FORMER Darlington striker David Currie, one of the club’s best-ever players in the opinion of some supporters, is guest of honour at tonight’s match against Blyth Spartans.

Now aged 56, he was with the club for almost two seasons in the late 1980s during which time he scored some extraordinary goals and his exploits meant many fans expected him to become a success at the highest level.

While Stockton-born Currie did not become a national household name after leaving Quakers, he had possessed a level of talent superior to those around him during his Darlington days which began in the summer of 1986 when manager Cyril Knowles brought him to Feethams from Middlesbrough.

He went on to generate a number of red-hot Currie headlines thanks to not only his prolific goal-getting - 34 in 94 games – but also his natural flair and style that means he remains highly regarded 30 years later.

He arrived as a replacement for Carl Airey, who joined Charleroi in Belgium, with Darlington having finished ’85-86 in 13th position in Division Three, what is now known as League 1.

In his first season Currie notched 12 league goals– the same amount Airey had the previous year - but Darlington were relegated, however, their cause was not assisted by the lengthy absence through injury of Garry MacDonald. Knowles had wanted MacDonald to be Currie’s strike-partner - one or both of the duo scored in six of the ten matches they started together.

But with MacDonald back from injury, ’87-88 saw Currie on target 21 times in 31 Division Four appearances, earning admirers from much higher up the game and eventually a transfer to Barnsley in February ’88.

His final goal was in a 2-1 defeat at Burnley, the same opposition against which he is pictured scoring one of two goals at Feethams during a Christmas fixture when Darlington won 4-2 in their best performance of the season.

Barnsley bought him for a snip at £100,000 with manager Allan Clarke – the former Leeds United striker – predicting that Currie would become a £1m footballer. He was right, because two years later he moved for £1m to Nottingham Forest, though he lasted only six months under Brian Clough who sold him to Oldham.

Currie finished his career with three years at Carlisle United and a spell at Scarborough, for whom he scored a hat-trick against Darlington in February 1997 at the McCain Stadium.

It was a game Quakers lost 4-1 and is remembered for the performance of referee Eddie Wolstenholme, who sent off Mark Barnard and Phil Brumwell with and manager David Hodgson giving the official a zero mark.