Day: January 4, 2012

Darlington FC Hangs By A Thread

The news came through with startling speed, another rumour that swelled to an almost bewildering succession of public statements in just a few short hours. At the end of yesterday, the battle-wearied supporters of Darlington FC could only step back, blinking, and survey the wreckage. Their club has been pushed into administration for the third time in less than ten years, and the prognosis for its future looks bleak. This time, there may be no way of swerving the icy cold grip of professional football’s equivalent to the grim reaper, the liquidator. The announcements started with one from the club itself. Whether chairman Raj Singh will be adjudged by those that return to this story in years to come as more sinned against than a sinner is a question for another day. What was unmistakable about the club’s official statement was more than a hint of regret and trepidation about the decision to hand the club’s managerial affairs over to an insolvency specialist. This club has, after all, been here before twice and there can be few associated with the club that are not already aware of the extent to which the club’s two previous encounters with administration were dances with the devil, and that with each spell in administration the chances of being able to survive a future insolvency event become exponentially more and more remote. Next came...

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A Good Time To Bury Bad News For Port Vale

It is virtually impossible to forecast the next misdemeanour, potential or otherwise, to emerge from Port Vale’s boardroom, without descending into the realms of bad-taste fantasy (one of the major protagonists revealing themselves to be a woman trapped in a man’s body, for example). Presumably believing Christmas to be “a week to bury bad news,” Vale chairman Peter Miller informed everyone, including all fellow board members apparently, that he’d re-mortgaged the club’s Vale Park ground to facilitate a £277,000 loan covering “short-term” cashflow problems, caused by the collapse of the much-vaunted “investment deal” with American sports turf firm Blue Sky International (BS). Vale fans whose cynicism dwarfed their arithmetical ability immediately assumed the money would pay for the £350,000 worth of Vale shares that Miller and chief executive Perry Deakin claimed to own – and used to vote each other onto the board in the autumn. This theory was only debunked when Deakin revealed that he had never paid for and never owned those shares. This came in a lengthy interview with the local Sentinel newspaper last week, during which Deakin all-but-said “I was only obeying orders” during months of spin, disingenuousness and downright untruths. And in the midst of all this, the board casually announced that Miller’s three-month term as chairman was to end on New Year’s Eve – the three-month term that was previously mentioned by the...

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