I was happy to speak at a corporate event in support of Darlington Football Club this morning.

Darlington chairman Dennis Pinnegar asked me to explain to businesses why The Northern Echo has decided to be the club's shirt sponsor for next season.

I told them it's a visible demonstration that we are not deserting the club when it needs its local paper more than ever.

I also said I continue to believe that a town like Darlington needs a professional football club.

You can't buy the national promotion which comes with being part of the televised results service every Saturday afternoon.

The club's immediate aim has to be to get back to its home town as soon as possible.

I'm delighted to say that new pledges of commercial support were made this morning and there are encouraging signs that the Quakers are finally engaging again with the local community.

The only downside is that I was collared by businessman and lifelong supporter Andrew Scullion afterwards. He's organising a celebrity fundraising match in September and wants me to play in goal.

Could be embarrassing.