Darlington FC puts future in crowdfunding

Cash-stricken Darlington FC is using crowdfunding to move out of administration and towards a sounder financial footing.

Darlington Football Club has taken to crowdfunding in its efforts to raise £750,000, after going into administration on 3 January 201.

The Northern football club has so far raised £291,450 from 722 investors over 14 days through crowdfunding website Crowdcube, as it looks to avoid closure. According to Crowdcube it is the first sports club in the world to use the system.

If the fundraising target is achieved the result will be a 100 per cent investor ownership of the 129 year-old club. Shareholders will then be able to influence director appointments and partake in annual elections.

Contributions have so far come from as far afield as Italy, where a £100 investment was provided by a man who had never been to Darlington. His only link to the the club was through managing the team on a football computer game.

The fundraising effort comes at the same time as two high profile clubs, Rangers and Portsmouth, face increased financial scrutiny on the back of going into administration.

Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube, says, ‘Crowdcube was designed to be a platform to help entrepreneurs raise growth capital but Darlington is proving that it is just as effective for sports clubs seeking to raise money.’

MP for Darlington, Jenny Chapman, comments, ‘If Darlington FC went bust it would be a disaster for the local community and economy. With clubs around the country experiencing financial difficulties we passionately believe that fan ownership is the future for Darlington and other clubs ensure that they are run sustainably and are here for future generations to enjoy.’

In the 12 months since its formation, online equity finance platform Crowdcube has seen £2.3 million raised via its service.

Launched in February 2012 by Exeter-based entrepreneurs Lang and Darren Westlake, Crowdcube has seen successful fundraisings achieved by 11 companies, including alcoholic drinks company Kamm & Sons and London members clubs operator The Rushmore Group.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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