DARLINGTON endured a mixed weekend, with bad news on the pitch but good news off it as supporters met their latest fundraising target to pay for a new stand at Blackwell Meadows.

The Darlington FC Supporters Group (DFCSG) announced late on Friday that their Raise the Roof scheme had been a success, reaching the £50,000 target four weeks ahead of schedule.

It means a 294-seater stand can be built adjacent to the existing one that has been in place at Blackwell since Quakers moved there 12 months ago, doubling the number of seats at the venue.

The DFCSG hope to next week announce when the new stand will be built, and chair Chris Stockdale said: “Once again our fans have stepped up to the plate. From our big individual community share investors to the fans throwing in their coins on a matchday, everyone has played their part in reaching this target.

“Looking to the future as a board, we are very aware that our members and supporters don’t expect us to stop here.

“It’s one of our priorities over the coming months to produce a thorough and realistic plan, working with the Football Club board, on how we can continue to develop our infrastructure to underpin the future growth of our club.”

The Raise the Roof initiative has been part of a larger scheme launched in April aimed at raising £208,000 for various reasons, including: improving the playing surface, foundations and ground works, an additional seated stand, plus £40,000 for the playing budget.

In a statement, the Darlington FC Supporters Group said: “The board would like to thank everyone who has pledged towards the Raise the Roof community shares scheme, donated to the Ground Development fund and sponsored a seat.

“It is an amazing achievement to hit our £50,000 target over four weeks ahead of schedule and once again a testament to our fans and members who continue to back our club so magnificently.

“It’s even more significant in the context of the £208,000 raised in total since April to redevelop the playing surface, boost the playing budget and to fund our new seated stand.

“Once the new stand is installed it will mean that Blackwell Meadows will match the ground grading required for promotion to the National League.

“We hope to be in a position to update fans next week on the expected delivery and installation dates for the new seating block and roofing. We look forward to working with the Football Club to make the best use of these new facilities and improving the matchday experience for all our supporters.”

The stand will mean Quakers would eligible to take part in the National League North play-offs – not having enough covered seats meant they were excluded from the play-offs last season, despite finishing fifth in the table.

But they are a long way off a play-off finish this time around.

While Quakers’ players were in Edinburgh for a pre-Christmas get-together, Saturday’s results saw Darlington drop a place to 16th and they are now two points above the relegation zone.

Quakers’ next match is on Saturday, at home to top-of-the-table Salford City, who, along with Manchester City, are one of only two teams in the country’s top seven divisions yet to lose a league game away from home this season.