A FOOTBALL club has faced criticism from its fans after the visit of a Government minister.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries visited Blackwell Meadows, the home of Darlington FC, on Thursday and was pictured speaking to club members and Chairman David Johnston.
Staff at the club also presented the Conservative MP with a personalised 'Dorries 9' Darlington home shirt as a souvenir to mark the visit.
Darlington FC was hailed as “a vital community asset”‘ thanks to its 'buddy’ scheme, which ran throughout the Covid-19 lockdown to combat loneliness amongst supporters.
.@Official_Darlo are the embodiment of community spirit and a stark reminder that football is nothing without the fans.
I’ve seen first hand today how important it is that financial sustainability and good governance are in place so we can protect these vital community assets pic.twitter.com/thizU89naa
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) January 27, 2022
However, fans reacted angrily to her visit on social media, with some even threatening to switch allegiances to local rivals.
One fan said: "Actually thought it was April the 1st when I saw this, one week we're having a food bank collection then we're inviting someone complicit in causing the explosion in foodbank usage and getting a shirt done as if she's one of us. Just shameful."
While another said: "Someone at Darlo clearly thinks there's no such thing as bad publicity. What an embarrassment."
"This is the absolute worst,"one fan posted.
One fan expressed their disappointment at the visit in a week after the club sold star striker Luke Charman and lost 5-0 to bottom-of-the-league AFC Telford.
"Easily the worst week from my football club since going fan owned getting hammered by the team bottom of the league then inviting bottom feeders like this into the club for some self promotion," they said.
One person said Darlington FC is "losing its soul" while another said "hang your heads in shame".
Another comment said: "Well that's it, darlo are dead to me. haway @SouthShieldsFC".
And one use simply put: "Shameless."
Ms Dorries made the visit during an extended trip across Teesside, which also included travelling to a BT Openreach Training Centre and arts and culture venue Redcar Palace and Yarm.
She said:“The Quakers are the embodiment of true community spirit and a stark reminder that, through all the ups and downs, football is nothing without the fans.
“I’ve seen first hand today how important it is to have a strong relationship between the owners and the fans and how central supporters are to a team’s identity.
“As we prepare our response to the fan led review, we must harness the spirit of clubs like Darlington and ensure financial sustainability and good governance are in place so we can protect these vital community assets.”
Darlington FC were contacted for comment.
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