Whose to blame for Darlo's plight?
Sad to see Darlington go into administration
this week, sad to see any club go into administration to be honest. The Quakers were having a good season as well but their hopes of ending 17-long years in the 4th tier took a nosedive with the implementation of a 10 point deduction. The local council are getting blamed for not acting quick enough to the board's spirited plans for a hotel and leisure complex next to the stadium.
To fans though, it was the much heralded move from their beloved Feethams
(right) to what is now called the Darlington Arena
that began their downfall. Talk about over-ambitious. Darlo only ever averaged a little less than 4,000 so what possessed George Reynolds
to build a 25,000 all-seater stadium on the edge of town no one knows except the ex-con.
In fact poor access to the soulless £20 million stadium actually means that 15,000 of those seats can't be used anyway, and forget the hotel but sadly local fans have not been flooding to this historic town spawned by the Quaker movement just pointedly 10 miles west of Middlesbrough. This season's average crowd is just 2,900.
Fans blame Reynolds for most of this. Although when he was parading Faustino Asprilla as a new signing and suggesting Paul Gasgoigne was next (neither actually signed) I'm assuming his stock was high, however Reynolds who named the new stadium after himself (I always have an issue with that, it's certainly a dose of megalomania) then ran the club into administration just 6 months after moving into their new stadium in December 2003.
Various tycoons have taken over at the club since, with George Houghton being the latest and the 'former property tycoon' claims they are losing £54,000 a week and are £4 million in the hole with the bank. Houghton, who owns the stadium
points to the lack of planning agreement to develop land around the stadium as to the clubs failure, meantime Darlo fans will point to the day Reynolds ripped the soul out of their dear old club when they moved out of the Feethams, which then sat empty until demolished in 2006