Boost The Budget 2024 - Mission Accomplished!

As the 890th pledge was made - a £5 donation - as 11.59pm on Friday 31st May ticked over to midnight on Saturday 1st June, it dawned on everyone in the footballing world that Darlington Football Club's fans had just raised a staggering £189,225 for Steve Watson and Terry Mitchell's playing budget via the 2024/25 Boost The Budget campaign.

Some would say it was never in doubt, given the fan's previous BTB efforts and the fact that just over 1,270 fans own the football club, however a very difficult 2023/24 campaign (where NLN safety was only guaranteed on the penultimate day of the season), coupled with the ongoing 'cost of living' crisis, did lead some to think that Darlington fans would fall short of the ambitious £175,000 target this time.

But fear not. As they always do, Darlington fans got right behind the campaign, raising the highest ever day one total (£46,381), hitting 50% of target by May 19th, getting to £100,000 the next day, hitting £150,000 with a day to go and then beating the highest BTB target to date by £27,155 with a breath-taking final day of donations.

Indeed, The £189,225 raised is the fifth time that a final BTB total has beaten the previous years' total (from just seven full BTB campaigns, not including January's mini-BTB). The average pledge was an incredible £212.

Since May 2023, Darlington fans have invested £383,375 into the club's playing budget.

Simply amazing!

Across the month as donations flooded in, the club made a new signing - Joe Leesley - and had new contracts accepted by Ben Hedley, Matty Cornish, Kallum Griffiths, and Jarrett Rivers.

Chief Executive David Johnston, as ever, gave an open and honest interview to Ray Simpson at the end of April before the campaign commenced and manager Steve Watson told Ray of his plans and thoughts for next season as the BTB campaign entered it's final ten days.

Darlo Fans' Radio's Stuart Armstrong also caught up with Tom Platt, Matty Cornish, Terry Mitchell, and Ben Hedley across the month to discuss their thoughts on last season, next season and what BTB means to them.

DFCSG Chair Jon Saddington commented:

"What an achievement! Close to £400k donated in just over 12 months. Darlo fans are truly incredible. The money raised goes directly into Steve’s playing budget, which puts us in great shape for an exciting season. A huge thank you to everyone who donated!”

Whilst DFCSG Vice-Chair David Steel said:

"Darlington fans both never surprise me nor cease to amaze me with their backing, support and love for their football club. For me, Boost The Budget is the absolute epitome of what fan ownership is all about. The money invested technically brings zero guarantees and, 'BTB Rewards' aside, gives those who donate nothing tangible back. However, the fans absolutely recognise that they have a responsibility as the majority shareholders of the club to give Steve and Terry the best chance possible of success on the pitch next season by donating in this way. I'm so very proud of us all just now! Incredible!"

The DFCSG board and 'Boost The Budget' project team would like to thank every single person who pledged to this year's campaign. Darlington fans proving, yet again, that they are indeed the best fans in the game.

Roll on August...