The Club Must Move On
by Scott Thornberry - 19th September 2009
by Raj Singh
It’s disappointing to hear a lot of unfounded accusations surrounding Darlington FC recently and I’d like to set the record straight.
I’m sick and tired of hearing rumours that George Houghton is still involved in this football club and that this is keeping a lot of fans away. It’s also upsetting to hear stories that I’m working alongside Mr Houghton, and that I’m only in this for the development of the land.
I will say it again, this football club and the development land are NOT the Gold Mine that some people think it is. It’s not possible for anyone who owns the club to make any kind of profit whatsoever – this is a fact, no matter how well the business is run. What I’m trying to do is to balance the books so that the club doesn’t end up back where it’s TWICE been in recent years.
Admittedly, we are finding it difficult and results on the pitch haven’t been what we were hoping for. At the same time, though, we knew it was always going to be a difficult season, which was always going to be about survival.
I’ve always been a huge football fan, I love the game, and Darlington has always, in my eyes, been a community club for the town and the people. I’m a football fan with an ambitious business streak and I saw taking Darlington on as a challenge and I thought I could make a difference – they’re the only, genuine reasons I’m involved.
I’ve said from day one that I will stay as long as the fans want me to, as it was their support last season and during the summer which is one of the main factors in me being here in the first place.
But there seems to be a cancer on this club which keeps dragging it down, regardless of what happens on the pitch, and the club will not be able to move on unless this problem is removed.
We’re grateful that we have a hardcore of supporters, around 2,000, who will come and watch Darlington whatever the weather, and however the team is doing. The club couldn’t possibly survive without those, and we’re always grateful to them.
But it seems to me that there are other less-connected “fans”, if they can call themselves that, who are trying to drive a wedge between us.
I was gutted for the fans who made the trip to Accrington Stanley last Friday night. We really do appreciate what they give up to watch their club. I just hope they stick with us, I’m sure they will, and don’t become disaffected by those who are trying to hurt the club, rather than get behind us.
Our supporters need to understand that we can only cut our coat to suit our cloth. Every single penny that comes through the tills is going into the running of the football club. So it’s quite simple, if we can’t achieve crowds of 3,000, then we can’t compete with the majority of League Two. We’re already down on our projected figures this season, which were based on last season.
But I’m not going to panic because, in football and in business, things don’t always go according to plan. When there are decisions to be made, on the playing side and the non-playing side of the club, I will not be afraid to make them, when the time is right.
Finally, may I welcome the players, management and directors of Bournemouth to the Arena today. I would like to congratulate them on their success up to now this season, as well as last season – they’re a fine example to everyone at this level of what a football club can achieve when everyone sticks together and digs deep when the chips are down.
I hope everyone enjoys the game.