Manager Martin Gray has confirmed his commitment to Darlington FC.
There has been speculation in the last few weeks that MG, the most successful manager in Quakers’ history, would leave the club after guiding it to three promotions and two play off positions in five years, but he says that he is now at the club for the long term.
“The last few months have been the most challenging and difficult since we took over at Darlington five years ago but it is important that we move on and concentrate on the challenges ahead,” he said.
“To miss promotion and even participation in the play offs for reasons beyond our control was heart breaking for myself, the staff, players and of course our fantastic supporters.
“But I will forever remember the commitment and determination the whole squad showed in the closing weeks of last season when it would have been easy to throw the towel in. With that in mind, and with a fresh enthusiasm to go again next season, the club and I have been in negotiations with existing members of the squad to extend contracts and recruit new players.
“Of course, it would be impossible to enter those talks without promising my own commitment to Darlington Football Club. I have told the players and the board that I am still very much here for the long-term and determined to continue to do my bit to restore the club to its rightful place in the Football League.
“The encouragement from the players and the directors has been extremely heartening and I am certain we can continue to build on our successes of the last few years and challenge again for promotion next season. It will not be easy. The playing budgets of the teams perceived to be our main rivals promise to make the Vanarama National League North even more competitive next season.
“That being the case, it is even more important Darlington Football Club find the resources to compete – in the absence of external investment it is important that the fans continue to support the club as they have done since 2012. The Boost the Budget initiative is a great way to help me build a competitive squad. The board and I will continue to look at bringing in sensible new investment and corporate sponsorship opportunities to assist with pushing the Club forwards.”
Director John Tempest commented; “After a difficult two months it is superb news that Martin has committed to the club and is here for the long term. Off the pitch, we are talking to a number of people to support the board moving forward. With the news of Martin’s commitment, we also encourage all supporters to support the various pitches the DFCSG are running as a fan funded club. We are all in this together. “
DFCSG Chair Wayne Raper said; “It was crucial for the stability of the Club that we retained the services of Martin and his management team along with the core of the first team who performed so well last season. I’m delighted that we’ve managed to do that and we can all now look forwards and pull together to achieve the aim of progressing to the next level. It’s crucial that we now focus on embedding a stable off-field structure and deliver a clear progression plan.”