ALAN Pardew thinks English football has an unsustainable number of professional clubs – but he is still hoping Darlington can remain one of them.
And the Newcastle United manager has promised to do his bit to help out Quakers caretaker boss Craig Liddle, if possible.
The Conference side tip-toed right to the brink of liquidation on Wednesday before receiving a two-week stay of execution.
The next problem will be putting a side out for tomorrow’s game at home to Fleetwood Town, and Pardew – a former non-League player with Whyteleafe, Epsom and Ewell, Corinthian Casuals, Dulwich Hamlet and Yeovil Town – is willing to do his bit.
“Of course we’d try to help them,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we have players who would fit in his team and I can afford to let go. But he only has to pick up the phone to me and I will try to help him.”
Darlington’s most pressing need is for a senior goalkeeper after the departure of Sam Russell.
In keeping with most clubs in the top tier of non-League football, the Quakers are a full-time professional club. Pardew thinks having more than 100 in the country is too many, and expects to see some go out of existence.
“There are so many professional clubs,” he said. “In the times we are in, it does stretch it. Logic says it is going to be difficult to sustain as many professional clubs as we have got.
“There will be a scenario that we will lose some. I hope Darlington is not one of them. I think the club is big enough, the fans are passionate enough and strong enough to maybe keep it alive. Staying alive is the most important thing, then something can come along.”
Pardew blames the top-heavy distribution of wealth for the plight of clubs such as Darlington.
“Clubs down there are more vulnerable to the commercial world,” he argued.
“It isn’t going to change now. It is about staying in the game for some of those lower league teams and being very careful with their finance. I have my fingers crossed they can keep it alive.”