Rahul Sharma

Darlington 1883

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Nickname(s)  Darlo, The Quakers
Website  Club home page
Founded  2012
Ground Capacity  3,000
Manager  Martin Gray
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Full name  Darlington Football Club
2015–16  Northern Premier League Premier Division, 1st (promoted)
Grounds  Blackwell Meadows, Darlington
Leagues  National League North, Northern Premier League

Darlington 1883 vs stockport county match highlights 08 09 16

Darlington 1883 is an English football club that plays at Blackwell Meadows, Darlington. The company Darlington 1883 Limited was incorporated on 18 January 2012 and went on to purchase the assets of Darlington Football Club on 3 May 2012 when a creditors voluntary agreement (CVA) could not be agreed with creditors. In line with its policy of not allowing clubs that go bust to continue without paying debts, The Football Association decree that when a CVA is not agreed and a club has to be liquidated, any "phoenix club" is considered a new club. This policy had previously been applied to other collapsing clubs, such as Chester City FC and Halifax Town AFC. Despite the FA's decision being consistent with previous clubs' treatment (although the circumstances faced by each club were different), the "new club" ruling is hotly disputed by the fans, who reject the determination of the Football Association and refuse to recognise the enforced name change or the removal of the historic honours of Darlington Football Club.


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Darlington applied to join the Northern League as a new club, after the collapse of Darlington F.C. Under FA regulations, new clubs are required to join with a different name from the club that they are replacing, and so the wish of the club to register under the name Darlington F.C. was not allowed. A deadline imposed by the FA meant the board was unable to wait for the results of a poll of supporters, so the name Darlington 1883 (with no "F.C." suffix) was chosen.


The company Darlington 1883 Limited was incorporated on 18 Jan 2012 by owners of Darlington Football Club. This company then went on to purchase the assets of Darlington F.C. on 3 May 2012 when a CVA could not be agreed with creditors. Being regarded as a new club by the FA meant that Darlington 1883 could not be placed higher than level nine of the football pyramid, four divisions below where Darlington F.C. had been at the end of the 2011–12 season.

Darlington Football Club itself was founded in 1883, and became a professional football club in 1908, joining the North Eastern League. The club became a member of the Football League in 1920, in which it competed until 1989, and again from 1990 to 2010. In the 1989–90 season and from 2010 to 2012, Darlington played in the Football Conference.

Darlington went into administration in 2004, in 2009, and again in October 2011 when enough money was raised by fans' groups to compete for the whole of the 2011–12 season, which ended with Darlington relegated into the Conference North.

The club was eventually taken over by Darlington1883, a group of local fans, with the intention of moving into community ownership. Darlington1883 failed to arrange a CVA, and as such on 21 June 2012 Darlington F.C. ceased to exist. The as-yet unnamed 'phoenix' club were placed into the Northern League Division One, on the recommendation of the Football Association when the club applied to use a ground without the required grading for the Northern Premier League. An appeal against the FA decision was inevitably rejected, confirming that the new club would not be able to play as Darlington F.C. On 25 June 2012 the new board's registration of a new club, under the name of Darlington 1883, was accepted.

In March 2013 it was confirmed that the Darlington Football Club Community Interest Company (DFC CIC), which represents around 800 fan-members, had taken a 52% stake in the football club. This made the club 100% fan and community owned, with 26% owned by the Darlington 1883 Supporters' Club and 22% by 22 individual fans. Darlington 1883 announced that three members of the DFC CIC would be added to the board as directors, along with current ones and new chief executive officer, Martin Jesper, head of football operations, Laura Drew and head of club development, Dave Mills.

Following a successful first season in the Northern League Division One, Darlington 1883 were crowned champions with a record haul of 122 points, having scored 145 goals in the process. As a result, Darlington 1883 were promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One North.

Even though Darlington 1883 are a new club, they are committed to paying the former club's debt including a recent payment of £53,000 to HMRC.

Darlington played in the Northern Premier League Division One North for the 2013–14 season, having won the Northern League Division One championship the previous season. In the 2013–14 season, Darlington finished 2nd and qualified for the playoffs, where they were beaten in the semifinal by Ramsbottom United. Ramsbottom went on to win the final and achieve promotion. In the 2014–15 season, Darlington again finished 2nd and on 2 May 2015 they won the playoff final 2–0 against Bamber Bridge to win promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division. In the 2015–16 season, Darlington clinched the Northern Premier League Premier Division title on 21 April 2016 after beating Whitby Town 7–1 to seal promotion to the National League North.

Reserve Team

In October 2016 it was announced that Horden C.W. would move 30 miles to Darlington to become the reserve team of Darlington; they will change their name to Darlington 1883 Reserves and play on the brand new 4G Surface at Eastbourne Sports Complex in Darlington. Horden Chairman Norman Stephens said 'If the move had not have happened, Horden would have been dead by Xmas'. Norman Stephens and some of the playing staff were retained by Darlington who took Horden's place in the Wearside League. They played their first game under the new name on 6 October in a 1–0 away defeat to Boldon C.A.


While the previous club had occupied the Darlington Arena, arrangements were made with local side Bishop Auckland F.C. for Darlington to share their Heritage Park ground from the start of the 2012–13 season. Plans had originally been laid down to move to Shildon Football Club, but Heritage Park was eventually chosen as Darlington's first official home.

Heritage Park is south-west of Bishop Auckland. Its opening ceremony took place on 24 October 2010 in front of an invitation-only audience including local entrepreneur Sir John Hall and the Bishop Auckland F.C. affiliated youth team.

On 13 December 2013, it was announced that Darlington and Darlington Rugby Football Club had reached a deal to allow the football team to share their Blackwell Meadows ground, and move back into the town of Darlington.

On 18 March 2016, it was confirmed that Darlington were to be relocating to Blackwell Meadows at the start of the 2016–17 season (sharing with Darlington RFC), with expansion plans in place which would expand Blackwell Meadows to hold 3,000 fans, which are the regulations in order to be promoted to the National League North

On 26 December 2016, Darlington played their first game at Blackwell Meadows.The game was between Darlington and Halifax Town in which Darlington won 3-2 in the National League North. The attendance was exactly 3,000 at Blackwell Meadows.


In the 2012–13 season, Darlington's first season as a renamed club, its main rivals were Spennymoor Town owing to the hotly contested title for the Northern League. Spennymoor Town had won the league for the three previous years, but had not applied for promotion until the 2012–13 season when Darlington entered the league. Spennymoor Town were the only club to contend with Darlington for the title towards the end of the season. To a lesser extent, landlords Bishop Auckland were also rivals owing to their shared home ground.

In the 2014–15 season, Darlington once again locked horns with Spennymoor Town after they achieved promotion from the Northern League in 2014. Again, they contested Darlington for promotion in a semi-final playoff match that Darlington won 3–2.

In the eyes of most Darlington fans, while they may be two divisions apart, Hartlepool United will always remain Darlington's largest rivals.

Current squad

As of 31 December 2016.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.


As of 24 August 2016.

As Darlington 1883

Northern Premier League Premier Division (Level 7):

  • Champions (1): 2015–16
  • Northern Premier League Division One North (Level 8):

  • Play-off Winners (1): 2014–15
  • Northern Football League Division One (Level 9):

  • Champions (1): 2012–13
  • League

  • Third Division North
  • 1924–25 Runners-up: 1921–22
  • Football League Fourth Division 1990–91
  • Runners-up: 1965–66
  • Football Conference
  • 1989–90
  • Northern League
  • 1895–96, 1899–1900 Runners-up: 1896–97, 1898–99
  • North Eastern League
  • 1912–13, 1920–21 Runners-up: 1919–20


  • FA Trophy
  • 2010–11
  • Football League Third Division North Cup
  • 1933–34 Runners-up: 1935–36
  • Durham Challenge Cup
  • 1884–85, 1890–91, 1892–93, 1896–97, 1919–20, 1999–2000

    As Darlington 1883

  • Highest league position: 1st, Northern Premier League 2015–16.
  • Biggest home win: 7–0 v Ossett Albion, Northern Premier Division One North, 2 October 2013.
  • Biggest away win: 7–1 v Billingham Town, Northern League Division One, 6 October 2012, v Hebburn Town, Northern League Division One, 9 February 2013 and v Whitby Town, Northern Premier League, 21 April 2016.
  • Highest attendance: 2,001 v Guisborough Town, Northern League Division One, 1 May 2013.
  • Best FA Cup performance: 2nd Qualifying Round 2016–17.
  • Best FA Trophy performance: 2nd Round Qualifying 2014–15.
  • As Darlington

  • FA Trophy
  • 2010–11
  • Football League Third Division North Cup
  • 1933–34 Runners-up: 1935–36
  • Durham Challenge Cup
  • 1884–85, 1890–91, 1892–93, 1896–97, 1919–20, 1999–2000


  • * Home games played at Heritage Park, Bishop Auckland.
  • ** Home games played at Heritage Park, Bishop Auckland and Brewery Field, Spennymoor.
  • References

    Darlington 1883 Wikipedia

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