Monday, April 24, 2017

Message from the DFCSG Chair

Fans Forum

If you were present at the Fans Forum on Friday, or are an avid consumer of social media, or a reader of the Northern Echo, you will be aware that Martin Gray expressed his opinion that Darlington Football Club has reached a pinnacle as a fan-owned entity and for the Club to progress it would need private investment. He went to say that he has been speaking to a couple of wealthy people that are interested in investing large sums of money in the Football Club to drive the club towards the Football League with Martin Gray at the helm in return for 51% of the share capital. This announcement came totally out of the blue to the DFCSG board, which is why it has taken a little time to draft a communication to our members.

At the time of the meeting, the board of DFCSG had not been approached by anyone wishing to invest in the Football Club. Subsequent to that meeting we have been approached by such an individual.We are duty bound to listen to what they have got to say before presenting the facts and potential implications to our members. As DFCSG possesses 77% of the share capital of Darlington Football Club, there could not be any changes of ownership without the say so of the members of DFCSG. We will be liaising with Supporters Direct to ensure that we correctly interpret our own DFCSG rules with regard to this issue.

Fundraising Launch

Also at Friday’s forum we launched a very important fundraising drive but unfortunately it seems to have been completely overshadowed by Martin Gray’s opinions about a change of ownership.

We launched two fundraising schemes to help Martin Gray and his team compete on the pitch whilst ensuring that the Club remains on a sound financial footing and to bring the Blackwell Meadows infrastructure up to a grade where we can progress to the next level.

For all of the details, please follow this link:

https://fundraising.darlingtonfcsupportersgroup.org/

Some fans have raised questions about whether they should participate in the fundraising whilst there is uncertainty about the future ownership of the Football Club. Our answer is definitely ‘Yes’ because it could be several months before these uncertainties are resolved and by then the windows of opportunity to secure the upgrading of the pitch and also to provide additional support to Martin Gray’s playing budget so that he can take decisions about shaping his squad for next season could have passed by then.

At this moment in time, the DFCSG board has absolutely no idea what might transpire in terms of external investment. However, in the event that the ownership model changes after the first stage target of the Community Share issue has been reached and the pitch upgrade is secured, any investments in the Community Shares at that point will be safe because there will be a binding agreement with repayment plan in place between the Football Club and the DFCSG for the loan of the funds for the pitch upgrade. This in turn will allow DFCSG to repay Community Share investors in line with the terms of the Community Share issue.

We will endeavour to keep members updated of any changes in circumstances as soon as we are able to. Meanwhile, if you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Wayne Raper
Chair DFCSG

Help take Darlo to the next level!

Darlington FC Supporters Group (DFCSG) have launched their fundraising drive to upgrade the Blackwell Meadows facilities to enable promotion to the National League when the opportunity should arise. The plans include the installation of 224 seats covered seats adjacent to the existing seated stand which will raise the overall seated capacity to over 500 together with a brand new pitch and drainage. Both of these works were intended to have taken place during the initial move to Blackwell Meadows but weren’t viable due to the increased cost of the move home.

The total cost needed to push forward with the developments stands at £193,000 and is structured into 4 phases:

1) Pitch and drainage: £42,000 by 15th May 2017
2) 224 additional covered seats: £150,000. This will be split into 3 parts:

a. Ground works to enable the construction - £50,000 by 31st July 2017
b. Erection of steelworks and cladding - £50,000 by 30th September 2017
c. Purchase of seating deck - £50,000 by 31st December 2017

The above timelines if met will allow the Club to have the infrastructure in place to fit the criteria for promotion. In the event of promotion the Club would then have until 31st March in the year after promotion to bring the ground up to Category A which would mean additional demands in order to raise the capacity to 4,000 from the current 3,299. It is envisaged a terrace built part way across the West end would achieve this although design and planning is not yet finalised in this regard.

The fundraising will be targeted using the previously successful Community Share scheme which allows supporters of the Club and local community to invest into the project by way of a long term loan. Community Shares can be cashed out provided funds are available from year 5 onwards and also attract a small investment payment. The first Community Share offer which raised £100,000 towards the move back to Darlington is currently being accrued for at £5,000 per year and year one funds are in place.

In addition to upgrading the Blackwell Meadows the Group have launched a “Boost The Budget” scheme designed to allow Martin Gray to retain the squad which has performed well this season in the upper reaches of the National League North. As income for the 2016/7 season has fallen short of the required amount to sustain the playing budget set unless there is additional non-operational revenue.

As a fan owned Club we have the opportunity to all put in a small amount to make a big difference. 500 fans committing to £3 a week would raise £75,000 over the course of the season and ensure that Martin could be given a similar budget to this season with hopefully similar results on the pitch.

For those interested in investing in the future of Darlington Football Club you can find additional information and subscribe to both schemes at:

 http://fundraising.darlingtonfcsupportersgroup.org

The DFCSG will be announcing very shortly the plan for those of you who would like to invest offline which will be available from the middle of the week.

Regarding the external investors mentioned at the fans forum we were not made aware of this development in advance and are currently in the process of gathering the facts. A further update will follow shortly.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Statement by Darlington Football Club Supporters Group

Statement by Darlington Football Club Supporters Group (DFCSG) about participation in 2016/17 National League North Play-Offs

Today the National League confirmed to Darlington Football Club that we will not be eligible to participate in the promotion play-offs. This is due to having an insufficient number of permanent covered seating at Blackwell Meadows. Further to the statement issued by Darlington Football Club, DFCSG have issued the following;

Thanks to your investment as fans, the foundations are now in place for us to build a Football Club that is financially stable and playing football at the highest sustainable level. And, even more importantly, to safeguard the future of Darlington Football Club for generations to come.

We share the disappointment of the fans who we represent, and the frustration that Martin and coaching team, playing staff and everyone connected with the club are feeling. The DFCSG board works closely with the board of Darlington Football Club and both sets of directors are ultimately accountable to the fans who own the club.

The DFCSG board continues to have full faith and confidence in the current directors of Darlington Football Club and wishes to publicly acknowledge the outstanding contribution they have made to the continued progress of the club. Part of their job is to make difficult and sensitive decisions in the long term interest of the club.

As a collective, we need to remember how far this club has progressed since 2012. To even be in contention for a play-off position in Step 2 is a huge achievement. Martin and the team deserve enormous credit for punching above their weight on the pitch.

The current Football Club directors deserve equal credit for managing to balance the books, complete the initial development of Blackwell Meadows to Category B standard and provide a competitive playing budget.

We ask fans to consider;

  • Every effort was made by the directors to explore alternative options and the club have been in discussion with the league for some time
  • The move to Blackwell Meadows cost considerably more than originally budgeted for and required additional Football Stadia Improvement Funding grants. The current directors inherited this situation
  • In general to date, every possible penny of the operating income has been provided to support the playing budget. If funds were to be diverted to employ full time directors or club secretary, e.g. a secretary would be in the region of £30k, this would restrict the playing budget significantly.
  • Provision of the additional 200 seats will cost in the region of £150k
  • The impractical time-scales, to raise funds for, procure and construct a stand extension
  • Taking the club to Step 1 and developing the physical infrastructure to remain there without being relegated by the league, is likely to require in total c. £500k.

Now is the time to stabilise and build the infrastructure that will allow us to be competitive when we achieve promotion. One reason this situation has come about is a result of constant turnover of the club directors with little handover. DFCSG are working with the current board to create support roles and mitigate the chance of circumstances such as this occurring in future.

As per our recent email to members, the next Community Share Offer will be announced shortly. This will raise funds for us to develop Blackwell Meadows to satisfy additional ground grading requirements, whilst detailing the overall strategy and rolling 5 year plan.

Monday, April 3, 2017

We are DARLINGTON….

….say we are Darlington!

For most we’ve always been Darlington FC and always will be but today’s FA ruling rubber stamps from the beginning of next season and will end 5 full seasons of having to play under the Darlington 1883 tag - constantly battling with league tables showing those pesky digits and mischievous rival teams often including them. We now have just 6 games until Darlington 1883 will be no more and we can continue forward our bright fan owned era with our rightful playing name.

Thanks goes to all DFCSG members who voted in our poll - proving to the FA the level of importance that this decision held and also the various supporter organisations such as Supporters Direct who championed our cause.

And a special thanks must of course go to the DFC Directors, in particular Jonathan Jowett who put together the case to the FA for the name change to be considered and ultimately accepted.

TO BE ADVISED

DATE TO BE ADVISED

Click here for travel information

The DFCSG - strengthening the roots of our club

The DFCSG created and manage the B2D fund, which is funding available to help establish the Club back in Darlington. The fund acts as the primary collection pot for monies raised from direct donations and events organised by the DFCSG Fundraising Group.

Of course, there are many ways in which you can help the club directly but, if you’re specifically looking for a quick and easy way to support the establishment of a solid foundation for the Club in its new home, then it only takes a few minutes to set up a one-off or regular donation to the B2D Fund either by your online or high street banking service.

For monthly standing orders or a one off donation please send monies to the following account:

“Darlington FC Supporters Group”
Lloyds Bank
Sort code: 30-84-43
Account No: 30283268

To pay by cheque please make cheque payable to
“Darlington FC Supporters Group” and send to

Darlington FC Supporters Group
c/o Blackwell Meadows
Grange Road
Darlington
County Durham
DL1 5NR

Please quote your name in the reference area when using internet banking and, on the back of your cheque, include your name and address.

Remember there are many ways to help the Club… can you think of any more? Please tell us about it either by email or in person at the Fans Table in the bar at all home games.

  • Buying a Season Ticket helps to provide the Manager with additional funding needed to strengthen the team at the start of each new season
  • Attending matches provides the club with a constant stream of money throughout the season, from additional match-day ticket sales and revenues from catering and other sales (e.g. programme sales, match-day raffle tickets, 50:50 match-day draw, Club merchandise).
  • The Come On Darlo Prediction League is a fun way to add a little bit of an edge to your season - use your skill and judgement to predict how we and the other local clubs will do in the coming season, and who will be the big winners and losers nationally, come the end of the season.
  • The Sponsor a Goal scheme is a fan-run initiative which has raised over £8000 for the Club since it began in season 2012-13.
  • For as little as £5/month the DFC Fans Lottery Draw provides you with the chance to win either £50 in each weekly draw, or even more in the monthly Super Draw. The Lottery has raised more than £10,000 for the Club over the past 12 months.
  • The Fundraising Group runs a series of entertainment fundraising events over the year, the proceeds of which go into the B2D fund.
The Darlington FC Supporters Group (DFCSG) was established on April 10th 2015 with the merger of the CIC, Supporters Club and Supporters Trust. Darlington FC Supporters Group holds approximately 62% of the equity of Darlington Football Club and is therefore the major shareholder as well as being the Corporate Director of Darlington Football Club 1883 Ltd.

quaker-retail-160x200.jpgQuaker Retail is the club shop and is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 1pm in the foyer at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington Marketplace.

To contact the shop either telephone 07717345004 (only available during shop opening hours) or send an email to:

You can also shop online at http://darlingtonfootballclub.co.uk/shop/

Join the DFCSG

Join the DFCSG online right now and have a say in the future of your club.

 

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Contact us

If you have any questions for the DFCSG Board, or would like to get more involved by contributing your thoughts or ideas on how to make our Club even more successful, or if you have any other matter that you’d like to raise or perhaps even stand for election to the DFCSG Board then you can contact us here.