Update about off the field events
From David Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, Darlington FC.
Given the recent personnel changes at the club, I am writing to update you on what is happening off the field. As you are aware, we are a fan owned club with no external investment and as such our finances need to be supported from our excellent fan base. In addition, the club has a responsibility to not only manage our finances effectively but to also communicate to you all as things develop.
We entered this season with an improved financial position having utilised the transfer and legends income generated last season to pay down debt accrued over the previous two years. This and the fantastic Boost The Budget pledges allowed us to assist Tommy in his summer recruitment. However to date our financial performance this season has been below forecast. Gate receipts, pre-season income, sponsorship and commercial are all below budget. As a fan owned club this means we have to adjust the playing budget.
When Alfreton therefore, made an offer for Reece Styche, I decided we needed to accept this to help balance the books. Reece did not want to leave this club but understood my decision to let him go and he holds this club with high affection and we remain on good terms.
This week we have also agreed to let Dave Syers move to Farsley; his former club have chased his signature since the summer and one that Dave wished to return to at some point due to family and work commitments. I wish Dave good luck in his future career and thank him for his service to Darlington. In addition, Dom Collins who has been unavailable through injury since the end of August has also officially left the football club today after his contract was mutually terminated. Dom is due to have an operation in the near future and we wish him a speedy recovery and best wishes for the future.
Alongside these departures Tommy has been working hard this week in the local loan market to bring in some fresh faces to improve our squad and we hope to announce some additions early next week.
This is a challenging backdrop for Tommy and Alan to work within. The board continue to fully support Tommy and Alan as we work through these playing squad adjustments. In the short term these adjustments are necessary to help re-balance the budget whilst I continue to work on the bigger picture of providing a sustainable income for the club through the creation of income generating assets. Discussions have been ongoing with both the Sporting Village and Darlington Rugby Club and I will shortly be speaking to you all about the two different options that we have to consider for our long-term future. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and both will require capital to move this club forward. This is an interesting point as the financial demands will be placed upon the fan base as we do not have the benefit of wealthy benefactors as other clubs do. We will obviously look at grant support but with limited finances the speed of our development will ultimately be slower.
In summary, I appreciate that this message may be hard to receive but can I ask that as fans you get behind Tommy and Alan who are working tirelessly to get this right on the pitch. It is my decision to cut the budget - Tommy and Alan will work within this remit and look to our local professional clubs to support us moving forwards.
Off the field we have recruited Craig Morley on a full-time basis to improve our commercial revenues and good progress has been made since his appointment and we will shortly arrange for a netcafe to provide the opportunity for you to ask any questions which I will endeavour to answer.
Thanks for your continuing support and please get behind the club and staff as we address the challenges moving forwards.