Tees

Businessman Paul Wildes unveils Darlington FC rescue plan

Paul Wildes
Image caption Paul Wildes wants to invest £300,000 in the club

Troubled Darlington Football Club has been offered a financial lifeline which could see it taken out of administration within days.

The Blue Square Premier side went into administration on 3 January.

A rescue group was given until the end of the month to raise £500,000 to keep the club going.

Now, Sheffield-based venture capitalist Paul Wildes has offered to invest £300,000, with supporters putting up £200,000, in return for a 40% share.

Mr Wildes, who has interests in the hotel and hospitality industry, said he hoped the club would be out of administration by 31 January.

His plan includes making more of the Quakers' 27,000-seat stadium as a concert venue and training academy.

Mr Wildes, who is expected to take the title of club chairman, told the BBC's Inside Out: "The long-term success of the business is what's in it for me.

"This is not about a short-term gain or even a medium-term gain, it's about the long-term success of the football club.

Image caption The rescue plan will see the club remain at its 27,000-seat stadium

"I've agreed to put up the 300,000 on top of the 200,000 already raised by the supporters rescue group, which will then clear the historic creditors.

"But what I have said all along is that the success of this club is about it paying its own way and making sure that the budget that is set is realistic, including the player budget.

"I think there has been a disconnection between the club and its supporters and a disregard for financial control and what I will bring back is financial discipline."

Talks are taking place with the joint administrators in an effort to seal the deal as quickly as possible.

Mr Wildes also said he had received support from current owner and chairman Raj Singh.

A spokesman for the rescue group welcomed the potential deal as "good news."

Inside Out can been seen in the North East and Cumbria on BBC One at 19:30 GMT on Monday 30 January.

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