By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Darlington 1883’s financial position remains in “intensive care”, according to the club’s chief executive Martin Jesper, who spoke at tonight's fans' forum.
This is the club that has been tipped to waltz to glory in the Evo Stik Division One North next season.
Back in March, the club reported that they had debts of around £100,000. That figure may have been reduced since, but it is still concerning.
In fairness to Darlington, the majority of the debts belong to the old club and were agreed in the takeover deal last year.
However, it is still staggering to believe that the FA has allowed a demoted club to operate at such losses and still spend a large of money on players.
Compared with the majority of Evo Stik Division One clubs, Darlington’s support is massive and that does bring in greater revenue. But, that does not excuse the fact that they are running with a huge deficit.
And it is hardly a great endorsement for fan-owned clubs, especially after Chester FC’s announcement in February that they had £80,000 shortfall in their accounts.
The FA and Evo Stik league have to get a grip of Darlington and order them to reduce the debts to a reasonable level or face sanctions.
When a club makes a song and dance about signing three top North East players and then put their manager on a five-year contract, you would think the finances would be excellent – it would appear that they are not.
If they can clear the debts then Darlington could take off and be back in the Conference in no time.
However, allowing Darlington to continue ploughing money into the playing squad while operating with huge debts sends out the wrong message.