Darlington put in administration for third time

Darlington Arena
Administrators say the club could cease trading in a "very short time"

Blue Square Bet Premier side Darlington have been placed in administration for the third time in nine years.

The Quakers have been handed an automatic and immediate 10-point deduction by the Football Conference, which will see the club drop to 16th.

In addition, the Conference could relegate the club this summer if it cannot pay all its creditors in full.

"Every day is critical if the club is to survive," Harvey Madden, joint administrator, said.

"The position of the club is such that without any financial support from outside the club, or anyone willing to acquire the club, I will, unfortunately, have little alternative but to cease to trade in a very short time.

"I am currently exploring all options to try and find a way to enable the football club to remain in existence."

An option for the club could be to pay all football creditors in full and enter into a Company Voluntary Agreement. This would see creditors paid an agreed amount over a set period.

The player embargo previously imposed on the club also remains in place during the administration period.

Chairman Raj Singh saidexternal-link: "It is with huge regret that we've had to place the club into administration today.

"I for one certainly didn't envisage this when I took over the club back in August 2009."

Singh confirmed in his statement that there had been interest in the club prior to his decision to place it in administration.

"I was approached by one consortium this week, represented by two local businessmen, whom I admire for their intentions," he added.

"In theory their approach is a very sensible one, but they made their short-term position very clear and it doesn't solve the current issues.

"They now have an opportunity to discuss their proposals with the administrators and I wish them every success in taking the club forward."

Administration follows months of upheaval at the Arena, as the optimism of May's FA Trophy success evaporated following a run of six games without a win in September.

Manager Mark Cooper and his assistant Richard Dryden paid the price for the slump when they were removed from their posts in October, while an .

Cooper was never fully replaced, with head of youth development Craig Liddle brought in on an interim basis - a role he has continued to perform in tandem with his full-time post.

Amid the on-the-field concerns, Singh's frustrations with Darlington Borough Council and the inability to purchase the stadium land prompted a public suggestion that he could quit the club in November.

In addition, the club were placed under a player embargo by the Football Conference in December, and the Professional Footballers' Association attended a meeting at the club after a number of players reported unpaid salaries.

Most recently, Liddle lost the services of captain Ian Miller, after the player handed in a notice of departure following a breach of contract.

"Over the last two months we've been trying to make necessary cutbacks to be able to ensure the future of the club, including negotiating reduced players' wages and a settlement with Mark Cooper," Singh continued in the statement.

"During this time we haven't been able to do that, while we also haven't received a viable offer to take the club over and its ongoing running costs."

Interim boss Liddle highlighted to BBC Tees just how perilous the club's position has now become.

"The staff, the non-playing staff had a meeting with the administrators and 15 of them have left with immediate effect," the 40-year-old said.

"The administrators told us to prepare for Saturday, but really we can't look any further than that.

"You're looking at a week, two weeks maximum."

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