'No rush' to decide future of former Darlington Football Club ground

Darlington Arena

Darlington Arena

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Darlington)

DARLINGTON FC’s former home could be indefinitely mothballed after its owners said there was “no rush” to make a decision on its future.

The Quakers will play their home games at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park ground next season, but have not ruled out the possibility of returning to the 25,000-seat Northern Echo Darlington Arena, on the outskirts of town.

Denis Pinnegar, chairman of community company Darlington FC 1883 (DFC1883), which took over the club last month, said it had approached businessmen Philip Scott and Graham Sizer, who own the arena, about potentially leasing the stadium back on a game-bygame basis in the future.

Mr Pinnegar said the door was only “slightly ajar” on the possibility of a return to the arena.

He said: “They [Scott and Sizer] acknowledged our potential interest, but we have heard nothing since.

“We are all about building our future and if we hear anything, we will consider it along with other options.”

A statement released by the owners said: “There is no rush to make decisions about the future of the arena and the surrounding land.

“We are content to wait for the market and the economy to pick up and have not put a timescale on reaching a conclusion.

“Clearly, Darlington Borough Council will have an interest in helping us to achieve a positive outcome and we will work closely with the local authority to assess and review opportunities that may arise.”

Meanwhile, members of the DFC1883 board will travel to Wembley on Thursday, when the club’s appeal against its demotion to the Northern League will be heard.

Mr Pinnegar said board members were “optimistic”

there would be a positive outcome, but added that the Quakers would be playing at Bishop Auckland next season regardless of the Football Association’s (FA) decision.

He said: “We are not building up our expectations, but we go there with a strong case and will do our best to argue that Darlington FC should be at a higher level.”

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman has written to FA chairman David Bernstein, highlighting the club’s cause.

She wrote: “The town is rallying behind a communityowned club that has the legal protection enshrined in its constitution, to make sure that never again will the town lose its football club to the ambitions of individuals.”

Mr Pinnegar said any decision may not be made public immediately after Thursday’s meeting, with a period of FA deliberation likely.

Comments (17)

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12:52pm Tue 19 Jun 12

keef51 says...

The facility could be put to good use in a number of ways, it would be a shame to see it mothballed when it could benefit the community as a conference centre, sports centre, gymnasium all rolled into 1. The could host all kinds of events such as; show jumping, music gigs, trade fairs; the list is endless, it could even be used for football ;)
The facility could be put to good use in a number of ways, it would be a shame to see it mothballed when it could benefit the community as a conference centre, sports centre, gymnasium all rolled into 1. The could host all kinds of events such as; show jumping, music gigs, trade fairs; the list is endless, it could even be used for football ;) keef51
  • Score: 0

4:22pm Tue 19 Jun 12

QuakerZone says...

Hopefully it will be demolished in the near future, I do not want to see DFC resume that miserable existance in that big empty bowl of a stadium.
Hopefully it will be demolished in the near future, I do not want to see DFC resume that miserable existance in that big empty bowl of a stadium. QuakerZone
  • Score: 2

4:39pm Tue 19 Jun 12

darlo89 says...

hopefully tesco come in and knock it down. We all know they want a supermarket in darlo. Perfect site aswell for them ashame we could`nt have done wot aycliffe did but we don`t own the ground so............
s**t happens
hopefully tesco come in and knock it down. We all know they want a supermarket in darlo. Perfect site aswell for them ashame we could`nt have done wot aycliffe did but we don`t own the ground so............ s**t happens darlo89
  • Score: -1

5:50pm Tue 19 Jun 12

neilj_dafts says...

I thought the article was going to be about where DFC used to play football, at Feethams, rather than the unwanted and unfinished monument to one man's self delusion (and the planning department compromises w.r.t. the town's football legacy).

I wonder if fork-tongued (or badly misquoted) Raj ever actually had the license for DFC to play FA football, or whether the paper work was lost previously by his inept predecessors.
I thought the article was going to be about where DFC used to play football, at Feethams, rather than the unwanted and unfinished monument to one man's self delusion (and the planning department compromises w.r.t. the town's football legacy). I wonder if fork-tongued (or badly misquoted) Raj ever actually had the license for DFC to play FA football, or whether the paper work was lost previously by his inept predecessors. neilj_dafts
  • Score: 7

11:10pm Tue 19 Jun 12

Spy Boy says...

It should be put to some good use. Maybe a football academy ? It's too good to throw away. Plenty of brownfield sites for TESCO around the town.
It should be put to some good use. Maybe a football academy ? It's too good to throw away. Plenty of brownfield sites for TESCO around the town. Spy Boy
  • Score: 0

11:27pm Tue 19 Jun 12

Friendoffeetham says...

"No rush" in the decision on a future home?! Great - really impressing! When the league position is decided on Thursday - I think this is the most urgent question of all! Anything more than one season in a secluded village is more than enough! And I can't see the situation concerning the Arena much different in one year than it is now. And I've seen no sights of the Darlington Borough Council being very helpful or constructive in the question of a future home ground. On the contrary - if they really want to help - why don't they immediately start working on bringing the football back to Feethams?!
"No rush" in the decision on a future home?! Great - really impressing! When the league position is decided on Thursday - I think this is the most urgent question of all! Anything more than one season in a secluded village is more than enough! And I can't see the situation concerning the Arena much different in one year than it is now. And I've seen no sights of the Darlington Borough Council being very helpful or constructive in the question of a future home ground. On the contrary - if they really want to help - why don't they immediately start working on bringing the football back to Feethams?! Friendoffeetham
  • Score: 1

8:49am Wed 20 Jun 12

doonhamer says...

Friendoffeetham wrote:
"No rush" in the decision on a future home?! Great - really impressing! When the league position is decided on Thursday - I think this is the most urgent question of all! Anything more than one season in a secluded village is more than enough! And I can't see the situation concerning the Arena much different in one year than it is now. And I've seen no sights of the Darlington Borough Council being very helpful or constructive in the question of a future home ground. On the contrary - if they really want to help - why don't they immediately start working on bringing the football back to Feethams?!
Hang on mate, your talking sense. Unfortunately these are the facts;1)No chance of winning an appeal, 2)A letter to Mr Bernstein,where ?... in the Ukraine, Poland, but not Lancaster Gate, he has not been there for weeks, 3) Forget GR and RAJ etc, the football loving MINORITY of the populace of Darlington do not like the Arena, not because of its size but purely because of the location. Away fans apart, having a ground next to a by-pass as against a town centre base is self destructive. The multitudes !!!!!!! from County Durham/Teesside coming to Darlo on a match day could all be put on one bus (a single decker at that). 4) Playing anywhere on a "we'll pay on a match by match basis", means only one thing.........no money. 5) All the eggs are in one basket now. The club MUST be successful next season, if not the already depleted fan base will diminish rapidly. The novelty of travelling to Bishop every other week will soon wear off. 6) Why spout rubbish about purchasing a 250 seater stand if you even contemplate returning to the Arena ?, Why agree a ground share with Shildon !!! and spend a fortune on renaging on the deal ? 7)Darlo Borough Council refuse to clarify (publicly) what the situation is at Feethams. Nobody at 1883 seems to ask relevant questions, or if they do, don't let the rank and file know their answers. Why ?. Allegedly, corruption is rife regarding certain land deals in Darlo, who knows if these rumours are true, but when people don't refute allegations one has to assume the old adage that there is "no smoke without fire".In the not too distant future posts on this site will (hopefully) concern DFC'S on field performances. If we start winning, and I think we will, then promotion from the Northern League will be the first step back on the long road to respectability in the football world. Please, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us walk before we run, stop frittering away money we do not have, stop ridiculous, unwarranted comments about things that will not happen just to have your name(s) in the press and attempt to get a very loyal, but small, fan base batting on the same side. Let us pray ....................
............!!!!!!
[quote][p][bold]Friendoffeetham[/bold] wrote: "No rush" in the decision on a future home?! Great - really impressing! When the league position is decided on Thursday - I think this is the most urgent question of all! Anything more than one season in a secluded village is more than enough! And I can't see the situation concerning the Arena much different in one year than it is now. And I've seen no sights of the Darlington Borough Council being very helpful or constructive in the question of a future home ground. On the contrary - if they really want to help - why don't they immediately start working on bringing the football back to Feethams?![/p][/quote]Hang on mate, your talking sense. Unfortunately these are the facts;1)No chance of winning an appeal, 2)A letter to Mr Bernstein,where ?... in the Ukraine, Poland, but not Lancaster Gate, he has not been there for weeks, 3) Forget GR and RAJ etc, the football loving MINORITY of the populace of Darlington do not like the Arena, not because of its size but purely because of the location. Away fans apart, having a ground next to a by-pass as against a town centre base is self destructive. The multitudes !!!!!!! from County Durham/Teesside coming to Darlo on a match day could all be put on one bus (a single decker at that). 4) Playing anywhere on a "we'll pay on a match by match basis", means only one thing.........no money. 5) All the eggs are in one basket now. The club MUST be successful next season, if not the already depleted fan base will diminish rapidly. The novelty of travelling to Bishop every other week will soon wear off. 6) Why spout rubbish about purchasing a 250 seater stand if you even contemplate returning to the Arena ?, Why agree a ground share with Shildon !!! and spend a fortune on renaging on the deal ? 7)Darlo Borough Council refuse to clarify (publicly) what the situation is at Feethams. Nobody at 1883 seems to ask relevant questions, or if they do, don't let the rank and file know their answers. Why ?. Allegedly, corruption is rife regarding certain land deals in Darlo, who knows if these rumours are true, but when people don't refute allegations one has to assume the old adage that there is "no smoke without fire".In the not too distant future posts on this site will (hopefully) concern DFC'S on field performances. If we start winning, and I think we will, then promotion from the Northern League will be the first step back on the long road to respectability in the football world. Please, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us walk before we run, stop frittering away money we do not have, stop ridiculous, unwarranted comments about things that will not happen just to have your name(s) in the press and attempt to get a very loyal, but small, fan base batting on the same side. Let us pray .................... ............!!!!!! doonhamer
  • Score: 1

10:15am Wed 20 Jun 12

darlo8777 says...

There is a simple solloution but as morrisons pull the town councils strings it will never happen!! The only town in the country to have no Tesco but two morrisons!!! Now DBC have got rid of our club which is a discrace they will gain significantly more from Tesco moving to the site, let's see if morrisons have that much power over the bunch of glass back wasters!! DFC 1883
There is a simple solloution but as morrisons pull the town councils strings it will never happen!! The only town in the country to have no Tesco but two morrisons!!! Now DBC have got rid of our club which is a discrace they will gain significantly more from Tesco moving to the site, let's see if morrisons have that much power over the bunch of glass back wasters!! DFC 1883 darlo8777
  • Score: 0

10:53am Wed 20 Jun 12

morgan1 says...

Its odd but the so called fans who have commented blame GR, RAJ the DBC everybody but themselves. At least GR had a vision when he built the Arena.
There seems to be a total resentment against people who have money in this fan base, it would be different if they had it themselves.

The fans should stop blaming everybody else and look at themselves, here is a suggestion for you all, you have chosen the CIC route so I suggest you get on with it.
Those of you who have bought your CIC membership should increase your investment to ensure the 200K is reached by the end of the month rather than hoping those who previously invested will come forward, as it is unlikely.

Doonhamer your wasting your time, the future of the club is set on a different path, the club I supported is dead.

As each club dies the new idea of CIC will eventually bring players wages down and eventually football could once again become affordable. With the elite for the few and what's left for the rest
Its odd but the so called fans who have commented blame GR, RAJ the DBC everybody but themselves. At least GR had a vision when he built the Arena. There seems to be a total resentment against people who have money in this fan base, it would be different if they had it themselves. The fans should stop blaming everybody else and look at themselves, here is a suggestion for you all, you have chosen the CIC route so I suggest you get on with it. Those of you who have bought your CIC membership should increase your investment to ensure the 200K is reached by the end of the month rather than hoping those who previously invested will come forward, as it is unlikely. Doonhamer your wasting your time, the future of the club is set on a different path, the club I supported is dead. As each club dies the new idea of CIC will eventually bring players wages down and eventually football could once again become affordable. With the elite for the few and what's left for the rest morgan1
  • Score: -3

11:33am Wed 20 Jun 12

asupporter says...

Morgan1

Are you GR or his publicist? He didn't have a vision for Darlington FC or the supporters just for himself. The arena is a facility the club and town didn't want and didn't need. 1883 are getting on with rebuilding the club from the disasters of Reynolds and Singh, you are just an apologist for the past who has nothing to offer except anonymous destructive criticism. You have said you are not interested in the CIC, you won't be investing, you won't be going to support the team, so why don't you find something better to do than keep on posting here.
Morgan1 Are you GR or his publicist? He didn't have a vision for Darlington FC or the supporters just for himself. The arena is a facility the club and town didn't want and didn't need. 1883 are getting on with rebuilding the club from the disasters of Reynolds and Singh, you are just an apologist for the past who has nothing to offer except anonymous destructive criticism. You have said you are not interested in the CIC, you won't be investing, you won't be going to support the team, so why don't you find something better to do than keep on posting here. asupporter
  • Score: 0

11:33am Wed 20 Jun 12

Steve103Hunt says...

The worst event that ever happened to this club was the combination of Mr Reynolds arrival and the vacating of Feethams.The mere mention of returning to the Arena,at any time,is pure stupidity.The locating,or building,of a 12,000 capacity stadium,is surely the only sensible way forward.A return to Feethams? now your talking.
The worst event that ever happened to this club was the combination of Mr Reynolds arrival and the vacating of Feethams.The mere mention of returning to the Arena,at any time,is pure stupidity.The locating,or building,of a 12,000 capacity stadium,is surely the only sensible way forward.A return to Feethams? now your talking. Steve103Hunt
  • Score: 2

4:48pm Wed 20 Jun 12

Townlad says...

They could let me and my mates play our 6 a side game there, we currently play at longfield school and have had our booking cancelled due to darlington using the pitch as a training ground and they have no other slots that are any good to us so we now don`t have a game anymore! cheers!!!!!
They could let me and my mates play our 6 a side game there, we currently play at longfield school and have had our booking cancelled due to darlington using the pitch as a training ground and they have no other slots that are any good to us so we now don`t have a game anymore! cheers!!!!! Townlad
  • Score: 1

4:54pm Wed 20 Jun 12

Townlad says...

Me and my friends could use it to play our weekly 6 a side game, seeing that Darlington are taking over all of Longfield Schools 3G pitches on a Wednesday evening starting on the 11th July we now have nowhere to play and are being kicked off halfway through a 10 week booking, oh and we have played there since the pitch was opened in 2011 without fail and now we have no game as it is very hard to get a regular booking! Big thanks to Andy Colishaw finance director at Longfield!
Me and my friends could use it to play our weekly 6 a side game, seeing that Darlington are taking over all of Longfield Schools 3G pitches on a Wednesday evening starting on the 11th July we now have nowhere to play and are being kicked off halfway through a 10 week booking, oh and we have played there since the pitch was opened in 2011 without fail and now we have no game as it is very hard to get a regular booking! Big thanks to Andy Colishaw finance director at Longfield! Townlad
  • Score: 1

5:32pm Wed 20 Jun 12

???Clubber??? says...

Well said Townlad!!! These pitches should be used for local community and kids Not DFC which btw they can't play for toffee....
Well said Townlad!!! These pitches should be used for local community and kids Not DFC which btw they can't play for toffee.... ???Clubber???
  • Score: 0

10:14pm Wed 20 Jun 12

IonlySpeaktheTruth says...

Steve103Hunt wrote:
The worst event that ever happened to this club was the combination of Mr Reynolds arrival and the vacating of Feethams.The mere mention of returning to the Arena,at any time,is pure stupidity.The locating,or building,of a 12,000 capacity stadium,is surely the only sensible way forward.A return to Feethams? now your talking.
Are you having a laugh?? 12,000 seater stadium. Darlo couldn't get more than 2,000 in the Conference Premier. The Arena only had a safety certificate for 10,000 for years, so in reality you are asking for a rise in stadium capacity ....and George Reynolds was called deluded!!
[quote][p][bold]Steve103Hunt[/bold] wrote: The worst event that ever happened to this club was the combination of Mr Reynolds arrival and the vacating of Feethams.The mere mention of returning to the Arena,at any time,is pure stupidity.The locating,or building,of a 12,000 capacity stadium,is surely the only sensible way forward.A return to Feethams? now your talking.[/p][/quote]Are you having a laugh?? 12,000 seater stadium. Darlo couldn't get more than 2,000 in the Conference Premier. The Arena only had a safety certificate for 10,000 for years, so in reality you are asking for a rise in stadium capacity ....and George Reynolds was called deluded!! IonlySpeaktheTruth
  • Score: 0

8:57am Thu 21 Jun 12

monteforte says...

Sad Facts..
Football now being played out of town meanwhile two former Darlo FC pitches the Arena & Feethams are left dormant !
There is a solution to get Darlo FC back playing in its own back yard But can DFC1883 afford it and will the supporters/fans be able to pay more to enable it?
Sad Facts.. Football now being played out of town meanwhile two former Darlo FC pitches the Arena & Feethams are left dormant ! There is a solution to get Darlo FC back playing in its own back yard But can DFC1883 afford it and will the supporters/fans be able to pay more to enable it? monteforte
  • Score: 0

8:25pm Thu 21 Jun 12

Idontknowaboutyoubut says...

If they're waiting for DFC(or whatever they're called)to grow big enough to take the Arena on again,they're going to be old and grey,and the stadium will probably be falling down by then. Be realistic.It was too big in league two,and look where the club is now.How many years is it,realistically going to take to get back to that level?
Best to find another use for the arena,or demolish it.The football club wont be needing it.
If they're waiting for DFC(or whatever they're called)to grow big enough to take the Arena on again,they're going to be old and grey,and the stadium will probably be falling down by then. Be realistic.It was too big in league two,and look where the club is now.How many years is it,realistically going to take to get back to that level? Best to find another use for the arena,or demolish it.The football club wont be needing it. Idontknowaboutyoubut
  • Score: 0

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