DARLINGTON Rugby Football Club has nothing to fear from sharing facilities with the town’s football club, supporters have been told ahead of a crucial vote on the partnership.

Members of Darlington RFC will vote tonight (Monday, March 24) on whether to allow a groundshare with the Quakers.

Although senior officers at the rugby club are backing the plan, some members have raised concerns that the football club will take over.

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But Martin Jesper, Darlington FC chief executive reassured rugby club members that the football club was mindful that it would be a tenant of the Blackwell Meadows facilities.

He said: “The simple message is that this is a win, win for both clubs and the rugby club has nothing to fear.

“Every step along the way the talks have been very positive, healthy and mindful of our respective fans.

“What we have stated at various fans’ forums is that we have to appreciate that these are their facilities, and we need to respect the people who have allowed us to come and use them.”

Mr Jesper said meetings about proposed changes to the facilities to accommodate the football club had taken place on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

“The rugby club has been integral to those discussions,” he added.

The vote will be taken at a closed meeting starting at 7pm at Blackwell Meadows. A result is expected at around 9pm.

Michael Stowe, rugby club director, said the vote represented a significant moment in the history of Darlington RFC.

He added: “We are aware of the concerns our members hold and the meeting on Monday night is a chance for us to allay those concerns.

Our vision for Blackwell Meadows to become a community sports hub is unwavering and we believe the future lies in this model.

“Darlington FC was born out of Darlington RFC and this is an opportunity to bring them home and create something special; for both clubs.”

• The outcome of the vote will be published tonight at thenorthernecho.co.uk