Light At The End Of Darlington’s Tunnel

The phrase “emotional rollercoaster” is one that is overused in football these days, but the supporters of Darlington FC are rapidly becoming more than familiar with the term after another week in which their club sailed close to extinction before receiving confirmation from its joint administrator that it had permission to continue to trade – and therefore play – until the end of this season. Two weeks ago, there were frantic scenes at the club as it desperately sought to raise £50,000 in order to continue to trade for a further three matches. In the pitch, the team could muster just one point from those three matches, but the value of the time that this money bought the club has proved to be critical. This week started with BBC One in the north-east of England broadcasting an episode of its regional current affairs programme Inside Out which featured subject of the battle to save the club (UK residents can watch it on BBC iPlayer here). Amongst those interviewed therein was Paul Wildes, the Yorkshire-based property developer and venture capitalist whose bid had emerged as the front-runner to rescue the club. Yet while Wildes’ platitudes in front of the cameras regarding the future of the club hit the right keys, the supporters’ reaction to him had been lukewarm. Darlington supporters have seen white knights ride in to attempt to save...

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