Darlington Club Profile
Darlington : Quick Links
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Club Background; We've Met Before; Club News; Club Statistics; Club Information; Directions To The Ground; Web Resources; Food And Drink; Local Amenities


Darlington : Club Background
The outside of The <s>Reynolds</s> Arena</s>
The outside of The Reynolds Arena
A sign we won't be seeing on this year's visit!
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace

Darlington FC was formed in 1883, the club playing home matches at Feethams, where they continued to ply their trade right up until the end of 2002-03. The club's early years were spent as founder members of the Northern League and then in the North-Eastern League until their eventual election to the newly-formed Third Divisio North in 1921. While still a member of the North-Eastern League the club enjoyed their best ever FA Cup run in 1910, reaching the last 16 of the competition before being knocked out by Swindon.

Darlington were founder members of Division Three (North) in 1921. The first three years of The Quakers Football League career brought nothing but good football, good wins, good crowds, good finishes, and eventually, promotion to the Second Division. Darlo fans at the time must have been looking forward to the future with unquenchable optimism, with dreams of top-flight football to come and good times just around the corner...... The reality was somewhat different. The club were relegated back to the Third Division (North) two seasons later, and there they remained for quite some considerable time doing nothing much in particular, until 1958 in fact, when at last they left the Third Division (North).

Unfortunately the reason for leaving was not promotion, but 'demotion', as they were designated to join the newly-formed Fourth Division. The tale of mediocrity continued until 1966 when The Quakers surprised everyone else and one suspects themselves by finishing 2nd to Doncaster Rovers and being promoted to the Third Division, albeit only briefly: the club being relegated back down to the basement the very next season.

If the 30's were non-eventful, the 40's second-rate, the 50's middling at best and the 60's mediocre, the 1970's were Darlington's nadir. The club were rooted firmly at the bottom of the Fourth Division, applying for re-election no less than five times and being saved from Non-league only by the old-boy network of Football League chairman. Vested interests couldn't keep financial reality at bay however and the early 80's saw the club come perilously close to bankruptcy before being saved against the odds by the prodigious efforts of supporters. The brush with extinction perhaps galvanising the club against the long years of mediocrity and in 1985 Darlo were promoted back into Division Three under manager Cyril Knowles. Once again however here was to be no real consolidation and three years later they were back in Division Four.

The club finished bottom of the 92 in 1989 and this time re-election wasn't an issue - relegation was and the Conference beckoned. Not the Conference with the strength in depth of today's league however, and by staying full-time Darlo bounced straight back up to the Football League the year after under Brian Little's leadership. The success continued the following season with promotion to Division Three, but yet again Darlo had flown too high too fast and with Little moving on to bigger and better things the club once again found themselves in the basement, where they have remained ever since, two play-off losses at Wembley notwithstanding.

Darlington's West Stand, where most of the home singers go
Darlington's West Stand, where most of the home singers go.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace

It's off the field things where things have been interesting at Darlington recently.... In 1999 bankruptcy once again beckoned following the expensive re-building of the East Stand at the club's original home, Feethams. Local businessman George R*yn*lds, a man who would be described by his friends, if he had any, as "colourful", and who is described by everyome else who has the bottle as a bloody crook, took the club over. Since R*yn*lds is a serial liar it's impossible to know how many of his claims about the supposed millions he poured in to believe. Fewer and fewer seems to be the case, as the truth slowly begins to unravel and the evidence begins to stack up that considerable amounts of said money may have actually belonged to other people. Anyway there's a few thousand born every minute, and a brand new 25,000 capacity all-seater stadium to replace Feethams did appear, though it didn't get quite finished. Why a club whose average attendance has never risen much higher than 4,000-5,000 and whose highest crowd in history is 21,023 needed a stadium with a capacity of 25,000 was never really explained.

Said stadium, modestly named "The R*yn*lds Arena" duly opened for the 2003-04 season. Champagne ground, flat lager on the pitch. With the team lurching towards the lower reaches Mick Tait, who had only been in place months, was sacked and the club turned to David Hodgson who had managed them twice before. R*yn*lds spent the first half of the season rowing with fans and Supporters' Groups, the local council, the press, and Her Majesty's judicial system, then put the club into administration a few days before Christmas. And in administration it would seem they still remain at the time of writing, though a CVA has been negotiated.

Still one HUGE benefit did emerge. They got shot of R*yn*lds. It still took many twists and turns, bannings from the stadium with his name still on the front, moves to make him personally bankrupt, court appearances, but shot of the ******* they got. One fears Darlo fans can't afford to celebrate too much though, as the mess is likely to take an age to unravel, and one suspects the odd as yet undiscovered timebombs that've been ticking quietly away will emerge at intervals for years. And whatever else happens it's hard to see how The Arena won't remain a huge white elephant sucking the financial lifeblood from the club.

You can't keep a tea-leaf out of the news, and the most recent brush with the law was the strange affair of R*yn*lds and some associates being stopped in a car containing £507,000 in cash. The police are pursuing the case under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Meanwhile Sterling Consortium, who in days when spades were shovels, would have been called money lenders, appear to have done some sort of deal behind the scenes with R*yn*lds and decided to take over the club themselves. However some doubt has been cast on their exact association with the administrators, and there are murmurs that some who would suffer severe financial loss though the CVA want that itself investigated. The Football League was huffing and puffing, and of course we have Mawhinney's trumpeting of the wind of financial probity and openness sweeping through the Football League. Odd then that not a squeak about Darlington seems to have been raised at the AGM, and no questions asked. They have the green light to start the 2004-05 season. Their Official Site still carried the assertion in a little box on its home page that they remained in administration as the season kicked off.

Darlington's North Stand as viewed from the top of the South Stand
Darlington's North Stand as viewed from the top of the South Stand.
Not completed or open last season, but worry not - there's still enough room and to spare.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace

Prediction corner:
There seems to be a general presumption that with the departure of R*yn*lds Darlo's troubles were over. Whilst understanding that the club would like that impression to gain currency, and that fans just want the whole sorry mess to go away so they can get on with the football, we have a strong suspicion they are deluding themselves. We believe Darlington is still in a precarious position, and is so badly scarred that even a small setback could easily set it spinning out of control again. Still without stability off the pitch Hodgson has an unenviable task to try and keep things afloat on it. We've got to predict someone to be bottom, and ours is that the Quakers won't be in League Two next season. For Darlo's sake we hope if that does occur it's because they were relegated fair and square, and not because of off-field concerns. 24th.

Update : Well we'll frankly admit we called this one wrong back in August. Be a bit futile to pretend otherwise! Darlo have proved much more resilient than we expected and are having a good try at a play-off place. Games between the two clubs have been close this season, with never more than a goal in it, as last. A 1-1 draw at Huish Park back in August in the league was followed by a late late come-from-behind 3-3 at Darlington in the F.A. Cup First Round Proper. The Glovers pipped the Quakers 1-0 in the replay.

Darlington's West Stand as viewed from the top of the Main (South) Stand
Darlington's West Stand as viewed from the top of the Main (South) Stand
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace

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Darlington : We've Met Before
Previous Results for Yeovil Town First Team vs Darlington

16/09/1989HomeGMVCL0-22823
10/03/1990AwayGMVCL0-13376
18/10/2003HomeDIV3W1-04892G Williams 5
21/02/2004AwayDIV3L2-34500Johnson 22, Lockwood 90
10/08/2004HomeCCL2D1-15116Jevons 6
13/11/2004AwayFAC1D3-33698Miles 46, Tarachulski 55, 90
23/11/2004HomeFAC1RW1-05365Way 56
12/03/2005AwayCCL2L1-24121Way 81


Results Summary For Yeovil Town First Team vs Darlington

HomeAwayOverall
WDLFAWDLFAWDLFA
2113301369224912


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Darlington : Club News
Recent News For Darlington

News Date Headline Source View


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Darlington : Club Statistics

FORTHCOMING FIXTURES

CLUB GOALSCORERS
Name LGE FAC FAT LGC CC Total

ATTENDANCE STATISTICS

Highest League Attendance: Not Applicable
Lowest League Attendance: Not Applicable
Average League Attendance: Not Applicable

CURRENT LEAGUE SEQUENCE STATISTICS

Games Without A Win: 0 Games Without A Home Win: 0
Games Without An Away Win: 0 Games Without Defeat: 0
Games Without A Home Defeat: 0 Games Without An Away Defeat: 0
Games Without A Draw: 0 Games Without A Score Draw: 0
Games Without A No-Score Draw: 0 Games Without Scoring: 0
Games Without Conceding: 0 Home Results Sequence:
Away Results Sequence: Overall Results Sequence:


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Darlington : Club Information

Darlington's South Stand which acts as the stadium's main stand
Darlington's South Stand which acts as the stadium's main stand
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace

Williamson Motors Stadium
Hurworth Moor
Neasham Road
Darlington
DL2 1GR
(click for map)

Telephone Number : 01325 387000
Fax : 01325 387050
Email:
Clubcall : (calls charged at premium rate)

Chairman : Stewart Davies
Press Officer :
Fixtures Secretary : Lisa Charlton
Manager : David Hodgson
Capacity : 25,000
Seated : All-seated
Covered Terrace : n/a

Record Attendance : 11600, v Kidderminster Harriers, Division 3, 16th August 2003

Nickname : The Quakers, Darlo
Colours : shirt - black and white hoops; shorts - black; socks - black

Ticket Prices : adults £15, concessions (over 60's, under 16's and students) £7 on matchdays. N.B. adult tickets £13 if purchased prior to matchday. Tickets can be ordered by telephone for posting or collection at a designated turnstile. There is a £1.00 fee. Away fans get the East Stand, capacity 3,000. Tickets for away fans on the day at the relevant turnstiles (36-43) only, and cash only.

Disabled Info : There are a total of 165 spaces for wheelchair users at the new Reynolds Arena based midway up the seating, with unrestricted views. Four lifts will take disabled fans to their positions. A blind commentary system may or may not be in place by now, and also low bars for thirsty wheelchair users.

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Darlington : Directions To The Ground
The East Stand
The East Stand end that houses the away supporters at Darlington's ground
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace

General

Directions and travel info copied courtesy of www.dafts.co.uk


By Road

Exit the A1(M) at Junction 57 and carry on on the A66(M). The new ground is already an eye-catching development off the A66 link road (sign-posted Teeside) on the approaches to the town. There are around 1,700 parking spaces, although the club is charging £100 a season for home fans (for use at any time) and a charge of £5.00 for a car on matchdays. There's also room for 15 supporters' coaches. A strict residents-only parking scheme is meant to be in operation for the Neasham Road area on match days so the advice is don't dump the car on the streets near the stadium.

By Rail

If walking from the railway station, leave its northern approach, past the taxi rank out towards the carpark. On the right, there's a covered footbridge over the tracks into Albert Road on the left of this picture (below). You come out by ATS tyres on the left and a car park on your right and you take a right into Neasham Road. The ground is a 15 minute walk from here.

By Foot

It takes 20 minutes to walk to the new stadium from the town centre. You walk past the Cricketers Hotel in Park Gate and Civic Theatre on your left and up the hill, under the railway bridge, past the station entrance, turning right at the Yarm Road roundabout. Then walk along Neasham Road, past Morrisons supermarket on the right, with the Copper Beech pub a decent half-way house en route. You see a railway bridge straight ahead of you, walk under here and the ground is a two minute walk on the left.

By Bus

The No 21 bus runs every 10 minutes or so from the market square along Neasham Road, get off at the junction with Branklin Rd (fare c70p) and it's a two minute walk under the bridge to the ground. It's also expected bus shuttles will run, with a park-and-ride system.

Directions and travel info copied courtesy of www.dafts.co.uk

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Darlington : Web Resources
Darlington's North Stand. Currently this is not open to the public as the insides are unfinished
Darlington's North Stand. Currently this is not open to the public as the insides are unfinished.
One of the promises from the new owners is the stadium will get completed.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace

Web Sites

Darlington FC Official - usual PTV.
D@rlo Uncovered - even if this site wasn't good, and it is (something we don't often say about Rivals), it would still get a mention as its owner Scott Thornberry and members of his family suffered veiled (and less veiled) threats, attempts to close down the site, and bans from the club they love. His 'crime'? To ask questions and reveal truths that a certain club chairman did not like. Scott and D@rlo Uncovered are still with us. The club chairman is an ex-club chairman. There is some justice in the World.
The Tinshed - above average site, especially for match reports.
DFC Online - out of date.
DAFTS - a top site this, one of the best in the whole division, sorry League Two (puke). Well put together, useful, tells you things you actually want to know. Oh and independent. That's not official; not a franchised effort; that's INDEPENDENT. Sadly there are fewer and fewer such sites.
Darlo Trust - lots of info on the Trust's activities.
Quakers Online - like pop ups? Us neither.


Web Message Boards

Darlo Uncovered Forum - Unofficial message board, registration required

E-Mail Mailing Lists

Virtual Quakers - go to www.topica.com/lists/darlo for subscribing/unsubscribing instructions.



Local Press

Northern Echo
Evening Gazette

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Darlington : Food & Drink
General :

Out of town stadium, so the better pubs and eating places which tend to be towards the centre are a long way from the ground.

Our second long haul to County Durham of the season coincides with the Darlington Spring Beer Festival which runs from Thursday March 10th and on through the weekend at the Arts Centre.

Club Bar :

The new stadium has concourse bars on all sides, including for the away section. There's also a 'club house' called The Tinshed which does admit away fans. Won't know you're born up there.
This is all very fortunate as the ground is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and it's something of a trek to find the nearest drinking establishments away from the stadium.

Local Pubs :

Britannia - friendly local
Britannia - friendly local
© Hugh Gleave
Britannia: Friendly drinking (no food) local in the heart of Darlington and not too far from both railway stations. 11-11 Fridays and Saturdays. Regular ales are Camerons Strongarm and John Smith's Bitter, with up to three guests in addition. Own car park.
Britannia, 1 Archer Street, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 6LR. Tel: 01325 463787. Map: Click Here.

Copper Beech Hotel: One of the closer outlets to the stadium, about ten minutes walk along the Neasham Road north towards the town centre.
Copper Beech Hotel, Neasham Road, Darlington, Durham, DL1 4DH. Tel: 01325 462951. Map: Click Here.

Number Twenty-2 - classic real ale establishment
Number Twenty-2 - classic real ale establishment
© Hugh Gleave
Number Twenty-2: This is THE real ale pub in the area. Open Monday - Saturday 11-11 (closed all day Sunday). Launched in 1995 it has specialised in the beer market (no spirits or alcopops are stocked). There are thirteen handpumps mostly serving hard to find beers from small producers. The house beers are the Village Brewer stable of White Boar, Bull and Old Ruby. Nightmare, a classic, is also a regular - though badged as "Yorkshire Stout". The Continent is not overlooked, with Erdinger Weissbier (a strong German wheat beer) and Liefmans Frambozen (a Belgian fruit beer) on draught. The pub has lined glasses so even the most ridiculous Northern head doesn't short change you. Meals freshly prepared from seasonal produce are served at lunchtimes.
This is the sort of pub that is all too rare because:
1) The landlord and staff have to work their butts off to serve top quality ale and food, not flick a pressurised tap or press a microwave button.
2) The giant chains who dominate the pub trade see more profit in peddling the industrial level mass production of shit in giant factories.
3) Too many customers all too easily accept second, third and quite frankly tenth rate pap thrust down their throats with the lubrication of huge advertising budgets.
But perhaps the punters are getting what they really want at the Flatulence & Fart All-American Diner & Coyote Ugly Theme Bar? Well maybe plenty of them are, but a bit more choice wouldn't go amiss. And when it occurs, as here, we find a pub that generally ranges from fairly busy to very busy.
There was a notice on the door discouraging football fans in colours but our hoops, scarves, fleeces and other accoutrements attracted no comment whatsoever.
Number Twenty-2, 22 Coniscliffe Road, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 7RG. Tel: 01325 354590. Map: Click Here.

Old Yard Tapas Bar: As the name suggests an interesting mixture of English pub and Mediterranean taverna. Hmm, dining out under the stars in Darlington in February?? Actually the pavement licence is summer months only......... though dining out under the stars in Darlington in July/August is a bit of a scary concept too! The food is tapas and mezes, with the sangria and ouzo to match if you wish. But the beer is rather better than you are likely to find in Spain and Greece. The house beers are John Smiths Magnet, Theakstons Old Peculier and Theakstons Cool Cask, with two guests from a list of about a dozen also on. There's even a "happy hour" from 5p.m.-8 p.m. on Fridays. There's also TV, for football only. Opening hours are 11-11.
Old Yard Tapas Bar, 98, Bondgate, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 7JY. Tel: 01325 467385. Website: Click Here. Map: Click Here.

Quaker Coffee House: Tapas bars? Alcoholic coffee houses? What is going on in Darlington? Hidden away in one of the town's historic yards, about as close to the epicentre of Darlington as one can get, the coffee house/café is upstairs and opens from 7.30 a.m.-4 p.m., whilst the bar downstairs opens 11-11. It has its own exclusive beer, Quaker Ghost, as well as up to five guests. Rock is the music of choice here, with live bands on a Wednesday. The bar is wheelchair friendly. A particularly popular venue for visiting football fans even though nowhere near the football stadium.
Naturally this somewhat eccentric venture does not sit comfortably in the portfolio of bland indentikits beloved of the pubco that ultimately owns it, and the b*st*rds were attempting to close it down in 2003. A spirited battle by those who love the place appears to have produced a reprieve so far. All power to them!
Quaker Coffee House, 2, Mechanics Yard, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 7QF. Tel: 01325 468364. Website: Click Here. Map: Click Here.

Tanners Hall - a Wetherspoon
Tanners Hall - a Wetherspoon
© Hugh Gleave
Tanners Hall: Fairly typical town-centre Wetherspoon. Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m., with food served pretty much all day. Cheap, disabled friendly, cheap, families welcome, cheap, a patio area, cheap, a public carpark next door - yep, it tends to be packed, particularly at weekends. Beers are the now rather boring standard package of Directors, Spitfire and Theakston Best, and one needs to hope whatever two guests usually on are providing something a bit more stimulating when one visits.
Tanners Hall, 53-54, Skinnergate, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 7LL. Tel: 01325 369939. Map: Click Here.

The Bridge Inn: For those searching for something away from the town but still convenient this pub in Stapleton could be the answer. Those fans coming up the A1(M) will find the small village of Stapleton off the roundabout where the A66(M) runs out and becomes a normal road, a couple of miles before reaching the ground.
The Bridge Inn, The Green, Stapleton, Darlington, Durham, DL2 2QQ. Tel: 01325 350106. Map: Click Here.

The Tawney Owl: A short step further along the Neasham Road from the stadium than the Copper Beech (above). A Vintage Inn, which is one of the many Mitchells & Butlers brands that the now pubco rather than brewer inflicts on the British public. To provide the flavour of what Mitchells & Butlers hide behind: the execrable Harvester chain, the nauseous Scream, the pathetically pseudy Edwards............and on and on and on and on....... are all theirs. Themed 'atmosphere' - created on the presumption that people are so ****ing pathetic that they can't create their own for themselves in their own local that suits their particular community, but need it shipped in and 'designed' through fake wall hangings and "memorabilia". I hate pubco's like Mitchells & Butlers with a loathing that comes close to health damaging.
I'll leave it to their PR to describe Vintage Inns: a collection of characterful and comfortable country inns with modern food. You would presume that a person using the word "characterful" would be discretely stoned to death. In the world of pubco's they are doubtless on the promotion fast-track.
The Tawney Owl, Neasham Road, Darlington, Durham, DL1 4DJ. Tel: 01325 384467. Map: Click Here.


Likelihood the Natives Will Understand You :

Slim, it's the north-east. Best to learn one or two simple phrases beforehand, like: "A bottle of broon ale, bonny lad," or "you can have a fishy on a little dishy when the boot comes in", and you'll be fine, trust us.

Top-Tip :

These days it's probably safe to slag off R*yn*lds without him then turning up on your doorstep at 2.00 a.m. In fact be bold. Shout R*YN*LDS IS A ******* ****!! at the top of your voice in Darlington and you might never have to buy a drink in the town again......as well as finding yourself married to three of their daughters/sons (depending on your predilection).

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Darlington : Local Amenities
Local Guesthouses and Hotels

Go to A1 Tourism's Online Guide to find Guest Houses/Hotels in the town and surrounding areas.


Other Points Of Interest

Darlington boasts an interesting railway musuem, should you be the type to find railway museums interesting. Otherwise it's a thriving, bustling town with some glorious countryside around nearby. Oh, and there's a train made of bricks to have a look at. Click here to find out more.

[No responsibilty is taken for any inaccuracies. This page is entirely the product of bias and prejudice.]

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