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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:33 pm 
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Next season is going to be a problem if the budget is reduced anymore. Also BTB may well raise less than for this season, unless we have a strong finish to the season.


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:43 pm 
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Darlo_Pete wrote:
Next season is going to be a problem if the budget is reduced anymore. Also BTB may well raise less than for this season, unless we have a strong finish to the season.


Shouldn't spend what you haven't got, we have been overspending and not got to grips for years.

I am actually going to increase my BTB slightly (and I do mean slightly), even though not sure I trust Wright I just think it will support the club further and as a 500 club member then it's just like buying a season ticket again.

I hope many others support BTB but I clearly it won't have the same drive as last season.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:06 pm 
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Well this thread doesn't make great reading :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:36 pm 
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Seems to me no matter who is in financial charge we are always in the s*** financially even with Stockdale chair of the DFCSG running accounts this year we are still looking for an additional £50k - Feb/March seems to be the crunch point every year before early birds kick in, nothing has changed since 2012. All the talk of spending £2.5-3m is ridiculous, looking at Divas it’s clear we need to get back to the Arena and just hope we don’t get back to the league in the next five years. I have to say after 40 years of following the quakers I’m struggling to see how we can move forward without outside investment.

A reduced budget will no doubt bring players who are at the end of their career also a club lacking ambition, so can’t see wright hanging around. I’ve been in tanners tonight and virtually all of us want the prospect of getting back to the league without that prospect there will be less support.


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:58 pm 
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divas wrote:
From what was said last night the land to to the open end of the ground is very soft and lies on a flood plane which has the potential to cause issues with aspects of planning and build. Add that to the pipe issue and the clubhouse and you’ve got a site that clearly isn’t up to being developed to the level we need if we have aspirations of playing above this level. Factor in the relationship we’ve had with the rugby club to date who have stifled us massively and only a mad man would want to sink more cash into that option imo.

Lee and Jon from DFCSG have done a great peice of work to demonstrate how if/when we go up the leagues our capacity will actually drop if we don’t do any work as hard standing is not applicable to differing degrees. They have identified what would need to be done to get BM to a level we would need in the league(s) above. Of course it’s all theoretical and whilst it could be done theoretically there are a lot of obstacles - for once not all financial.

I don’t expect that any of that is a surprise but it was good to see some level of detail to prove it.

I should point out last night at no point did any member of the board suggest what we should or shouldn’t do - it was a simple presentation of the facts gathered to date. You can see how much due diligence is required to pull this stuff together which is why it’s taking longer than we’d hope to get all of the facts but things are moving and at some point the owners of the club will be given some options and the full pros cons and funding required etc.


I don't quite understand this... how can that end of the ground be on a flood plane any more than the entirety of the ground? It's actually the part of the ground furthest away from a water source.

I'm not calling you a liar, but that makes absolutely no sense to me at all. The whole site is on a flood plane, and flood planes are regularly built upon... I don't doubt you relaying the information (and many thanks for doing do), but it... well. It just sounds like they want to talk down the possibility of development.

Christ, it sounds grim all in though. You really have to wonder how bad it was allowed to get under Gray, for us to be at this stage where we can barely afford our own squad. At the end of the day, we average around 1,500, and we play in Darlington, and furthermore, we know from prior meetings that the rent at BM is nothing like the unreasonable amount some were suggesting... so... where has the money gone. Down the fking drain. :thumbdown:


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:59 pm 
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I think financially we have hit a ceiling, the latest accounts show a big jump in turnover but and equal % Jump in wages ... I think we are around 50% wages/turnover ratio.

Issue is that jump hasn’t meant better performances. Also having all these players from the midlands must increase the wage costs as they will have to pay travel expenses.

Next season more local players, released players from the big 3 and loan players should sort it and we can progress to mid table.


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:14 pm 
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OnTheTerraces wrote:

Next season more local players, released players from the big 3 and loan players should sort it and we can progress to mid table.

It wasn't that long ago people were saying we need to look outside of the region for players as there is too much competition. We do that, and people then want us to go back to the region for players.

The problem isn't where the players come from, it's the fact we seemingly can barely afford this level. And if the budget is being cut even more from where it is now? We will barely be able to put out a team of our own players, utterly reliant on free loans where we can find them.

Add in a truly awful ground situation, with 2 options going forwards which will both cost millions for us still to, it seems, have a wildly sub-optimal situation? Someone best win Euromillions sometimes soon as the future really does look pretty s***

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Last edited by al_quaker on Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:18 pm 
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H1987 wrote:
divas wrote:
From what was said last night the land to to the open end of the ground is very soft and lies on a flood plane which has the potential to cause issues with aspects of planning and build. Add that to the pipe issue and the clubhouse and you’ve got a site that clearly isn’t up to being developed to the level we need if we have aspirations of playing above this level. Factor in the relationship we’ve had with the rugby club to date who have stifled us massively and only a mad man would want to sink more cash into that option imo.

Lee and Jon from DFCSG have done a great peice of work to demonstrate how if/when we go up the leagues our capacity will actually drop if we don’t do any work as hard standing is not applicable to differing degrees. They have identified what would need to be done to get BM to a level we would need in the league(s) above. Of course it’s all theoretical and whilst it could be done theoretically there are a lot of obstacles - for once not all financial.

I don’t expect that any of that is a surprise but it was good to see some level of detail to prove it.

I should point out last night at no point did any member of the board suggest what we should or shouldn’t do - it was a simple presentation of the facts gathered to date. You can see how much due diligence is required to pull this stuff together which is why it’s taking longer than we’d hope to get all of the facts but things are moving and at some point the owners of the club will be given some options and the full pros cons and funding required etc.


I don't quite understand this... how can that end of the ground be on a flood plane any more than the entirety of the ground? It's actually the part of the ground furthest away from a water source.

I'm not calling you a liar, but that makes absolutely no sense to me at all. The whole site is on a flood plane, and flood planes are regularly built upon... I don't doubt you relaying the information (and many thanks for doing do), but it... well. It just sounds like they want to talk down the possibility of development.

Christ, it sounds grim all in though. You really have to wonder how bad it was allowed to get under Gray, for us to be at this stage where we can barely afford our own squad. At the end of the day, we average around 1,500, and we play in Darlington, and furthermore, we know from prior meetings that the rent at BM is nothing like the unreasonable amount some were suggesting... so... where has the money gone. Down the fking drain. :thumbdown:


I’m just going from what two experts in that particular field told us last night. Take it up with them if you want to discuss details. I’m just passing on the info.


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:26 am 
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OnTheTerraces wrote:
I think financially we have hit a ceiling, the latest accounts show a big jump in turnover but and equal % Jump in wages ... I think we are around 50% wages/turnover ratio.

Issue is that jump hasn’t meant better performances. Also having all these players from the midlands must increase the wage costs as they will have to pay travel expenses.

Next season more local players, released players from the big 3 and loan players should sort it and we can progress to mid table.


You may want to check your details. We have more midlands based players now but our actual player budget has reduced which goes against your points. The travel expenses from what I understand isn't all that and the players we are paying now are generally on less than the NE players we released/sold.

However we do need to be looking to pick up the next Joe Wheatley etc from Boro/Sunderland/Newcastle if we can and loan the next Pears/Nelson but for a season next year again if we can.

Our problem is we have not got to grips with our club infrastructure and budget planning, this is being addressed massively but can't be just turned around in just one season.

The Boards have a plan to get us on a much more even keel but we have to suck it up for now and support this way forward.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:21 am 
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On the flood plain, it was not suggested that it can't be built on, but that you need to involve other departments other than just planning authority, and that the foundations have to be deeper etc which increases costs. As has been said a lot more work to be done to fully understand all implications and have a full comparison before the board are able to put options to fans.

As has been said I am most probably favouring a move back to the Arena with a view to developing the land that would be made available to us over say 10 years, (think the offer was land and floodlights), as options to make money may be better at the Arena with the sale of boxes, and better cut of food and drink profits etc, (I think it was mentioned to me by some of my mates who are York City knights RL fans that they will get 60% of profit from wet sales etc when they move to the new site with the football club). If we have to keep paying for Blackwell then use it for the academy lads. Still may change my mind again once all the details are available.

Also I am with Super Les and will increase my monthly BTB for next year I think, as we need to get through the next couple of years to get ourselves on a level financial footing.

We have a fair number of really positive fans on this board, pity we don't all meet up once a month, have a pint, chat about footy, (and possibly the odd moan), and have a laugh. May be one day!!


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:35 am 
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divas wrote:
Correct, you need to be a direct shareholder in DFC 1883 Ltd. From memory I think there are around a couple of hundred, most who just hold a single share.


Hi Divas,

As you know something of the past history of this shareholder business, I wonder if you could just map out when this all happened and explain the difference between those who are shareholders in Darlington 1883 and those, like myself, who hold community shares. I have to say that I've never been that clear if having community shares gives a person any say in how the club is being run.


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:52 am 
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How much is the minimum BTB contribution?


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:56 am 
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I think you can make one off donations as low as £1, although I think a lot of fans do a monthly direct debit for 10/20/30 quid or so.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:02 pm 
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For all the people getting on board with moving back to the Arena, that's all well and good given the obvious issues with Blackwell.

However, there are at least five massive issues with the Arena that I'm currently not seeing any solutions to:

1. Primacy of tenure - where's Mowden Park's motivation to give us a preferable deal on this?
2. Plastic pitch - would mean we can't be promoted to the Football League. And without that aspiration, where's the motivation?
3. Blackwell Meadows grants - we would have to repay these I believe.
4. How do we get out of the BM lease without it costing us money? The suggestion of paying for both grounds and basing our academy at BM seems barmy to me.
5. Perception - Darlington FC's recent history is synonymous with the negativitiy and chaos of our time at the gargantuan Arena. Our reputation would take a big knock from going back there. This is problematic when trying to attract new sponsors etc.

Moreover, the matchday experience at the Arena is just horrendous.

Until there are answers to these issues, I don't see how anyone can say with any confidence they want to go back to the Arena, particularly given our off-the-field financial fragility.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:05 pm 
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Darlington 1883 Ltd is the company set up to run the football club and has since 2012 made equity (shares) available in order to raise funds. These shares have been purchased by a number of different shareholders, the largest being Darlington 1883 Supporters Society (DFCSG) who have about 85% of the total available equity. The other 15% is made up of fairly small number of individuals who have invested larger lump sums £1K+ ( in 2012 when we needed funds to buy the assets of DFC2009) and a much larger number of individuals (around 200) who hold a single share which was gifted as part of a fundraising activity some years ago (maybe 2014/5). The individuals with larger sums bought shares at £1 per share (apart from the first £70K (I think) who got a 2 for 1 share offer). The individuals with 1 share paid considerably more but received the share as a gift (along with other perks). Voting rights in DFC1883 are on a 1 vote per share basis so someone that has invested £5K will get 5000 votes versus someone who holds 1 gift share who will get 1 vote - both will be invited to the AGM.

These days shares in Darlington 1883 Limited are currently restricted to purchase only by DFCSG in order to grow the shareholding as it can have tax benefits for community share offers if it reaches 90% therefore there is no longer the option for individuals to purchase equity in DFC1883 unless a resolution is passed at an AGM/EGM. As the DFCSG hold a majority share in DFC1883 (75%+) their vote will always be the casting vote therefore the individual shareholders votes are largely irrelevant.

Community Shares are only able to be sold by a community benefit society (CBS) of which the DFCSG is registered. They differ to shares in a limited company as they are repayable under certain conditions and act more as a loan. Your community shares are held in DFCSG (the money is then invested in DFC by DFCSG).

Some time ago the DFCSG undertook an activity to convert individuals equity in DFC1883 into community shares as a way of increasing the DFCSG shareholding in DFC1883 primarily to try and access the tax benefits described above which would make the community share offering more attractive. The articles of DFC1883 (for some reason) stated that shares could be sold but only in full, therefore those who transferred lost their shareholding in DFC1883 and their right to attend the AGM and vote.

To answer your question, having community shares gives you absolutely no say in how the club is run on their own UNLESS you are a member of DFCSG. Being a member of DFCSG allows you to have a say in how the DFCSG is run and given the DFCSG control the football club your day directly influences the club. Membership of DFCSG from a voting perspective is different to holding shares in a company as it is always a one member, one vote scenario. So someone may be a member of DFCSG with £10K community shares and they get the same say as a member of DFCSG with no community shares.

Generally the main way for DFCSG members to have their say is to either stand for election to the DFCSG board or vote on who is appointed to the DFCSG board who will be elected to make decisions on behalf of the membership. There are certain occasions where the DFCSG board will initiate a member vote on very important issues - examples such as changing the club name or moving ground etc rather than decide themselves.

With some important decisions to be made soon it is important that anyone wanting to have a say is a member of the DFCSG at least. Membership is £20 per year (£5 one off joining fee) or £1.67 per month (£2 pm new members for first year). If you’re interested in having much more input then standing for election to the DFCSG board at the AGM towards the end of the year is the way to go.

Hope that helps add a bit of clarity.


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:08 pm 
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Ghost_Of_1883 wrote:
I think you can make one off donations as low as £1, although I think a lot of fans do a monthly direct debit for 10/20/30 quid or so.


Yes, there is no limit to what you put in. It’s simply a donation that goes into DFCSG which is them transferred to the club to help pay the bills basically. The DFCSG have a fundraising platform that makes it easier to participate and also keeps a record of how much is raised but there is nothing stopping anyone just setting up a standing order into either the DFCSG or DFC bank account


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:13 pm 
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divas wrote:
Darlington 1883 Ltd is the company set up to run the football club and has since 2012 made equity (shares) available in order to raise funds. These shares have been purchased by a number of different shareholders, the largest being Darlington 1883 Supporters Society (DFCSG) who have about 85% of the total available equity. The other 15% is made up of fairly small number of individuals who have invested larger lump sums £1K+ ( in 2012 when we needed funds to buy the assets of DFC2009) and a much larger number of individuals (around 200) who hold a single share which was gifted as part of a fundraising activity some years ago (maybe 2014/5). The individuals with larger sums bought shares at £1 per share (apart from the first £70K (I think) who got a 2 for 1 share offer). The individuals with 1 share paid considerably more but received the share as a gift (along with other perks). Voting rights in DFC1883 are on a 1 vote per share basis so someone that has invested £5K will get 5000 votes versus someone who holds 1 gift share who will get 1 vote - both will be invited to the AGM.

These days shares in Darlington 1883 Limited are currently restricted to purchase only by DFCSG in order to grow the shareholding as it can have tax benefits for community share offers if it reaches 90% therefore there is no longer the option for individuals to purchase equity in DFC1883 unless a resolution is passed at an AGM/EGM. As the DFCSG hold a majority share in DFC1883 (75%+) their vote will always be the casting vote therefore the individual shareholders votes are largely irrelevant.

Community Shares are only able to be sold by a community benefit society (CBS) of which the DFCSG is registered. They differ to shares in a limited company as they are repayable under certain conditions and act more as a loan. Your community shares are held in DFCSG (the money is then invested in DFC by DFCSG).

Some time ago the DFCSG undertook an activity to convert individuals equity in DFC1883 into community shares as a way of increasing the DFCSG shareholding in DFC1883 primarily to try and access the tax benefits described above which would make the community share offering more attractive. The articles of DFC1883 (for some reason) stated that shares could be sold but only in full, therefore those who transferred lost their shareholding in DFC1883 and their right to attend the AGM and vote.

To answer your question, having community shares gives you absolutely no say in how the club is run on their own UNLESS you are a member of DFCSG. Being a member of DFCSG allows you to have a say in how the DFCSG is run and given the DFCSG control the football club your day directly influences the club. Membership of DFCSG from a voting perspective is different to holding shares in a company as it is always a one member, one vote scenario. So someone may be a member of DFCSG with £10K community shares and they get the same say as a member of DFCSG with no community shares.


Thanks for the clarification


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:17 pm 
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Good summary Divas.

As a member and CBS shareholder of DFCSG but not a shareholder of the club I can’t attend the AGM which for me would be interesting.

This however does mean I lean on DFCSG for answers/questions if I am intrigued to question something further, would suggest members to do the same and play an active role as much as they can.

Will add to that, any member who hasn’t seen the accounts but wants to them contact DFCSG to send you a copy, as a paid up member this is part benefit of being a member.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:25 pm 
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Darlogramps wrote:
For all the people getting on board with moving back to the Arena, that's all well and good given the obvious issues with Blackwell.

However, there are at least five massive issues with the Arena that I'm currently not seeing any solutions to:

1. Primacy of tenure - where's Mowden Park's motivation to give us a preferable deal on this?
2. Plastic pitch - would mean we can't be promoted to the Football League. And without that aspiration, where's the motivation?
3. Blackwell Meadows grants - we would have to repay these I believe.
4. How do we get out of the BM lease without it costing us money? The suggestion of paying for both grounds and basing our academy at BM seems barmy to me.
5. Perception - Darlington FC's recent history is synonymous with the negativitiy and chaos of our time at the gargantuan Arena. Our reputation would take a big knock from going back there. This is problematic when trying to attract new sponsors etc.

Moreover, the matchday experience at the Arena is just horrendous.

Until there are answers to these issues, I don't see how anyone can say with any confidence they want to go back to the Arena, particularly given our off-the-field financial fragility.


All very valid questions / issues to overcome which is why until there is a cast iron answer to them all there is nothing to decide. The club is working on answering all of those at the moment and it could be that some of the showstoppers are insurmountable and therefore mean that we have no/fewer options. It’s taking a lot of time as you’d expect but the club were keen to show at the AGM that progress is being made in putting some facts & figures behind the options.

My preferred option is a return to the arena temporarily with the agreement that we’re given a piece of land on the SV site that we can over time turn into a ground for us. It then gives us a feasible long term option to get the ground issue sorted for once and all. It’s not going to happen overnight but it would give us something to work towards which I don’t think we have at the moment at BM. Any option is a gamble though, we don’t have the luxury of a fit for purpose ground built that we can plonk ourselves into so we’ve got no choice other than to take a risk at some point, however that risk needs to be mitigated as much as possible by doing the correct due diligence on all options


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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:30 pm 
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Darlogramps wrote:
For all the people getting on board with moving back to the Arena, that's all well and good given the obvious issues with Blackwell.

However, there are at least five massive issues with the Arena that I'm currently not seeing any solutions to:

1. Primacy of tenure - where's Mowden Park's motivation to give us a preferable deal on this?
2. Plastic pitch - would mean we can't be promoted to the Football League. And without that aspiration, where's the motivation?
3. Blackwell Meadows grants - we would have to repay these I believe.
4. How do we get out of the BM lease without it costing us money? The suggestion of paying for both grounds and basing our academy at BM seems barmy to me.
5. Perception - Darlington FC's recent history is synonymous with the negativitiy and chaos of our time at the gargantuan Arena. Our reputation would take a big knock from going back there. This is problematic when trying to attract new sponsors etc.

Moreover, the matchday experience at the Arena is just horrendous.

Until there are answers to these issues, I don't see how anyone can say with any confidence they want to go back to the Arena, particularly given our off-the-field financial fragility.


Obviously a move to the Arena can only happen if the first 4 points can be solved, particularly points 1 & 2.

Points 1 & 2 - it's simply a no goer if we cannot have primacy of tenure or a grass pitch. That is an insurmountable obstacle for us. That's not our fault, it's not Mowden's fault, it's the FA and EFL's fault. So those behind the sporting village are going to have to accept this reality if they want DFC to be a part of it. If we're not needed as part of the SV then we're truly stuffed because we have no leverage.

Points 3 & 4 - yep, how do we get out of Blackwell without paying what will be hundreds of thousands of pounds? This can only be resolved if we're badly needed at the SV and we can get financial assistance because of it. Again, if we're not needed for this to go ahead, or if we're expected to massively pay our way just to ground share and not really get too much more out of it than we do at BM, then we're screwed.

Point 5 - I agree with your sentiment but TBH that's the least of our worries. For me, I'd go back there if it were ever possible, and if it was financially viable.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:44 pm 
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I would like to add a little sub clause onto point 2.

Plastic pitches are not universally popular amongst our fan base. This point has been discussed at length on this board before so there’s no need to go at it again however the fact remains that a proportion of fans (myself included) would not like this arrangement.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:44 pm 
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divas wrote:
Darlogramps wrote:
For all the people getting on board with moving back to the Arena, that's all well and good given the obvious issues with Blackwell.

However, there are at least five massive issues with the Arena that I'm currently not seeing any solutions to:

1. Primacy of tenure - where's Mowden Park's motivation to give us a preferable deal on this?
2. Plastic pitch - would mean we can't be promoted to the Football League. And without that aspiration, where's the motivation?
3. Blackwell Meadows grants - we would have to repay these I believe.
4. How do we get out of the BM lease without it costing us money? The suggestion of paying for both grounds and basing our academy at BM seems barmy to me.
5. Perception - Darlington FC's recent history is synonymous with the negativitiy and chaos of our time at the gargantuan Arena. Our reputation would take a big knock from going back there. This is problematic when trying to attract new sponsors etc.

Moreover, the matchday experience at the Arena is just horrendous.

Until there are answers to these issues, I don't see how anyone can say with any confidence they want to go back to the Arena, particularly given our off-the-field financial fragility.


All very valid questions / issues to overcome which is why until there is a cast iron answer to them all there is nothing to decide. The club is working on answering all of those at the moment and it could be that some of the showstoppers are insurmountable and therefore mean that we have no/fewer options. It’s taking a lot of time as you’d expect but the club were keen to show at the AGM that progress is being made in putting some facts & figures behind the options.

My preferred option is a return to the arena temporarily with the agreement that we’re given a piece of land on the SV site that we can over time turn into a ground for us. It then gives us a feasible long term option to get the ground issue sorted for once and all. It’s not going to happen overnight but it would give us something to work towards which I don’t think we have at the moment at BM. Any option is a gamble though, we don’t have the luxury of a fit for purpose ground built that we can plonk ourselves into so we’ve got no choice other than to take a risk at some point, however that risk needs to be mitigated as much as possible by doing the correct due diligence on all options


Very interesting if we got a parcel of land to develop at the SV, that could potentially make the move to the Arena on a plastic pitch palatable because let's face it in the next 5 years we're very unlikely to be promoted to the football league - and in the meantime we could be developing that ground which would be suitable for the football league.

Perhaps if we have a permanent home there we could borrow some money towards the build? Perhaps we could move our stands from BM to the SV? The Tin Shed would be perfectly acceptable for one end, as it is at BM. The seated stand, although it looks stupid as fuck at BM because of where it's sited, in a new build at least it could be sited in the middle, maybe with a bit of terrace either side, or maybe with 2 extra modules to make it a full pitch length stand. Then you have 2 sides to build proper permanent stands, maybe one seated and one terraced. We've just got the small matter of finding 5-10 million quid to make it happen somehow.

And you never know, if we're at the Arena temporarily on an artificial pitch, and it turns out that we just can't come up with a FL standard ground by the time we got promoted (if ever), by then the EFL may allow artificial pitches anyway.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:48 pm 
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Darlogramps wrote:
For all the people getting on board with moving back to the Arena, that's all well and good given the obvious issues with Blackwell.

However, there are at least five massive issues with the Arena that I'm currently not seeing any solutions to:

1. Primacy of tenure - where's Mowden Park's motivation to give us a preferable deal on this?
2. Plastic pitch - would mean we can't be promoted to the Football League. And without that aspiration, where's the motivation?
3. Blackwell Meadows grants - we would have to repay these I believe.
4. How do we get out of the BM lease without it costing us money? The suggestion of paying for both grounds and basing our academy at BM seems barmy to me.
5. Perception - Darlington FC's recent history is synonymous with the negativitiy and chaos of our time at the gargantuan Arena. Our reputation would take a big knock from going back there. This is problematic when trying to attract new sponsors etc.

Moreover, the matchday experience at the Arena is just horrendous.

Until there are answers to these issues, I don't see how anyone can say with any confidence they want to go back to the Arena, particularly given our off-the-field financial fragility.


To try and address your individual points with the latest info I have:

1) This is still a issue and is the number one blocker to ever playing back in the arena (even temporarily which i’d hope it was if we ever had to go back). Apparently DFC have spent a lot of time discussing this with the National League and there is no budging. I believe Mowden are doing the same from their side at the moment. As others have pointed out in the past other rugby and football clubs share but our problem is purely down to the leagues both teams play in as the rule is set by the league rather than the governing body)

2) Again the football club has been in discussions with the football league about this who have provided evidence of the issues of plastic pitches on player health/performance. In short it’s certainly not likely they will change their stance any time soon. It’s pretty certain that a plastic pitch at the arena will happen as its central to their business plan. However this one is less of a worry in the short to medium term as it would need us to get to the FL before that would be a problem. As long as the deal at the SV was Arena as a temp solution and to be given a pitch and floodlights which we then develop it’s not an issue as you just prioritise spending in the ground before spending on the team like FCUM. As long as you actually have a strategy it’s not a problem.

3) My understanding is that the grants stipulate that football has to be played there for the grants to stand. This is fairly easily accomplished with the academy playing there for instance and as long as we have a lease / are paying rent the rugby club couldn’t prevent that. However this is still quite a big grey area and one that needs some more detail as this is hearsay which isn’t always totally correct

4) Its likely that we’ll need to continue to pay £30K per year rent to the rugby club until the end of the 20 year lease. While this is far from ideal I don’t think it causes too much of an issue, it’s a fairly low number when you consider it equates to an extra 150 on the average attendance which you might actually get from returning to the arena. I know a lot of us hate it with good reason but I believe there is another demographic that probably prefer it to BM. The Arena is in a poor state atm but there is funding and plans to improve it. Also back to point 3 - if we’re still paying rent at BM I’d say it gives a better chance of not having to repay grants.

5) I actually disagree with this. If we consider the Arena as-is then maybe it would be problematic but let’s take a step back and consider the SV aspect and the huge investment that’s going into the whole site - this will transform the site completely adding retail and leisure facilities that will hopefully mean the stadium isn’t the white elephant it currently is and with the introduction of more concerts it actually starts to become more of an asset as a community stadium in turn raising exposure. I firmly believe that there will be a great deal of inertia around the SV concept and companies will be interested in getting involved as opposed to our current landlords and their amateurish and negative approach to any change.

In my mind the biggest issue I have is one which you haven’t addressed around sustainability. The plan to build a 4G pitch to generate non matchday revenue in order to support the club and give us a budget that could sustain us in the National league was sound imo and we can’t do that at the SV. We thefore need to come up with another plan as to how we develop other revenue streams - as above I think part of this will be commercial income directly into the club but we do need something else otherwise we’ll just be playing in the NLN at the SV when we could be doing that at BM


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:53 pm 
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theoriginalfatcat wrote:
I would like to add a little sub clause onto point 2.

Plastic pitches are not universally popular amongst our fan base. This point has been discussed at length on this board before so there’s no need to go at it again however the fact remains that a proportion of fans (myself included) would not like this arrangement.


At the end of the day, if artificial pitches are ever allowed in the league, and if the sharing at the Arena on an artificial pitch does turn out to be the best option for the long term security of the club, then fans who don't like artificial pitches will have to accept it for the greater good.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:58 pm 
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Ghost_Of_1883 wrote:
theoriginalfatcat wrote:
I would like to add a little sub clause onto point 2.

Plastic pitches are not universally popular amongst our fan base. This point has been discussed at length on this board before so there’s no need to go at it again however the fact remains that a proportion of fans (myself included) would not like this arrangement.


At the end of the day, if artificial pitches are ever allowed in the league, and if the sharing at the Arena on an artificial pitch does turn out to be the best option for the long term security of the club, then fans who don't like artificial pitches will have to accept it for the greater good.


Correct, it’s not like we’re turning down the opportunity to play at a purpose built 5k capacity stadium with a lush green carpet in favour of a move to the soulless arena with a plastic pitch. We’re having to deal with the s*** cards we have and somehow try to turn our pair of two’s into a winning hand.

I just have a gut feel (and that’s all it is at the moment) that we’ve got more chance of gaining some much needed momentum in terms of attracting new and lapsed fans by providing a better product by moving away from those lot at the BM who have absolutely zero ambition and joining with a group of folk who definitely do.

Whilst I wouldn’t have touched the groundshare with MP at the Arena with a barge pole before due to their financial position and the likelihood they’d go pop and we’d be fucked too it’s a much different proposition now with the way the company running the SV will be structured and the companies that will be involved. Add to that the opportunity for us to build something more befitting to our needs on the site and it’s a lot more attractive that it was


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:04 pm 
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On No3 I’ve heard Mr Johnson mention that as long as football is played and that includes junior football then FSIF would not be asking for their funding back.
Personally it wouldn’t bother me to play at the Arena for a few seasons as we can then have a proper strategy to develop a smaller stadium bit by bit. With a 100 year lease or something like that it would also be more of interest for any outside investor.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:07 pm 
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Building the club house would be he big initial cost, we may have to be productive in how we fund this.

Let’s be honest it’s beyond our group of fans to raise that kind of cash on our own, we need someone who is willing to support funding on a possible long term payback option.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:11 pm 
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divas wrote:
Darlogramps wrote:
For all the people getting on board with moving back to the Arena, that's all well and good given the obvious issues with Blackwell.

However, there are at least five massive issues with the Arena that I'm currently not seeing any solutions to:

1. Primacy of tenure - where's Mowden Park's motivation to give us a preferable deal on this?
2. Plastic pitch - would mean we can't be promoted to the Football League. And without that aspiration, where's the motivation?
3. Blackwell Meadows grants - we would have to repay these I believe.
4. How do we get out of the BM lease without it costing us money? The suggestion of paying for both grounds and basing our academy at BM seems barmy to me.
5. Perception - Darlington FC's recent history is synonymous with the negativitiy and chaos of our time at the gargantuan Arena. Our reputation would take a big knock from going back there. This is problematic when trying to attract new sponsors etc.

Moreover, the matchday experience at the Arena is just horrendous.

Until there are answers to these issues, I don't see how anyone can say with any confidence they want to go back to the Arena, particularly given our off-the-field financial fragility.


To try and address your individual points with the latest info I have:

1) This is still a issue and is the number one blocker to ever playing back in the arena (even temporarily which i’d hope it was if we ever had to go back). Apparently DFC have spent a lot of time discussing this with the National League and there is no budging. I believe Mowden are doing the same from their side at the moment. As others have pointed out in the past other rugby and football clubs share but our problem is purely down to the leagues both teams play in as the rule is set by the league rather than the governing body)


My understanding of the situation at other grounds where 2 clubs share (rugby and football) is that they shared before the rules ready primacy were introduced and as such they are exempted from the rules which apply to ground shares after rules were introduced
Quote:

2) Again the football club has been in discussions with the football league about this who have provided evidence of the issues of plastic pitches on player health/performance. In short it’s certainly not likely they will change their stance any time soon. It’s pretty certain that a plastic pitch at the arena will happen as its central to their business plan. However this one is less of a worry in the short to medium term as it would need us to get to the FL before that would be a problem. As long as the deal at the SV was Arena as a temp solution and to be given a pitch and floodlights which we then develop it’s not an issue as you just prioritise spending in the ground before spending on the team like FCUM. As long as you actually have a strategy it’s not a problem.

3) My understanding is that the grants stipulate that football has to be played there for the grants to stand. This is fairly easily accomplished with the academy playing there for instance and as long as we have a lease / are paying rent the rugby club couldn’t prevent that. However this is still quite a big grey area and one that needs some more detail as this is hearsay which isn’t always totally correct

I am not sure that playing an academy ten will suffice, because level of Grant was made on basis of team being inNLN and NPL. An academy could not have accessed same level of grants etc... But as Divas says we are all speculating on this.

One definite thing is that if grants are to be repaid, the amount is tapered over time, so that by time any move took place if grants are to be repaid, it will be considerably less than full amount. So it may not be as big a problem as some fear
Quote:

4) Its likely that we’ll need to continue to pay £30K per year rent to the rugby club until the end of the 20 year lease. While this is far from ideal I don’t think it causes too much of an issue, it’s a fairly low number when you consider it equates to an extra 150 on the average attendance which you might actually get from returning to the arena. I know a lot of us hate it with good reason but I believe there is another demographic that probably prefer it to BM. The Arena is in a poor state atm but there is funding and plans to improve it. Also back to point 3 - if we’re still paying rent at BM I’d say it gives a better chance of not having to repay grants.

Most leases have break clauses at regular intervals, allowing parties to end lease early. It was said that Darlington FC only had a licence to use ground not a lease. It is almost certain that DFC would not have to pay rent for the full term of the licence, only until the break clause is activated
Quote:

5) I actually disagree with this. If we consider the Arena as-is then maybe it would be problematic but let’s take a step back and consider the SV aspect and the huge investment that’s going into the whole site - this will transform the site completely adding retail and leisure facilities that will hopefully mean the stadium isn’t the white elephant it currently is and with the introduction of more concerts it actually starts to become more of an asset as a community stadium in turn raising exposure. I firmly believe that there will be a great deal of inertia around the SV concept and companies will be interested in getting involved as opposed to our current landlords and their amateurish and negative approach to any change.

In my mind the biggest issue I have is one which you haven’t addressed around sustainability. The plan to build a 4G pitch to generate non matchday revenue in order to support the club and give us a budget that could sustain us in the National league was sound imo and we can’t do that at the SV. We thefore need to come up with another plan as to how we develop other revenue streams - as above I think part of this will be commercial income directly into the club but we do need something else otherwise we’ll just be playing in the NLN at the SV when we could be doing that at BM

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:16 pm 
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divas wrote:
Ghost_Of_1883 wrote:
theoriginalfatcat wrote:
I would like to add a little sub clause onto point 2.

Plastic pitches are not universally popular amongst our fan base. This point has been discussed at length on this board before so there’s no need to go at it again however the fact remains that a proportion of fans (myself included) would not like this arrangement.


At the end of the day, if artificial pitches are ever allowed in the league, and if the sharing at the Arena on an artificial pitch does turn out to be the best option for the long term security of the club, then fans who don't like artificial pitches will have to accept it for the greater good.


Correct, it’s not like we’re turning down the opportunity to play at a purpose built 5k capacity stadium with a lush green carpet in favour of a move to the soulless arena with a plastic pitch. We’re having to deal with the s*** cards we have and somehow try to turn our pair of two’s into a winning hand.

I just have a gut feel (and that’s all it is at the moment) that we’ve got more chance of gaining some much needed momentum in terms of attracting new and lapsed fans by providing a better product by moving away from those lot at the BM who have absolutely zero ambition and joining with a group of folk who definitely do.

Whilst I wouldn’t have touched the groundshare with MP at the Arena with a barge pole before due to their financial position and the likelihood they’d go pop and we’d be fucked too it’s a much different proposition now with the way the company running the SV will be structured and the companies that will be involved. Add to that the opportunity for us to build something more befitting to our needs on the site and it’s a lot more attractive that it was


I'm beginning to like the sound of this. Move to the Arena with the plan being only to ground share the main pitch for however many seasons that it would take us to develop our own ground. Just that alone sounds more appealing than BM.

It would obviously be a pisser having to pay 30k rent for the next 18 years or so to DRFC, but those years soon roll over. To be fair they had to pay something (I think they had to borrow money) towards developing BM and will need that income from us as it will have been part of their business plan. We can't just fuck off and drop them in it.

One way of looking at the 30k though is this - over the next few seasons the 500 club STs will expire and as some of those fans start to buy ordinary STs then our yearly income will increase enough to cover that 30k p.a.

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 Post subject: Re: AGM
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:23 pm 
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Ghost_Of_1883 wrote:
theoriginalfatcat wrote:
I would like to add a little sub clause onto point 2.

Plastic pitches are not universally popular amongst our fan base. This point has been discussed at length on this board before so there’s no need to go at it again however the fact remains that a proportion of fans (myself included) would not like this arrangement.


At the end of the day, if artificial pitches are ever allowed in the league, and if the sharing at the Arena on an artificial pitch does turn out to be the best option for the long term security of the club, then fans who don't like artificial pitches will have to accept it for the greater good.


I also think this belief of "Plastic pitches are bad" is rather antiquated, and based on memories of the plastic pitches of the 1980s. Nowadays 3G/4G pitches are far more developed, to the extent most Premier League clubs have hybrid pitches which contain plastic (not to the extent of a full-on 4G pitch of course, but the point is plastic is actually widely used in pitches). This development will continue and improve over time. It really won't be an issue, unless someone wants to make it one. In which case that's their choice and we'll have to do without them.

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