DARLINGTON Football Club will be moving to a new stadium in the town, The Northern Echo can reveal today, bringing to an end years of debate and uncertainty over their home ground.

The new stadium, which will allow capacity of between 5,000 and 8,000 fans, could be bult in time for the 2025/26 season, bringing an end to their time at Blackwell Meadows – their rented home since 2016.

The Northern Echo:

A number of potential sites in the town have been identified for the multi-million pound stadium, which will reach Football League standards, and include new training facilities which will be rented out to clubs, schools and the community to help provide a sustainable and regular income stream for the Quakers, which became fan owned in 2012.

The plans, which the club hope will be partially backed by financial grants, will also allow for future expansion to the stadium as the Quakers continue their push to return the Football League following their relegation in 2010.

Read more: Why Darlington FC need to get their new home right this time

Darlington Chief Executive Officer and Club Chairman, David Johnston, said: “We look forward to working closely with all the various stakeholders to deliver a solution that meets the club’s ambitions. We appreciate that this will take some time to deliver and that there is plenty of work to be done before construction even starts.

The Northern Echo:

“This proposal provides the opportunity to develop a sustainable solution with facilities centred at the heart of the community offering sporting and recreational facilities that will appeal to many people and most of all a stadium that will allow the club and its fanbase to progress.

“Whilst this proposal is in its early stages, and the club are considering a number of alternative locations for the new facility, the political support to secure a site is the first step towards developing this solution.”

The Northern Echo:

Darlington left their former home at Feethams to move into the arena, a move which was led by former chairman George Reynolds, in 2003. Quakers spent nine years playing at the stadium, but its running costs became a millstone around the club’s neck and contributed to the financial problems that resulted in demotion to the Northern League.

From there, it moved to Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park. The club has played at Blackwell Meadows, which is a mile away, since December 2016. 

Read more: SEASON REVIEW - Mid-table is not good enough for Darlington

The Northern Echo:

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, said: “This club hasn’t had it easy in the past because of bad decisions taken without consulting the fans by previous owners to build vanity projects like the 27,000 seat Arena in 2002 rather than what the club and community actually need.

“I’m pleased that’s long behind us and the club has the right leadership with strong fan backing in place and a sensible well thought-out and sustainable plan.

“We are a step closer to finding a permanent home for this much loved local football team in a state-of-the-art stadium that matches the team’s ambitions.”

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