Darlington FC return home "unlikely before Christmas"

SPORTING HUB: Artist's impression of the redeveloped Blackwell Meadows ground where Darlington RFC and Darlington FC will share facilities.

SPORTING HUB: Artist's impression of the redeveloped Blackwell Meadows ground where Darlington RFC and Darlington FC will share facilities.

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

DARLINGTON FC's groundshare with Darlington RFC is unlikely to take place before Christmas, officials at both clubs say.

A planning application for alterations to the rugby club's Blackwell Meadows ground is yet to be finished, although it is hoped the documents can be submitted to the council next month.

Officials say the plans are currently being tweaked to ensure that improvements to the site are "right first time".

Football club chief executive Martin Jesper said that submitting the planning application was key.

He said: "It's obviously not just down to the football club. The planning application is dictated by all the different parties having to deliver. We may have more of an idea in three or four weeks.

"We've not got a date for the move yet but it's unlikely to be before Christmas."

Mr Jesper said all parties were working hard towards the groundshare arrangement, adding: "Everybody involved wants us to get back to Darlington as quickly as possible."

Darlington FC will start the season at Bishop Auckland FC's Heritage Park but hope to move back home during the season.

Talks on the groundshare took place between the rugby, football and council on Tuesday (August 5).

Michael Stowe, Darlington RFC commercial director, said he hoped the planning application could be finished in September.

"On both sides there's a lot of effort to make sure we get it right first time.

"We don't want to rush it. The first time the football club plays a competitive game at Blackwell Meadows we want everything to be perfect.

"We want to make sure the facilities are right for Darlington FC and for the other sports we want to bring in."

The clubs are in talks with Sport England and other organisations about funding towards the improvements.

Last month the club released artist's impressions of the remodelled ground showing new terracing behind one goal and a stand with seating along the side of the pitch furthest from the clubhouse.

The images also reveal a redesigned clubhouse with an entrance facing the car park and a glass front overlooking the pitch.

As part of the improvements, the main pitch will be dug up and returfed.

Comments (14)

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9:16am Wed 6 Aug 14

oliviaden6 says...

Call it the Bill Dixon stands it will go through without delay then???
Call it the Bill Dixon stands it will go through without delay then??? oliviaden6
  • Score: 7

9:28am Wed 6 Aug 14

Rage against apathy says...

Another delay, another promise broken.
This will go Christmas, summer, autumn, then 2015?
Can anyone confirm the rumour Mickey Mouse wears a Darlington FC tie? Clowns led by Clowns...! The fans deserve much, much better....
Another delay, another promise broken. This will go Christmas, summer, autumn, then 2015? Can anyone confirm the rumour Mickey Mouse wears a Darlington FC tie? Clowns led by Clowns...! The fans deserve much, much better.... Rage against apathy
  • Score: -41

9:48am Wed 6 Aug 14

g8crasher says...

Maybe the rugby club has come to their senses and realised that they are signing their own death warrant

RIP DRFC
Maybe the rugby club has come to their senses and realised that they are signing their own death warrant RIP DRFC g8crasher
  • Score: -38

10:20am Wed 6 Aug 14

swagger says...

Rage against apathy wrote:
Another delay, another promise broken.
This will go Christmas, summer, autumn, then 2015?
Can anyone confirm the rumour Mickey Mouse wears a Darlington FC tie? Clowns led by Clowns...! The fans deserve much, much better....
You need to get real, this is a massive undertaking for the football club the rugby club and the town, it has to be done right, the various people should be applauded for giving there time and effort to getting this project underway, the plans and planning permission always takes the longest to sort out, so just be patient and stop having a pop.
[quote][p][bold]Rage against apathy[/bold] wrote: Another delay, another promise broken. This will go Christmas, summer, autumn, then 2015? Can anyone confirm the rumour Mickey Mouse wears a Darlington FC tie? Clowns led by Clowns...! The fans deserve much, much better....[/p][/quote]You need to get real, this is a massive undertaking for the football club the rugby club and the town, it has to be done right, the various people should be applauded for giving there time and effort to getting this project underway, the plans and planning permission always takes the longest to sort out, so just be patient and stop having a pop. swagger
  • Score: 27

11:24am Wed 6 Aug 14

david curries lipwig says...

The only clown is the one who wrote this comment about more delays. DFC never promised a return by Christmas it suggested that this would be a best case time. The CIC put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the deal was correct for both the football club and the Rugby club. Now the Football club are ensuring that the groundwork is done to ensure that things are done properly involving all parties so we return with a fanfare not a disaster. The CIC involved the council from day 1 and now it continues with the FC and rugby club this way there will be no suprises 'Rage against apathy' you are the clown my friend.
The only clown is the one who wrote this comment about more delays. DFC never promised a return by Christmas it suggested that this would be a best case time. The CIC put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the deal was correct for both the football club and the Rugby club. Now the Football club are ensuring that the groundwork is done to ensure that things are done properly involving all parties so we return with a fanfare not a disaster. The CIC involved the council from day 1 and now it continues with the FC and rugby club this way there will be no suprises 'Rage against apathy' you are the clown my friend. david curries lipwig
  • Score: 13

11:54am Wed 6 Aug 14

nigel d says...

I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.
I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season. nigel d
  • Score: -23

1:22pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Lionel1 says...

I think most fans would prefer the Club to take the approach they are even if it means being at BM possibly later than was hoped for - at least they're trying to do things in right way rather than botching the process and it costing more money in the long run...

Let's hope that DBC show the some relative flexibility to get the plans put through too rather than being obstructive and dragging their heels as some councils can!
I think most fans would prefer the Club to take the approach they are even if it means being at BM possibly later than was hoped for - at least they're trying to do things in right way rather than botching the process and it costing more money in the long run... Let's hope that DBC show the some relative flexibility to get the plans put through too rather than being obstructive and dragging their heels as some councils can! Lionel1
  • Score: 5

1:23pm Wed 6 Aug 14

dave3mrr says...

nigel d wrote:
I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.
Go away! And don't call us "darlo". That's only for fans & people who are interested. You don't count on either level.
[quote][p][bold]nigel d[/bold] wrote: I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.[/p][/quote]Go away! And don't call us "darlo". That's only for fans & people who are interested. You don't count on either level. dave3mrr
  • Score: 4

2:37pm Wed 6 Aug 14

gramps427 says...

I read that they are planning for this ground to be a class "C" ground; it is vital that they get the plans right first time in order to be able to enter the FA Cup amongst others. Re turfing is worrying in itself but is there any plans to increase drainage on the pitch; rugby is often played on wetter surfaces than football and drainage should be at least every metre if they want to avoid cancellations or damage to the playing surface. At least if the turf goes down swiftly it will have a chance to tie in.
I read that they are planning for this ground to be a class "C" ground; it is vital that they get the plans right first time in order to be able to enter the FA Cup amongst others. Re turfing is worrying in itself but is there any plans to increase drainage on the pitch; rugby is often played on wetter surfaces than football and drainage should be at least every metre if they want to avoid cancellations or damage to the playing surface. At least if the turf goes down swiftly it will have a chance to tie in. gramps427
  • Score: -1

4:50pm Wed 6 Aug 14

George1965 says...

dave3mrr wrote:
nigel d wrote:
I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.
Go away! And don't call us "darlo". That's only for fans & people who are interested. You don't count on either level.
dave3mrr, " don't call us Darlo, that's only for people etc etc. " you talk such a load of cr4p. People have called all the town Darlo for years. Nowt to do with your oh so precious excuse for a football club.
I hope the rugby club has big reserves, you'll drag em down when you go bust again.
[quote][p][bold]dave3mrr[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]nigel d[/bold] wrote: I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.[/p][/quote]Go away! And don't call us "darlo". That's only for fans & people who are interested. You don't count on either level.[/p][/quote]dave3mrr, " don't call us Darlo, that's only for people etc etc. " you talk such a load of cr4p. People have called all the town Darlo for years. Nowt to do with your oh so precious excuse for a football club. I hope the rugby club has big reserves, you'll drag em down when you go bust again. George1965
  • Score: -9

7:36pm Wed 6 Aug 14

dave3mrr says...

George1965 wrote:
dave3mrr wrote:
nigel d wrote:
I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.
Go away! And don't call us "darlo". That's only for fans & people who are interested. You don't count on either level.
dave3mrr, " don't call us Darlo, that's only for people etc etc. " you talk such a load of cr4p. People have called all the town Darlo for years. Nowt to do with your oh so precious excuse for a football club.
I hope the rugby club has big reserves, you'll drag em down when you go bust again.
Good grief! You sound like a Poolie that's got "Lost In Darlo". Yep I was actually on about the town there not the football club. Your mate nigel was on about the club, so was I. Do you know what the word "context" means?
[quote][p][bold]George1965[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]dave3mrr[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]nigel d[/bold] wrote: I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.[/p][/quote]Go away! And don't call us "darlo". That's only for fans & people who are interested. You don't count on either level.[/p][/quote]dave3mrr, " don't call us Darlo, that's only for people etc etc. " you talk such a load of cr4p. People have called all the town Darlo for years. Nowt to do with your oh so precious excuse for a football club. I hope the rugby club has big reserves, you'll drag em down when you go bust again.[/p][/quote]Good grief! You sound like a Poolie that's got "Lost In Darlo". Yep I was actually on about the town there not the football club. Your mate nigel was on about the club, so was I. Do you know what the word "context" means? dave3mrr
  • Score: 3

10:38am Thu 7 Aug 14

mistafozz8212 says...

nigel d wrote:
I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.
Clubs can and have changed grounds through the season...The ones I can think of are MK Dons from South London, sure Bishop moved to Heritage Park mid season and sure Ashington opened Woodhorn Lane during the season
[quote][p][bold]nigel d[/bold] wrote: I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.[/p][/quote]Clubs can and have changed grounds through the season...The ones I can think of are MK Dons from South London, sure Bishop moved to Heritage Park mid season and sure Ashington opened Woodhorn Lane during the season mistafozz8212
  • Score: -1

12:30pm Thu 7 Aug 14

loan_star says...

George1965 wrote:
dave3mrr wrote:
nigel d wrote:
I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.
Go away! And don't call us "darlo". That's only for fans & people who are interested. You don't count on either level.
dave3mrr, " don't call us Darlo, that's only for people etc etc. " you talk such a load of cr4p. People have called all the town Darlo for years. Nowt to do with your oh so precious excuse for a football club.
I hope the rugby club has big reserves, you'll drag em down when you go bust again.
Considering the clubs are separate entities it shows how clueless you are. If the rugby club were flush with cash do you honestly believe they would entertain the idea of a groundshare?
[quote][p][bold]George1965[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]dave3mrr[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]nigel d[/bold] wrote: I was always under the impression you could not change grounds mid season. But I suppose this is darlo and they might not even finish the season.[/p][/quote]Go away! And don't call us "darlo". That's only for fans & people who are interested. You don't count on either level.[/p][/quote]dave3mrr, " don't call us Darlo, that's only for people etc etc. " you talk such a load of cr4p. People have called all the town Darlo for years. Nowt to do with your oh so precious excuse for a football club. I hope the rugby club has big reserves, you'll drag em down when you go bust again.[/p][/quote]Considering the clubs are separate entities it shows how clueless you are. If the rugby club were flush with cash do you honestly believe they would entertain the idea of a groundshare? loan_star
  • Score: 7

2:02pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Red rose lad says...

May I suggest that one important issue for the rugby club's survival is being able to attract sufficient Junior members to fill all of their age groups (something which they haven't achieved in recent seasons) and ultimately sustain adult rugby. It is unclear how moving another sport onto the site will improve that situation?
May I suggest that one important issue for the rugby club's survival is being able to attract sufficient Junior members to fill all of their age groups (something which they haven't achieved in recent seasons) and ultimately sustain adult rugby. It is unclear how moving another sport onto the site will improve that situation? Red rose lad
  • Score: -1

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