Around about this time last year a Darlington FC fan wrote something about his club which summed up how it feels to be a club slowly moving towards administration/liquidation. What followed was a desperate attempt to save the club which was achieved thanks to a last minute (literally) payment of debts and survival until the end of the season.
Darlington were relegated three games before the end of the 2011-12 season. After this the club was taken over by 1883 Community Interest Company (CIC) a community ownership method which is broadly similar to a supporters trust. However, as the club ownership was transferred to the new owners without entering a CVA the club was demoted four divisions to the Northern League Division 1 on FA advice. Also the FA forced the club to change its name as it was supposed to be treated as a new club. The new owners chose Darlington 1883 and started again!
The club moved from its former home, the Reynolds arena – a 25,000 seater stadium which was the source of all of the clubs administrations, and is ground-sharing with Bishop Auckland. So far Darlington 1883 has been successful on the pitch and are top of their league by six points. Spennymoor Town are the closest challengers and have four games in hand over Darlington currently so promotion to the Northern League is far from certain.
Attendances at the new ground have been around the 1,400 mark for most games and many fans are enjoying going to all the home and away matches and being home in time for tea as well. The next big step for Darlington will be deciding whether to leave the Northern League as traditionally their teams have preferred to stay in the more localised league than risk financial ruin travelling vast distances to other places deemed to be northern.