Feethams homes scheme should be scrapped to honour world's first black professional footballer, campaigners argue

First published in News

A CONTROVERSIAL housing development should be replaced with a sports academy honouring the world’s first black professional footballer, it has been urged.

Campaigner Shaun Campbell told planners that a scheme to build 82 homes at Feethams - the former home of Darlington Football Club - should be scrapped in favour of a lasting tribute to Arthur Wharton.

Mr Wharton - who died in 1930 – began his career playing as a goalkeeper for the Quakers, going on to achieve success with a number of high ranking teams.

A statue of Mr Wharton stands at the headquarters of FIFA and campaigners are now urging Darlington Borough Council to pay tribute to the pioneering sportsman in the town where he made his name.

The issue was raised at a council planning meeting held to discuss slight alterations to the Feethams development by applicants Persimmon Homes, which has already cleared the site in preparation for work getting underway.

Mr Campbell – whose campaign to Save Feethams has attracted high profile support from the likes of Stan Collymore, Irvine Welsh and Fabrice Muamba - told councillors: “If you miss this opportunity, you are going to miss the most wonderful opportunity the town has had.

“You have a platform to do something wonderful and I would propose what we do is build a sports academy on the site.”

He asked planners to suspend their decisions to give him the opportunity to present proposals for an academy that would honour Wharton’s legacy by giving young people the chance to fulfil their potential through sport.

He added: “There are statues to Arthur Wharton around the world and there is about to be one 16-feet high unveiled at the home of the Football Association.

“To our great embarrassment, we do not have one in Darlington and I find that humbling.”

In response, the chair of the planning committee, Councillor Paul Baldwin, advised Mr Campbell that they would be unable to halt any building on the site as permission for the housing development had been granted in 2011.

When asked why he had not challenged the original proposals, Mr Campbell replied: “I really wish I had but I wasn’t really aware of them because I was so wrapped up in trying to celebrate a sporting icon.”

However, the planning committee agreed to ask developers to include markers reflecting Feetham’s heritage within the site.

For details of Arthur Wharton and his legacy, visit arthurwharton.com.

Comments (28)

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7:35am Sat 10 May 14

Davy Crocket says...

How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?
How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ? Davy Crocket
  • Score: 31

8:39am Sat 10 May 14

Hunty1 says...

I've no doubt they'll call it Quaker Park Estate and name one of the Road's Wharton Road, after all the council is full of geniuses!
I've no doubt they'll call it Quaker Park Estate and name one of the Road's Wharton Road, after all the council is full of geniuses! Hunty1
  • Score: 8

8:51am Sat 10 May 14

darlolass22 says...

There's money to be made from the council tax from 82 homes. It's a nice idea to have a sports academy but who'd fund it? It would need millions.
There's money to be made from the council tax from 82 homes. It's a nice idea to have a sports academy but who'd fund it? It would need millions. darlolass22
  • Score: 16

10:18am Sat 10 May 14

Nbtdwml says...

Well if it was white people who were freed in 1807 then the probably would. Black people still suffer ignorant people saying stupid things today, you know the type 'I'm not racist, I know a black person, but...'. That land was donated to the people of darlington so what right to the council have to prophet from it when all the do is spend there money on unnecessary rubbish and not things that this ghost town really needs.
Well if it was white people who were freed in 1807 then the probably would. Black people still suffer ignorant people saying stupid things today, you know the type 'I'm not racist, I know a black person, but...'. That land was donated to the people of darlington so what right to the council have to prophet from it when all the do is spend there money on unnecessary rubbish and not things that this ghost town really needs. Nbtdwml
  • Score: -17

10:39am Sat 10 May 14

maclaren says...

Davy Crocket wrote:
How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?
Absolutely spot on Davy Crocket
[quote][p][bold]Davy Crocket[/bold] wrote: How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?[/p][/quote]Absolutely spot on Davy Crocket maclaren
  • Score: 5

10:56am Sat 10 May 14

gramps427 says...

Nbtdwml wrote:
Well if it was white people who were freed in 1807 then the probably would. Black people still suffer ignorant people saying stupid things today, you know the type 'I'm not racist, I know a black person, but...'. That land was donated to the people of darlington so what right to the council have to prophet from it when all the do is spend there money on unnecessary rubbish and not things that this ghost town really needs.
No the land was not donated to the people of Darlington; it was purchased by the Cricket club and a Trust was set up that included the sitting MP,Mayor and several of the towns good & true businessmen. Today the majority of the trust are members of the cricket club and they outnumber the rest. Plus the Cricket ground is still there and available for hire; they hold junior games and school sports and before the rules of hockey changed requiring artificial turf the Darlington Hockey club played there. The football ground was only used rarely for local football cup games and the sale of that land will enable the cricket club to improve facilities at feethams and hopefully allow them to create their own academy. The Council will not profit from the sale of the land, but perhaps they could find a way to have some reference to Arthur added to the development.
[quote][p][bold]Nbtdwml[/bold] wrote: Well if it was white people who were freed in 1807 then the probably would. Black people still suffer ignorant people saying stupid things today, you know the type 'I'm not racist, I know a black person, but...'. That land was donated to the people of darlington so what right to the council have to prophet from it when all the do is spend there money on unnecessary rubbish and not things that this ghost town really needs.[/p][/quote]No the land was not donated to the people of Darlington; it was purchased by the Cricket club and a Trust was set up that included the sitting MP,Mayor and several of the towns good & true businessmen. Today the majority of the trust are members of the cricket club and they outnumber the rest. Plus the Cricket ground is still there and available for hire; they hold junior games and school sports and before the rules of hockey changed requiring artificial turf the Darlington Hockey club played there. The football ground was only used rarely for local football cup games and the sale of that land will enable the cricket club to improve facilities at feethams and hopefully allow them to create their own academy. The Council will not profit from the sale of the land, but perhaps they could find a way to have some reference to Arthur added to the development. gramps427
  • Score: 15

11:10am Sat 10 May 14

PJ Chingford says...

Mr C is not being entirely finest here, he knew all about the original development.!
Mr C is not being entirely finest here, he knew all about the original development.! PJ Chingford
  • Score: 6

11:10am Sat 10 May 14

settheworldonfire says...

Why does everyone still live in the past?...Move on the future is ahead....
Why does everyone still live in the past?...Move on the future is ahead.... settheworldonfire
  • Score: 17

11:12am Sat 10 May 14

PJ Chingford says...

I meant 'honest' of course
I meant 'honest' of course PJ Chingford
  • Score: 8

11:29am Sat 10 May 14

settheworldonfire says...

Davy Crocket wrote:
How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?
Off line here...Has anyone read the rubbish about Billy Welch the Gypsy leader getting off with 6 penalty points?
Blaming his wife as he says he cannot read or write...Well i know he is lying as he has been seen on t.v. reading from a piece of paper at Appleby fair...This is on t.v.....He should be done for perjury as he can read and write....I see the Northern echo has not allowed comments on this matter...I wonder why ?...Guess it is gypsy loving again from the Echo....

He was also driving the same vehicle with no tax or m.o.t. plus no insurance ...So why get off with it.....
[quote][p][bold]Davy Crocket[/bold] wrote: How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?[/p][/quote]Off line here...Has anyone read the rubbish about Billy Welch the Gypsy leader getting off with 6 penalty points? Blaming his wife as he says he cannot read or write...Well i know he is lying as he has been seen on t.v. reading from a piece of paper at Appleby fair...This is on t.v.....He should be done for perjury as he can read and write....I see the Northern echo has not allowed comments on this matter...I wonder why ?...Guess it is gypsy loving again from the Echo.... He was also driving the same vehicle with no tax or m.o.t. plus no insurance ...So why get off with it..... settheworldonfire
  • Score: 31

12:19pm Sat 10 May 14

Spy Boy says...

settheworldonfire wrote:
Why does everyone still live in the past?...Move on the future is ahead....
I'm afraid that we have seen DBCs vision of the future for Darlington and it stinks. Just walk around the town and see the vandalism. Vandalism on an industrial scale.

If the homes are to be built, then maybe it should be called Wharton Court and have a statue, or illustrated plaque at the entrance. By the way, where will the entrance be? Maybe off the back lane? Maybe via a new bridge over the Skerne from Victoria Embankment? Maybe right through the Cricket Club?
[quote][p][bold]settheworldonfire[/bold] wrote: Why does everyone still live in the past?...Move on the future is ahead....[/p][/quote]I'm afraid that we have seen DBCs vision of the future for Darlington and it stinks. Just walk around the town and see the vandalism. Vandalism on an industrial scale. If the homes are to be built, then maybe it should be called Wharton Court and have a statue, or illustrated plaque at the entrance. By the way, where will the entrance be? Maybe off the back lane? Maybe via a new bridge over the Skerne from Victoria Embankment? Maybe right through the Cricket Club? Spy Boy
  • Score: -7

1:43pm Sat 10 May 14

behonest says...

Why not a statue of Thommo, he scored over 20 goals last season. No, just because he's white?
I wish they'd stop this nonsense about honours and statues for people, just because of their skin colour.
Why not a statue of Thommo, he scored over 20 goals last season. No, just because he's white? I wish they'd stop this nonsense about honours and statues for people, just because of their skin colour. behonest
  • Score: 12

2:30pm Sat 10 May 14

punkrocker says...

crocket is right and being backed by woman beater collymoron is hardly top form. they should rebuild the ground and have footy back at feetams where it belongs.
crocket is right and being backed by woman beater collymoron is hardly top form. they should rebuild the ground and have footy back at feetams where it belongs. punkrocker
  • Score: -4

5:03pm Sat 10 May 14

laughingboy51 says...

settheworldonfire wrote:
Davy Crocket wrote:
How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?
Off line here...Has anyone read the rubbish about Billy Welch the Gypsy leader getting off with 6 penalty points?
Blaming his wife as he says he cannot read or write...Well i know he is lying as he has been seen on t.v. reading from a piece of paper at Appleby fair...This is on t.v.....He should be done for perjury as he can read and write....I see the Northern echo has not allowed comments on this matter...I wonder why ?...Guess it is gypsy loving again from the Echo....

He was also driving the same vehicle with no tax or m.o.t. plus no insurance ...So why get off with it.....
agree wholeheartedly with you about this setthewroldonfire
[quote][p][bold]settheworldonfire[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davy Crocket[/bold] wrote: How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?[/p][/quote]Off line here...Has anyone read the rubbish about Billy Welch the Gypsy leader getting off with 6 penalty points? Blaming his wife as he says he cannot read or write...Well i know he is lying as he has been seen on t.v. reading from a piece of paper at Appleby fair...This is on t.v.....He should be done for perjury as he can read and write....I see the Northern echo has not allowed comments on this matter...I wonder why ?...Guess it is gypsy loving again from the Echo.... He was also driving the same vehicle with no tax or m.o.t. plus no insurance ...So why get off with it.....[/p][/quote]agree wholeheartedly with you about this setthewroldonfire laughingboy51
  • Score: 12

5:56pm Sat 10 May 14

gramps427 says...

behonest wrote:
Why not a statue of Thommo, he scored over 20 goals last season. No, just because he's white?
I wish they'd stop this nonsense about honours and statues for people, just because of their skin colour.
Simply because Thommo was not the first to do so; Arthur was the first black player to play in England & Darlington was the first club he played for. Not only that he was a fine all round sportsman and held world sprint records; which is probably why Darlo played him in goal!
[quote][p][bold]behonest[/bold] wrote: Why not a statue of Thommo, he scored over 20 goals last season. No, just because he's white? I wish they'd stop this nonsense about honours and statues for people, just because of their skin colour.[/p][/quote]Simply because Thommo was not the first to do so; Arthur was the first black player to play in England & Darlington was the first club he played for. Not only that he was a fine all round sportsman and held world sprint records; which is probably why Darlo played him in goal! gramps427
  • Score: 3

6:25pm Sat 10 May 14

cheapside says...

If houses do get built on the old football ground, I won't be buying one given the history of waterlogging down there.
If a statue is to be erected why not put it in the concourse of the new cinema,hotel and restaurant complex area in Feethams. More people will be able to see it and probably become aware of the man and his place in football history.
It needs to be seen - otherwise lets move Pease's statue up to West Park where the street names are to do with railways.
If houses do get built on the old football ground, I won't be buying one given the history of waterlogging down there. If a statue is to be erected why not put it in the concourse of the new cinema,hotel and restaurant complex area in Feethams. More people will be able to see it and probably become aware of the man and his place in football history. It needs to be seen - otherwise lets move Pease's statue up to West Park where the street names are to do with railways. cheapside
  • Score: 5

7:40am Sun 11 May 14

darloboss says...

laughingboy51 wrote:
settheworldonfire wrote:
Davy Crocket wrote:
How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?
Off line here...Has anyone read the rubbish about Billy Welch the Gypsy leader getting off with 6 penalty points?
Blaming his wife as he says he cannot read or write...Well i know he is lying as he has been seen on t.v. reading from a piece of paper at Appleby fair...This is on t.v.....He should be done for perjury as he can read and write....I see the Northern echo has not allowed comments on this matter...I wonder why ?...Guess it is gypsy loving again from the Echo....

He was also driving the same vehicle with no tax or m.o.t. plus no insurance ...So why get off with it.....
agree wholeheartedly with you about this setthewroldonfire
was the car taken off him and impounded ?
why have the northern echo not allowed comment ?
cos its billy welch
[quote][p][bold]laughingboy51[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]settheworldonfire[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davy Crocket[/bold] wrote: How daft ... We wouldn't honour the first white professional footballer so why the first black ?[/p][/quote]Off line here...Has anyone read the rubbish about Billy Welch the Gypsy leader getting off with 6 penalty points? Blaming his wife as he says he cannot read or write...Well i know he is lying as he has been seen on t.v. reading from a piece of paper at Appleby fair...This is on t.v.....He should be done for perjury as he can read and write....I see the Northern echo has not allowed comments on this matter...I wonder why ?...Guess it is gypsy loving again from the Echo.... He was also driving the same vehicle with no tax or m.o.t. plus no insurance ...So why get off with it.....[/p][/quote]agree wholeheartedly with you about this setthewroldonfire[/p][/quote]was the car taken off him and impounded ? why have the northern echo not allowed comment ? cos its billy welch darloboss
  • Score: 17

7:50am Sun 11 May 14

black&whitehorse says...

da man cant read or right dats not his fault he is a honerable man
da man cant read or right dats not his fault he is a honerable man black&whitehorse
  • Score: -15

7:52am Sun 11 May 14

black&whitehorse says...

anyway feetams will make a good caravan par with grasing for orses
anyway feetams will make a good caravan par with grasing for orses black&whitehorse
  • Score: -13

8:17am Sun 11 May 14

ireallydontgetit says...

Well we all know how much of a plonker Shaun Campbell is. Had some business dealing with him a few years ago and he messed me around like no tomorrow.
he's basically a guy with a failing business and too much time on his hands
Well we all know how much of a plonker Shaun Campbell is. Had some business dealing with him a few years ago and he messed me around like no tomorrow. he's basically a guy with a failing business and too much time on his hands ireallydontgetit
  • Score: 14

11:22am Sun 11 May 14

calumannabel says...

Wharton died an alcoholic failure in Sheffield after wasting all his opportunities. Maybe it would be appropriate to re name the failing local airport the Arthur Wharton Airport.
Wharton died an alcoholic failure in Sheffield after wasting all his opportunities. Maybe it would be appropriate to re name the failing local airport the Arthur Wharton Airport. calumannabel
  • Score: 3

11:54am Sun 11 May 14

Cotto9 says...

gramps427 wrote:
Nbtdwml wrote:
Well if it was white people who were freed in 1807 then the probably would. Black people still suffer ignorant people saying stupid things today, you know the type 'I'm not racist, I know a black person, but...'. That land was donated to the people of darlington so what right to the council have to prophet from it when all the do is spend there money on unnecessary rubbish and not things that this ghost town really needs.
No the land was not donated to the people of Darlington; it was purchased by the Cricket club and a Trust was set up that included the sitting MP,Mayor and several of the towns good & true businessmen. Today the majority of the trust are members of the cricket club and they outnumber the rest. Plus the Cricket ground is still there and available for hire; they hold junior games and school sports and before the rules of hockey changed requiring artificial turf the Darlington Hockey club played there. The football ground was only used rarely for local football cup games and the sale of that land will enable the cricket club to improve facilities at feethams and hopefully allow them to create their own academy. The Council will not profit from the sale of the land, but perhaps they could find a way to have some reference to Arthur added to the development.
They will profit from it. The council gets paid by the gov - something like 3 grand for every house built. 82 houses = £246,000. Helps keep them in their nice cushy council jobs.

Hence why we see so much "affordable housing" being built around Darlington despite the house prices here being amongst the lowest in the UK.
[quote][p][bold]gramps427[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Nbtdwml[/bold] wrote: Well if it was white people who were freed in 1807 then the probably would. Black people still suffer ignorant people saying stupid things today, you know the type 'I'm not racist, I know a black person, but...'. That land was donated to the people of darlington so what right to the council have to prophet from it when all the do is spend there money on unnecessary rubbish and not things that this ghost town really needs.[/p][/quote]No the land was not donated to the people of Darlington; it was purchased by the Cricket club and a Trust was set up that included the sitting MP,Mayor and several of the towns good & true businessmen. Today the majority of the trust are members of the cricket club and they outnumber the rest. Plus the Cricket ground is still there and available for hire; they hold junior games and school sports and before the rules of hockey changed requiring artificial turf the Darlington Hockey club played there. The football ground was only used rarely for local football cup games and the sale of that land will enable the cricket club to improve facilities at feethams and hopefully allow them to create their own academy. The Council will not profit from the sale of the land, but perhaps they could find a way to have some reference to Arthur added to the development.[/p][/quote]They will profit from it. The council gets paid by the gov - something like 3 grand for every house built. 82 houses = £246,000. Helps keep them in their nice cushy council jobs. Hence why we see so much "affordable housing" being built around Darlington despite the house prices here being amongst the lowest in the UK. Cotto9
  • Score: 5

4:24pm Sun 11 May 14

bambara says...

Seems to me Darlington is a very good place to build houses, good road and rail links and low property prices.
So people will be able to afford the houses that are being built, and be able to travel for work if and when they need to.
The extra money from the government for building those houses will then also help to offset some of the money the same government have cut from the funding to Darlington directly.
Seems to me Darlington is a very good place to build houses, good road and rail links and low property prices. So people will be able to afford the houses that are being built, and be able to travel for work if and when they need to. The extra money from the government for building those houses will then also help to offset some of the money the same government have cut from the funding to Darlington directly. bambara
  • Score: 2

7:03pm Sun 11 May 14

Lionel1 says...

ireallydontgetit wrote:
Well we all know how much of a plonker Shaun Campbell is. Had some business dealing with him a few years ago and he messed me around like no tomorrow.
he's basically a guy with a failing business and too much time on his hands
Is he the wazzock who initially tried to front DFC 1883 after the old club went bust?
[quote][p][bold]ireallydontgetit[/bold] wrote: Well we all know how much of a plonker Shaun Campbell is. Had some business dealing with him a few years ago and he messed me around like no tomorrow. he's basically a guy with a failing business and too much time on his hands[/p][/quote]Is he the wazzock who initially tried to front DFC 1883 after the old club went bust? Lionel1
  • Score: 2

7:10pm Sun 11 May 14

stiv says...

I think the 700 Darlington sons who gave their lives in the Great War and whose names have been missing from the Darlington war memorial wall for nearlly 100 years have more claim to be remembered. let their names live for ever more, EXCEPT IN DARLINGTON
I think the 700 Darlington sons who gave their lives in the Great War and whose names have been missing from the Darlington war memorial wall for nearlly 100 years have more claim to be remembered. let their names live for ever more, EXCEPT IN DARLINGTON stiv
  • Score: 4

9:29am Tue 13 May 14

SirLance says...

Take a leaf from the books at Craven Cottage! Fulham FC erected a statue of a very famous 'black 'sportsman' --the very same person who sadly got into trouble with children during 'sleepovers' at his house! ! The statue was just ridiculed as it had nothing really to do with the club! So they bravely took it down and got themselves relegated! They should have just built houses ?
Take a leaf from the books at Craven Cottage! Fulham FC erected a statue of a very famous 'black 'sportsman' --the very same person who sadly got into trouble with children during 'sleepovers' at his house! ! The statue was just ridiculed as it had nothing really to do with the club! So they bravely took it down and got themselves relegated! They should have just built houses ? SirLance
  • Score: 1

12:05pm Tue 13 May 14

D. Hop says...

Change the record Campbell............
..obviously I'm not the only one sick of this apparent one man campaign! Our town needs a lot more focus on the basics!
Change the record Campbell............ ..obviously I'm not the only one sick of this apparent one man campaign! Our town needs a lot more focus on the basics! D. Hop
  • Score: 5

1:38pm Tue 13 May 14

Spy Boy says...

Spy Boy wrote:
settheworldonfire wrote:
Why does everyone still live in the past?...Move on the future is ahead....
I'm afraid that we have seen DBCs vision of the future for Darlington and it stinks. Just walk around the town and see the vandalism. Vandalism on an industrial scale.

If the homes are to be built, then maybe it should be called Wharton Court and have a statue, or illustrated plaque at the entrance. By the way, where will the entrance be? Maybe off the back lane? Maybe via a new bridge over the Skerne from Victoria Embankment? Maybe right through the Cricket Club?
I've followed this up and though I disagree with building houses and the four strory blocks of flats, it looks like the Cricket Club owns the land and is using it to raise money for upgrades to the Cricket Club. Apparently, they have a legal right, even though we don't like it. The council will have the last word on building here, so it looks like the building will go ahead. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the idea, but it looks cast in concrete. ( Please excuse the pun.) I can only advise buyers to avoid the ground floor flats and buy a small boat.
[quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]settheworldonfire[/bold] wrote: Why does everyone still live in the past?...Move on the future is ahead....[/p][/quote]I'm afraid that we have seen DBCs vision of the future for Darlington and it stinks. Just walk around the town and see the vandalism. Vandalism on an industrial scale. If the homes are to be built, then maybe it should be called Wharton Court and have a statue, or illustrated plaque at the entrance. By the way, where will the entrance be? Maybe off the back lane? Maybe via a new bridge over the Skerne from Victoria Embankment? Maybe right through the Cricket Club?[/p][/quote]I've followed this up and though I disagree with building houses and the four strory blocks of flats, it looks like the Cricket Club owns the land and is using it to raise money for upgrades to the Cricket Club. Apparently, they have a legal right, even though we don't like it. The council will have the last word on building here, so it looks like the building will go ahead. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the idea, but it looks cast in concrete. ( Please excuse the pun.) I can only advise buyers to avoid the ground floor flats and buy a small boat. Spy Boy
  • Score: 0

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