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Darlington FC future at risk as chairman tells creditors to 'get real'

Darlington Football Club’s future is in doubt over a continuing dispute between chairman Raj Singh and the club’s holding company’s creditors.

The two parties have yet to agree a valuation of the club’s 25,000 capacity Northern Echo Arena and the land around it, which if unsolved could lead to Scott and Sizer becoming the club’s landlords which would allow them to develop the land.

A statement released by Singh said: "Mr Scott and Mr Sizer are calling in their loan which of course they're entitled to do, but they need to get real with their valuation.

"Their original deal was done four years ago when George Houghton sold them the dream of getting into the Championship.

"Since then the club has gone into administration, nearly gone out of business all together and has dropped out of the Football League.

"With the current climate and based on the lease agreement that's in place between the holding company and the football club, I've made a generous offer based on the valuation of the stadium and land, carried out independently.

"They're not interested in the future of Darlington FC, they're only interested in developing the land.

"I've said all along that my plans for the land at the Arena are solely for the benefit of the football club, nobody else, but that vision isn't achievable if we can't come to an amicable agreement with Mr Scott and Mr Sizer."

The Blue Square Bet Premier also released parts of an e-mail from Scott which read: "Your so-called offer for us to discharge our legal charge is unacceptable. In fact, I can't stop laughing at the very idea that Raj would think it ever was.

"Marketing of the stadium will commence asap and I suspect the outcome will be that we will become your new landlords. That is a possibility we are very excited about as we have real plans for the site in the long-term once Raj has tired of pumping his own capital into a club that has no material prospects."

Singh acquired 75% of the holding company following former chairman's Houghton’s failure to repay part of a loan, but in acquiring the equity, Singh took responsibility for repaying the loan as the majority shareholder.

 

Scott Hobro

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