Darlington have been offered a glimmer of hope that they may yet be able to escape liquidation.
The Blue Square Bet Premier League side went into administration for the third time in nine years at the start of the year, with owner Raj Singh insisting he was not prepared to lose any more money in the club, having ploughed in more than £2m over the last three years.
That has put matters in the hands of administrator Harvey Madden, from Yarm accountants Taylor Rowlands, and he had warned the club could go out of business by this weekend. "Talks are continuing to be held between the administrators and potential investors over the future of Darlington FC," he said. "No further statement will be issued until after the weekend."
However the Darlington Football Club Rescue Group had further meetings with Madden yesterday in the hope of granting a stay of execution, offering the administrators a new business plan. Now there is fresh hope that a new investor will meet with the administrator on Monday morning, a move which could yet stave off liquidation.
The meeting on Monday could prove one of the most crucial days in Darlington's 129-year history. If the potential investor can guarantee a working figure to see the club through to the end of the season – thought to be between £400,000 and £500,000 – then Darlington will survive the biggest threat yet to the club's survival so far.
Darlington do not play today as a result of being knocked out of the FA Trophy, which means a weekend with no income and two of their players, captain Jamie Chandler and Liam Hatch, moved to local rivals Gateshead yesterday for nominal fees. "The phone has never stopped," said Craig Liddle, the Darlington manager. "It is one problem after another."
Sinking Feeling: Clubs that have gone bust
Wound up in 2008 with debts of £2m. Reformed as FC Halifax Town and won back-to-back promotions into Conference North.
Went into administration in 2009 with £7m debts and expelled from Conference a year later. Promoted in first season as Chester FC to Northern Premier Division.
Formed in 1879 and went bust in 2007 with £2.5m debts. Reformed as Scarborough Athletic and went up to Northern Counties East Premier Division in second season.
Farsley Celtic AFC
Disbanded in 2010. As Farsley AFC, won promotion to Northern Premier First Division North in first season.