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Darlington unveil plans to buy 250-seat stand
THE Quakers have revealed plans to buy a stand which would increase seating at their temporary home and move with the club when it returns to Darlington.
Community company Darlington FC 1883 (DFC 1883) is looking to purchase a 250- seater stand to be initially erected at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park.
It would then be dismantled and re-erected when a permanent home in Darlington was found, said DFC 1883 chairman Denis Pinnegar.
Mr Pinnegar said the £42,000 cost would be covered by working capital and from sponsorship.
One proposal is to charge fans £100 to sponsor a seat which would give them the option of reserving that seat for five years.
The club, working with Bishop Auckland FC, is hoping that planning permission for the improvements can be fast-tracked through in time for the start of next season.
An alternative option of buying a second-hand stand, which may be quicker to arrange, is also being considered.
Mr Pinnegar said: “We had an average attendance of 1,400 to 1,600 last year and 600 of those were concessions.
“We have quite a lot of elderly and disabled supporters and we want to provide suitable accommodation for them.”
The club confirmed last night that informal discussion had been held with a representative of Evo-Stik about a shirt sponsorship deal for next season.
Craig McKenna, DFC 1883 project manager, said that the discussions would not go any further until after the FA appeal hearing, which takes place on Thursday, when football bosses will decide which league the club plays in next season. In a further development, Quakers legend David Hodgson has agreed to sit on an advisory group helping the DFC 1883 board.
Mr Hodgson said that he had been hugely impressed by Mr Pinnegar and the board, which he said were operating with total transparency.
The former manager said that the club’s recent financial problems had been no surprise to him.
He added: “This football club has been teetering on disaster for many years.
“It has been through some bad ownership and bad leadership and it was always going to end one way.
“But the wonderful thing is that it has now reached the bottom and is starting to climb upwards.”
Mr Hodgson added: “I think that Martin Gray as manager is the best thing that could have happened to Darlington FC.”
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