Earlier today Darlington fans joined the Echo sports desk for an online debate on the appointment of Steve Staunton...view the debate here

Darlington have appointed former Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton as their new manager.

The club have also installed experienced former England international Kevin Richardson as his assistant in a bold double appointment.

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Staunton will take over on Wednesday, after the Quakers' Johnstone’s Paints Trophy tie at Leeds tomorrow night, until the end of the current season, and will take charge for Saturday’s League Two game at Dagenham.

Chairman Raj Singh says the club have appointed the promising and hungry young manager he'd been looking for.

Singh said: "We're excited about the prospect of working with someone with vast experience in the game and a wealth of contacts.

"Steve enjoyed a formidable playing career and he has a strong desire to succeed as a manager as well.

"We spoke to a handful of applicants over the weekend and Steve came across as the most professional and organised. He'd done some thorough homework on Darlington and League Two, our players and potential new players, some of whom he's already targeted to bring in.

"He's extremely realistic and is aware of the situation here at Darlington, but he's confident he can utilise his contacts to bring players in who will improve our squad.

"We're also delighted with the appointment of Kevin Richardson, who is highly thought of in the game and has a lot of coaching experience on the back of a very successful playing career.

"I said recently that the new manager would need some financial assistance and we'll give Steve as much support as we possibly can.

"But we're very confident we've made the right decision and both Steve and Kevin will help us achieve our short-term goal of staying up this season so that we can build and improve next summer."

Staunton enjoyed a 20-year playing career beginning with Liverpool in 1986, winning the league title, the FA Cup and the League Cup twice, and still holds the record for the most number of international caps for the Republic of Ireland.

After amassing a total of 600 career appearances during two stints with both Liverpool and Aston Villa, as well as spells with Bradford, Crystal Palace, Coventry and Walsall, the 40-year-old was appointed Ireland manager in January 2006, in what was his first managerial position.

Despite winning more games than he lost, Staunton was dismissed in October 2007. He assisted Gary McAllister at Leeds from February-December 2008 before taking up a coaching role for Wolves as well as Under-16s coach at Aston Villa.

Newcastle-born Richardson also enjoyed an impressive, 20-year playing career, including four seasons at Villa Park with Staunton.

The 46-year-old began his career with Everton, winning the league title in 1985, before signing for Watford for a season and then Arsenal in 1987, where he won the league title again.

Ironically, Richardson was in the Gunners side which famously beat Staunton’s Liverpool to lift the Division One title at Anfield in May 1989.

Richardson soon moved on to Real Sociedad but spent just a season in Spain before Ron Atkinson took him to Villa in 1991, and he played 177 league and cup games for the Midlands club before moving on to Coventry, Southampton and Barnsley, ending his career with Blackpool in 2000.

Peter Reid offered Richardson a youth team coaching role at Sunderland before he became Carlton Palmer’s assistant at Stockport County in 2001.

He returned to Wearside as reserve-team coach in 2004 and became first-team coach following the club's takeover by a consortium headed by Niall Quinn, but Roy Keane eventually replaced Richardson at the Stadium of Light and he took up a coaching role at Newcastle United’s Academy.

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