DARLINGTON FC's fundraising drive has been boosted by an investment from the team's manager.

Martin Gray has become the latest person to buy shares in the Quakers as the club looks to fund a return to its home town.

Mr Gray has managed the club since May 2012, steering the team to become Northern League champions at the first attempt last season.

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The team is currently in fourth in the EvoStik Division One North and pushing for promotion, following a run of 11 games without defeat including ten wins.

Mr Gray said: “My heart has always been in Darlington FC and I’m proud to offer some financial support to sustain the club and help it to get back home to Darlington.”

The manager said he had an ambitious five-year plan to get the club back up the leagues, adding: “With a home ground in the town, the club can really push on and make the most of the commercial opportunities that being back in Darlington will bring.”

The club hopes to raise a minimum of £50,000 with the eventual target being set at £150,000.

Three fundraising initiatives have been launched to appeal to all fans depending on their personal circumstances and offering associated rewards for investing.

Mr Gray praised the effort made by fans and businesses, who have so far pledged to invest more than £35,000 during the latest fundraising drive.

The manager added: “Darlington fans and local businesses know all too well how hard recent times have been with the football club.

“Many have lived through three administrations and are determined that the club, now fan-owned and based in the heart of the community, will hopefully never be in that situation again.”

Thanking the manager for the investment, the club's chief executive, Martin Jesper, said: “Martin has always shown great loyalty and commitment to the football club, both on and off the field.

“His generosity has given a clear message of support to sustaining the club financially.”