Boro’ have taken on their fair share of opponents down the years and some of those teams have simply been no more than passing acquaintances, while there are others that have become – well – annoyingly familiar. For all the many times we’ve faced teams like Woking, there have been rare match-ups too. So, we’re asking, where do Darlington stand in the grand scheme of things?
Darlington, as we knew ’em at least, are no more. The Quakers ceased to be. Darlo’s adventure started back in 1883, but came to an shuddering halt in 2012. After going into administration for the third time in less than 10 years, the club was bought out without entering a CVA. So, it’s possible to argue (as some do) that Darlo lived on. The FA, however, did not see it that way and ruled it should be treated as a new club: Darlington 1883.
Still with us?
Darlington: Us And Them
Boro’ traded Football League places with Darlo in 2010. We left the Conference behind, which opened up a vacancy that the Quakers filled by finishing bottom of League Two. For the second time in its history, the County Durham outfit were plunged into non-league. The first time, in 1989, saw the club storm straight back into the League. The second? Well, financial troubles linked to an extravagant new ground got in the way.
Yet, that’s not why we remember them. Nor was it the time they almost signed Faustino Asprilla.
You have to go back a bit further. Boro’ only went up against Darlington once – and it didn’t end well. Bear in mind, this was eight years before we’d shaped up into a League outfit. And it was during the death thrones of Wayne Turner’s spell as Stevenage gaffer. The 2002-3 FA Cup Second Round took us to Feethams and it was brutal. Richard Howell’s leveller after an early Darlo goal only delaying the inevitable as our hosts won 4-1.
In the aftermath of that game, things went full mini-circle.
- 26 December 2002: Kettering inflict Boro’s fourth straight defeat – including the Darlo disaster. Wayne Turner is axed.
- 28 December 2002: Boro’ romp to a five-goal win against Graham Westley’s Farnborough
- 4 January 2003: Graham Westley’s Farnborough go to Feethams in the FA Cup Third Round and overcome The Quakers
- 28 January 2003: Graham Westley quits Farnborough to take up the Boro’ hotseat
After that, Darlington remained in League Two as we did the Conference right up until 2010. The development of the Darlington Arena left them hamstrung, however. Quite why certain people thought the club needed a 25,000-seat venue is a matter for them. Not that you can get 25,000 in it; it’s believed poor access around the venue means the council restricted capacity to ‘just’ 10,000. The ground is now owned by a local rugby club.
And for Darlington 1883? Well, The Quakers are bouncing back – rising three tiers in four seasons. Now, to take on Conference North…
Image: Mark Harrington
BoroGuide’s Darlington club profile – for old time’s sake…