Darlington FC’s Head of Youth Craig Liddle is pleading with local businesses to come forward and help raise money to prevent job cuts at the club’s youth set up.
The former Darlington FC player has been put in charge of a merger that will see Darlington’s Centre of Excellence and Football in the Community scheme combine. It was hoped that a merger would safeguard the seven full time and twenty part time positions both the youth schemes provide, however Liddle has warned that with a cut in grants and funding, public support will be needed to raise the £200,000 required to run the Youth Scheme every year.
Liddle confirmed the severity of the situation saying: “The bottom line is if we don’t get sponsorship and advertising money in from the local business community, jobs will have to go.
“There’s only so much money the club can plough into the youth set-up and funding for us and the Football in the Community is set to be cut this summer, which will make life even more difficult for us next season.
“Businesses large and small can all play their part in helping us, with a variety of advertising and sponsorship options available, while donations of any kind are always very gratefully received.”
Darlington FC have certainly benefited from the youth scheme this season with a number of their exciting prospects making the first team. Liddle was keen to praise the efforts of his staff and warn of the effects of job cuts on the service that they provide.
"It will be all hands to the pump as it is," said Liddle. "Our staff have been working flat-out but their workload will have to increase and the demands on them will be even greater.
"They're a dedicated bunch of hard-working people who love working for Darlington FC and it would be a crying shame for anyone to lose their job.”
"Any job losses would also have a detrimental effect on the service that we can afford. The youth coaching set-up and the Football in the Community isn't just about football. Yes it's important for us to develop our best young players, but our Centre of Excellence and Football in the Community departments both cater for hundreds of children and gives them something to enjoy.
"This is about community involvement as well as football development and I'd like to think we have a social responsibility to maintain the best possible service, for the benefit of the football club as well as the children who enjoy it."