THE Quakers face a race against time to fix the FA Trophy ahead of their civic reception tomorrow after it was dropped by their goalkeeper.

Darlington fans will turn out in their thousands in the market place tomorrow to see their heroes hold aloft the club’s latest silverware.

Many eyes will be on the silver player on the trophy lid after it snapped off when the lid fell off in the hands of goalkeeper Sam Russell.

Loading article content

Although Russell let nothing through his hands during 120 minutes of Saturday’s Wembley showpiece against Mansfield Town to keep a clean sheet, the trophy lid fell from his grasp soon after the final whistle.

He said: “When I had hold of the cup, the top slipped and fell and the little bloke on the top of the trophy snapped off.”

The club hopes to get the trophy to the silversmiths in time to be repaired for tomorrow’s reception.

Plans for the reception have been slightly altered. It will now take place in Darlington’s market square at 5.30pm.

The team will arrive by bus at 6.30pm to show off the trophy from a stage.

Darlington Mayor Bryan Thistlethwaite will join the team and TFM radio on stage.

Chairman Raj Singh said: “Lifting the trophy in front of our supporters was something special.

“It wasn’t something I planned on doing, I just wanted to get on to the pitch and soak it up.

“The reaction was unbelievable – something that will live with me forever. It just cements my long-held belief that the people of Darlington are passionate about their football club, and they do want it, but we really do need more of those fans to get behind us more often.”

In an attempt to boost the hardcore support, fans who buy a season ticket will receive a free photoshoot at The Northern Echo Arena holding the FA Trophy.

Managing director Graham Fordy said: “We understand why a lot of fans have stayed away, but we hope this historic cup win will heal a lot of old wounds with supporters.”

For season ticket prices, call the club on 01325-387000 or go to darlington-fc.net Because of the reception, Feethams and Church Row will be closed to traffic from 10am to 7.30pm tomorrow.

The closure will be from the junction with Tubwell Row to the junction with Houndgate.

Bull Wynd, Horsemarket and East Row will also be closed from 5pm to 7.30pm.