WITH the amount pledged to Darlington’s popular Boost the Budget scheme rising by the day, new manager Alun Armstrong has labelled Quakers’ supporters the club’s “biggest asset”.

It is an initiative of the Darlington FC Supporters Group, the club’s major shareholder, with proceeds going towards “building our club on and off the field”.

The target is £80,000, the same as 12 months ago when fans exceeded the goal by £6,000.

By last night a total of £75,147 had been pledged, and with the deadline not for another seven days it is anticipated Quakers supporters will again surpass expectations.

Launched at the beginning of this month, it had levelled out at £59,000 until Tuesday morning when Armstrong’s appointment as manager of the fan-owned club was announced and triggered a surge in pledges.

He said: “With me having played for Darlington before I’ve always looked out for what the club has been doing over the last few years, and what the fans have done to get their club where it is now is remarkable.

“There was always going to be a stumbling block – it took Stockport six years to get out of this division and they’re a club getting 6,000 fans. It is a tough league to get out of.

“But the fans are the biggest asset Darlington have got - look at the amount they’ve raised, it’s unbelievable.”

Armstrong has a long-term vision at Blackwell Meadows and wants the supporters to continue playing their part.

He hopes they will maintain a positive outlook, but is wary of the impact football fans can have on players’ mindset due to comments made on social media.

Armstrong explained: “Fans can make players play better by creating a good atmosphere, but I don’t like social media at all because it can destroy players and I have seen it happen. Players read it and they are human beings, it can affect them.

“You will get 100 per cent from all the lads, and if I don’t then I haven’t done my job. You will have lads that are fighting tooth and nail, that’s a guarantee, and hopefully we can get all the Darlo fans behind us.”