THOSE of a nervous disposition may wish to avoid looking at the league table following our weekend off.

For long enough, results from other games have pretty much gone our way to maintain a reasonable buffer between us and the relegation zone. It was never going to last. If we weren’t going to turn our form around, other clubs would and that means we now sit just two points ahead of the drop zone. Given our form since the draw at York on a balmy August Tuesday night, I don’t think anyone can argue that we don’t deserve to be where we are. With some tough games coming up, starting with Salford City at Blackwell Meadows on Saturday, it could get messier before it gets better.

Fortunately, with this last week being a quiet one on the pitch side of the club, we have had a wonderful distraction off it with the news that the Darlington FC Supporters Group’s drive to lift the roof has been successfully completed. Everything that is happening at the club, both on and off the pitch seems to take us back to ground zero: the forum in April where seat-gate was explained and followed by a poorly thought out attempted coup d’état by the then manager.

While the form on the pitch has been pretty disastrous since that infamous night, off the pitch, we have been going from strength to strength with a string of successful fundraising schemes to get Blackwell Meadows up to a standard more akin with the league we are in. Thinking back to that night, my first thought when the fundraising schemes were announced was we would struggle to raise that money (totalling £208,000). What with the not-so-smooth move in to our new home and a manager who was hell bent on destabilising the board in order to achieve his own ambitions, I felt that there was going to be too much apathy from the fans to raise such a large amount of money in a relatively short space of time. Oh how I was wrong.

In recent weeks, I’ve seen a few people questioning the further investment in Blackwell Meadows, either because they feel the club simply doesn’t have a future at the rugby ground or because we won’t need extra seats with our chances of making the playoffs diminishing with every passing week. For me, it is great to see the club finally developing off the pitch. For too long, if everything was great on the pitch, nothing else mattered. That was fine until we stepped up to the National League North; a professional league both on and off the pitch. While the former manager was incredibly harsh to suggest the club was an embarrassment, there may have been some truth in his assessment.

Perhaps we weren't really set up off the pitch for the level we found ourselves in. If that was the case back in April, I think we have taken giant steps in the right direction since. We have a good pair of directors running the football club. We have a very talented cohort of new Supporters Group directors, arguably the most impressive since the group formed, and most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough, the club’s sugar daddies (and mamas) have stood up to the plate once again to ensure the £208,000 identified as required was raised. It really is some achievement and it should fill every Darlo fan with an enormous amount of pride that the target was achieved. Let’s hope that our fortunes on the pitch start to match those off it soon so we don’t have to worry about having one of the better grounds in the Northern Premier League.