Tees

Darlington Arena put on sale by football club receivers

Darlington Arena
Image caption Darlington Arena opened in 2003, but is now for sale

There is a chance Darlington Football Club may lose its home ground, less than eight years after moving in.

The club's receivers have instructed property company Edward Symmons to advertise Darlington Arena for sale.

The club has an existing lease to play at the Arena until 2024, but a new owner may choose to buy its way out of that contract.

Darlington Football club has suffered recurring financial difficulties since the late 1990s.

Darlington Chairman Raj Singh said the club's lease was secure for the next 13-and-a-half years and the receivers were simply exercising their rights under the existing agreement.

He declined to comment further.

'They will come'

The club's former ground at Feethams is currently awaiting commercial development.

The Quakers first played at Feethams in 1883, hosting their final game there against Leyton Orient in May 2003.

The following season saw the club open at the new 25,000-seat Darlington Arena, built by the then chairman George Reynolds in the face of some vocal opposition.

Despite Mr Reynolds' confidence that, "If we build it, they will come", the stadium found it difficult to attract large enough crowds to meet its costs.

Plans to boost income by staging large music events were scuppered when the venue failed to win an entertainment licence.

Present chairman Raj Singh has put more than £2.5m of his own money into the Quakers since taking over in 2009, but the debt he inherited is understood to still stand at more than £2m.

Unless talks between the club and the holding company that retains that debt can be restarted, the club risks losing Darlington Arena.

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