FORMER Darlington manager Peter Madden, who led Quakers to some memorable times in the 1970s, has died at the age of 85.

Appointed as manager in the summer of 1975 following Billy Horner’s departure, Madden is fondly remembered for what he achieved at Feethams in cup competitions during his three and a half seasons in charge.

In 1975-76, Sheffield Wednesday were beaten on penalties in the first round of the League Cup, Luton 2-1 were despatched in round two before a 3-0 defeat at West Ham’s Upton Park.

Quakers finished 11th in the fourth division in 1976-77, reaching the third round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1964, beating Scarborough and Sheffield Wednesday, losing to Orient after two replays at Tottenham.

Madden then led Quakers to the third round of the League Cup, losing 1-0 at Everton’s Goodison Park after wins over Mansfield and Fulham, adding after the victory: “We were magic, Fulham had no answer to our enthusiasm and determination.”

In October 1978, he left and took over at Rochdale, which prompted a players’ revolt.

Madden, who signed Quakers’ record goalscorer Alan Walsh from Middlesbrough, quit after a run of poor results, Quakers slipping into the bottom four after a defeat to Dale.

A string of events led to his departure, as £20,000 signing Eric Probert was injured, along with skipper Barry Lyons.

Two years after saving the club from the threat of relegation from the old fourth division, chairman Leslie Moore said: “It was a heartbreaking time for us all. There is not a more genuine man in the game than Peter, but in the end we had to put Darlington Football Club first.

“What Peter did in his early days here will always be remembered. I hope he can still achieve success in football.’’

But goalkeeper Martin Burleigh demanded a transfer after Madden’s exit, telling The Northern Echo’s John Aspden: “I am going to ask for a move. I only came here because of Peter and I think it’s disgusting.

“I’ve played for a lot of managers, but he’s the best of the lot, not just as a manager but as a man.’’

Another player added: “I’m as sick as a pig. Peter brought me back into the game after I’d been out in the wilderness for two seasons.’’

John Stone, another Madden signing, added: “I’m not very happy at all. I think it’s diabolical.’’

Lyons, in the Farewell to Feethams publication, said: “He was a good manager. He protected players from the problems of the boardroom, and tried to get us a pay rise whenever he could. I know there was a fair bit of friction between him and the board, but he acted as a barrier so that it didn’t filter down to the players.”

Madden played for Rotherham, Bradford and Aldershot, before a spell as player-coach at Skegness. He moved to Feethams as a coach under Dick Conner, before being appointed manager.

On his exit, he said: “The nucleus of a good side is there. I was the man most involved with the chairman and fought him and won. Pressures were applied behind the scenes and the club and I came to a mutual agreement.’’