Just days after announcing his interest in returning to Darlington, former Quakers chairman Raj Singh has withdrawn his offer to invest in the Vanarama National League North club.
The Quakers released a statement on Thursday night confirming Singh has taken the decision due to “very negative comments being made” on social media.
The statement also confirmed that Singh’s decision has prompted a second potential investor not to continue exploring his potential involvement.
Singh was due to invest £40,000 into Darlington to help boost manager Martin Gray’s budget for players and in return Singh would get a 15 per cent share of the Quakers.
That provoked some anger from supporters that a still wary of Singh’s presence at the club.
He was chairman of the Quakers between 2009 and 2012, a period that saw the club the club relegated from the Football League, win the FA Trophy and be placed into administration.
They were relegated to the EBAC Northern League by the Football Association, and Singh’s decision not to transfer the club’s football share to the supporters meant that they were officially renamed Darlington 1883.
Since then the club have recovered, with three promotions in four years putting them within one promotion of non-league’s top tier.
The Quakers were denied permission to play in the National League North play-offs this season, despite the fact they finished in fifth position, after their new Blackwell Meadows home was found to be over two hundred covered seats short of the required ground-grading standards.
Singh was due to take part in an online question and answer session on Friday evening, as he explained the reasons behind his offer of investment.
However, that will not go ahead after his decision to withdraw his offer
A statement on behalf of director John Tempest said “Darlington Football Club would like to announce that Raj Singh has decided to withdraw his interest in investing in the club.
“Raj and his family have spent the last 48 hours viewing various social media platforms and in the light of the very negative comments being made, he and his family feel it is inappropriate to move forward with the possible investment.
“Raj’s initial commitment was to invest in the club, particularly the playing side, and in his words “he felt there was unfinished business.”
“As a consequence of his withdrawal and the reasons for it, a second potential investor has also decided not to continue exploring his potential involvement”
The club also urged supporters to get behind their fundraising this summer as they look to improve the pitch at Blackwell Meadows and to boost their playing budget for the new season.
The statement continued “More than ever now and for obvious reasons, I would ask fans to get behind the Darlington FC Supporters Group pitches. At present 19 people have contributed to the “Seating phase 1 pitch” and 89 people have invested in the “Boost the Budget”. The onus is very much now on the fans.
“We really need to get many more fans involved in raising funds as the club needs support not only financially but also to ensure that the team and infrastructure are strong enough to survive at the current level”
It remains to be seen what Singh’s decision to withdraw his offer of investment means for Quakers boss Martin Gray, who believes external investment is required if the club are to carry on progressing up the league pyramid.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily) Image: Darlington FC