registered with me.

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I signed a form, waiving my right to any of the transfer fee and signed my contract with Aberdeen


Until my daughter came along, football was the be all and end all of my life. Quite literally, nothing else mattered. I was going to play in front of a near full house against the mighty Celtic that Sunday instead of Halifax Town in front of two thousand people and not even the prospect of losing any amount of money was going to stop me.

“George” I said. “I donʼt care about money as much as you obviously do, you can f******* keep the money. I just want to play football and in any case, I wouldnʼt want to come back and f****** work for you again.” I signed a form, waiving my right to any of the transfer fee and signed my contract with Aberdeen.

I was surprisingly calm until after training when I got back to my hotel when I realised my monthʼs wages owed from Darlington hadnʼt been put in my account and I was penniless. I had to go cap in hand to Aberdeen and ask for an advance on my wages, which they kindly obliged. I find it funny now that my first big move was in the bag but I was making my debut against Celtic whilst actually being overdrawn by £200. It wasnʼt exactly the kind of financial situation Iʼd had in mind when Iʼd imagined that big move coming.

There’s still the odd time when I sit and contemplate how that money might have helped me back then. It would’ve been more satisfying if I thought the money had gone someway towards the survival of the club that gave me the kind of help money can’t buy. Instead, I can’t help thinking it probably ended up in the same place that the £500,000 cash in the boot of his car was heading for, before he was collared by the police.

In retrospect, my suspicions and feeling of ill-ease proved to be right and I made the right decision to leave. Regretfully, the whole saga totally soured my time at Darlington which is a huge disappointment in my life. For if it wasnʼt for Darlington Football Club, I wouldnʼt have had a career at all. And for that, I will always be indebted to the club and all itʼs fans.

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:25 pm 
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Darlington were offered a potential lifeline on Tuesday as former chairman George Houghton entered discussions over a proposed takeover.

Administrators Rowlands Accountants were reported to have set a deadline of midday on Tuesday for any interested bidders to submit their final offers.

The 128-year-old club entered administration for a third time in 10 years earlier this month, with the subsequent 10-point deduction leaving them just above the Blue Square Bet Premier relegation zone and their future hanging in the balance.

It has now emerged that joint administrator Harvey Madden is due to hold talks with Tyneside property developer Houghton, who was chairman between 2006 and 2009.

Houghton told the Northern Echo:

"I'm going along to see if I can salvage them, although not for the kind of money they have been talking about.

"I'm going along at 2pm (Tuesday)."

Houghton gained control of Darlington in March 2006. His spell at the helm ended in February 2009

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:59 pm 
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i'll have a midfielder please :unsure:

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 Post subject: Re: Darlington
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:01 pm 
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Blue Square Bet Premier side Darlington have been given an 11th hour reprieve after fans raised £200,000 to keep the club alive.

Former caketaker boss Craig Liddle and his remaining 10 players were summoned to the Northern Echo Arena at midday on Wednesday to be told by the club's administrator, Harvey Madden, that he had failed to agree a rescue plan and the club would fold after 128 years.

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Should I stay or should I go: Former Darlington caketaker boss Craig Liddle

But a few minutes later, a group of fans and local businessman calling themselves the Darlington FC Rescue Group (DFCRG) arrived at the stadium with £50,000 and pleaded with the administrator for more time.

And after an overseas supporter pledged another £150,000, Madden agreed a short term deal that will allow the matches against Fleetwood, York City and Hayes and Yeading to go ahead.

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Late drama: Shaun Campbell from the Darlington FC Rescue Group

DFCRG hope the move will buy them enough time to convince former chairman Raj Singh to back a planning development deal that could save the club.

Steve Weeks, a member of the Rescue Group, said: 'The group have come with a sum of money that the administrator accepted to enable the club to continue until January 31 which gives the Rescue Group the chance to carry out due diligence with appropriate care required for the emergence of a community-based club.

'Fans have to realise this is just the beginning and we now need their support more than ever. If this town really wants a football club, now is the time to show how much they care.'

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