The last few months have been clearly the most eventful in a particularly eventful lifetime of following Darlington Football Club. The club has gone through numerous changes in the time have been a follower of Darlo since the late 80s.
I have witnessed the full rollercoaster from relegation from the Football League, to consecutive promotions, further relegation, playoff heartache, two administrations, another relegation from the Football League, winning the FA trophy and yet another administration. It's safe to say I thought I'd seen it all, but this season brings with it even bigger changes.
This coming season a team that the FA calls Darlington 1883, but is simply known as Darlington Football Club to me and my fellow Darlo fans will begin a promotion chasing campaign in the Northern League at Bishop Auckland FC's Heritage Park. So that's a drop of four divisions, in a ground with 24,750 less seats, and two less sides. Players with full time jobs outside of the club but perhaps most importantly, owned by the fans!
The FA rightly or wrongly have harshly punished DFC with their enforcement of their view that DFC is now a new club, a view with is strongly refuted by the fans and interim board. The punishment was dished out because an agreement couldn't be made between DFC 1883 - the new company and the former chairman. It was also not helped by the face that Mr Singh would sign across the 'Football Share' to the new company without attaching unacceptable conditions. Throughout all this the FA had managed to build up expectation by reacting positively to meetings with DFC 1883 before shocking the board and fans with their decisions.
As previously said, the important thing is that the club is now owned by the fans through a CIC (Community Interest Company) and will never again be at the mercy of a millionaire business man who is only there for the money. This makes me, and I hope all other Darlo fans happy. There is a great outlook for our future and it is entirely in our own hands.
Don't get me wrong, it's not the perfect situation, none of us would have chosen to be playing outside of Darlington and in the league we find ourselves, therefore the hard work starts right now. There is a huge need to club together to achieve our goals both on and off the pitch, to get back into Darlington and into the Football League. It's a long process of fundraising and volunteering that we have ahead of us, but with over 400 season tickets sold on the first day of sales and a rich calendar of fundraising events already organised (beginning with a Charity match on this coming Saturday featuring yours truly) the club looks to be on the right track already.