Monthly Archives: July 2014

Darlington 1 v 5 Sunderland

A good day all round for the Quakers on Saturday despite the score line against their north east rivals.

A sell out crowd at Heritage Park witnessed a comfortable victory for Sunderland, however Darlington came away without any embarrassment against a side full of Premier League stars.

The game had been arranged as both a pre season friendly and also a fundraiser for darlo and the game served both purposes well.

Darlo had near enough a full squad available for their third pre season game, with only David Dowson and Jordan Robinson being unavailable due to personal commitments. Leon Scott remains out with injury from last season.
Darlo starting 11 – Jameson, Brown, Hunter, Hatch, Walker, Galbraith, Portas, Mitchell, Purewal, Thompson, Armstrong.

Sunderland started with stars including, Fletcher, O’Shea, Larsson and as expected dominated the first half in torrential rain. It was 2-0 at the break with two well worked moves both ending with Steven Fletcher tapping home.

Darlo were able to create a couple of good opportunities themselves with Thompson and Purewal both wasting chances in the box.

At half time Sunderland changed their entire side, changes which saw, Pantilimon, Brown, Cattermole, Gomez and Wickham all enter the fray. Darlo also made changes with Bell, White and Fisher starting the second half.

As somewhat expected the second half was mainly one way traffic with Giaccherini, Wickham and Gomez all scoring, the final goal from Gomez being the pick of the bunch from the edge of the box.

In between the fourth and fifth goals Gary Brown was able to pull one back from a corner for the Quakers, a memorable moment for the captain and Newcastle fan.

The only concern for Darlington will be the withdrawal of Tez Galbraith early in the second half through injury, hopefully it was just a pre caution.

Most of our attacking players struggled to have an impact in the game, but that would be expected against opposition seven leagues higher than ourselves. Jameson once again showed he is a more than capable back up in between the sticks with a strong first half display and Adam Mitchell ran himself into the ground against his former club.

There is still areas for concern and numerous question will need to be answered in the coming weeks including.
Where will Liam Hatch play?
Will we bring in a new full back ?
What will be the striking partnership to start the first game?

From here we have further friendly games with Billingham Synthonia, Whitby and Bishop Auckland before the league gets underway at home to Warrington on the 16th of August.

Highlights of the game from the official dfc website –


Newcastle Benfield, Northallerton, Sunderland and league fixtures

This week has not been great for me, a dislocated shoulder has meant the start of two weeks off work trying to do everything with only one arm/hand. Not very easy.
However darlo are back in action and the new season is on the horizon.

Newcastle Benfield

I made the trip up with a friend for our first preseason game away to the northern league outfit last weekend and it was good to get to a game after two months.
Our first game was useful in giving the first team squad, trialists and some youth players a run out.
Thommo scored a trademark goal and Liam Hatch was able to get a run out at both ends of the pitch.
The goals we conceded were both soft, however nothing could have been done about the second after Chris Hunter winded himself.


Due to the injury I missed the game, but thanks to the great work as always from Kev I’ve seen the highlights which included some well taken goals.
All of our fans will be hoping new signing Tom Portas can have a huge impact in midfield and he opened his account for the club with a great strike.
The game will also do no harm to strikers Hatch, Armstrong and Purewal who all put the ball in the back of the net.
Highlights -


Today is an exciting occasion for all as the football club should receive a huge boost financially with a near sell-out crowd against premier league opposition. After initial sales from our end were poor it seems the numbers have increased over the last week or so since the fans forum. Sunderland as were expected have sold their allocation. Hopefully the segregation works without incident.

Fixtures released

If anyone doubted the task in front of us for the coming season the release of our fixture list has confirmed this. Our opening two games see meetings against two of the league favourites, Warrington and Spennymoor. The first Darlo Spenny meeting of the season is at the Brewery Field on Tuesday 19th August and should be another fantastic atmosphere as it was when the sides met two seasons ago.
Our first four home fixtures all are against fancied sides in the division, after Warrington we then host Kendal, Farsley and Salford.

Darlo Fans Forum Wednesday 9th July

Attended the Fans Forum for the first time on Wednesday and was surprised by the numbers who turned up. Martin Jesper and Dave Mills both gave presentations, before Martin Gray spoke briefly about the football side of the club. The main Points I took from the meeting were as follows
• The effect ticket sales have on the club as a whole
• Debt down to 60k from 240k
• Blackwell plans coming along, waiting for permission from council
• Gray happy with signings, giving everyone a chance in pre season
• How much Fundraising/ Volunteers work is required
• Season ticket/ Sunderland match sales disappointment

The effect ticket sales have on the club as a whole
Before last night I did not realise how big an impact this had on the club. We can obviously survive on the amounts we have coming through the door, but to have a top end budget without a wealthy benefactor is hard. The total aggregate attendance difference from last season to 12/13 didn’t seem that big on paper, however the financial impact was huge. For the coming season it is crucial we at least can keep the attendances at the levels of last season, around 1100.

Debt down to 60k from 240k
Without going into the details last night, it was stated the club has cleared off all but 60k of the debt which is a fantastic step from where we were two years ago. Although the back to darlo campaign will take precedent this year, the debt should be cleared within the next year or two which will mean any extra funds can go straight back into the club.
Blackwell plans coming along, waiting for permission from council
The part which I suspect most people went along for on Wednesday night was the updates regarding the clubs move back into the town. The pictures and graphics look great and fans will be happy to see the plans.
The message was generally all the work behind the scenes is being done and they are waiting for the go ahead from the council for the whole complex, with the car park currently the hold up.
Once the council has given the go ahead, the plans, timescales and costs can be released.

Gray happy with signings, giving everyone a chance in pre season
Martin seemed very happy when asked about the football side of things, notably stating Hatch will give the option for a player at both ends of the pitch. Also when asked regarding Dale Hopson, he replied stating everyone will be given a chance in pre season to impress and they will go from there.
Leon Scott is also recovering well from his injury and could be in contention by the end of pre season.

How much Fundraising/ Volunteers work is required
As stated many times before, the amount of fundraising needed along with the number of volunteers required was made clear. The amount of time and effort the fans have and will continue to put into the club is remarkable and never ceases to amaze me. However this is one of my areas of concern, fans will for the near future at least, be expected to keep donating to keep the club ticking over. I am ok with this and I expect many of the die hard’s also will be, however for the casual fan this could be a problem.

Season ticket/ Sunderland match sales disappointment
I was aware not many tickets in particular the season tickets had not been sold, however the figures for both were quite alarming, 400 season tickets, 350 tickets for Sunderland. As much as excuses/reasons can be labelled at why these numbers aren’t higher, they are disappointing for all fans. Hopefully a couple of hundred more will go at the weekend, but it leaves the overall message of the fan numbers dwindling.

A largely positive outlook from those at the helm, however the work and effort needed for our football club to succeed is clear. Hopefully a good start to the season and the finalising of the Blackwell Meadows plans will keep the ball rolling over for the club, which in twelve months time could be nearly clear of debt, playing in a higher division and hopefully playing in our own town, Darlington.