Darlington fans raise funds for rugby club ground share

  • 13 April 2014
  • From the section Tees
Sign at Darlington Arena 2012 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Arena had been Darlington FC's home since 2003

Darlington FC are closer to returning to the town after fans raised nearly £85,000 to fund a move to Darlington Rugby Club's Blackwell Meadows ground.

The club currently plays home games at Heritage Park in Bishop Auckland after leaving Darlington two years ago.

The initial fundraising target was £50,000, but donations exceeded expectations.

Bosses hope to make the move by the start of next season but the timescale has not been confirmed.

They left their former ground, the Arena, in 2012 after going into administration.

'Gagging for it'

Despite having dropped down to the amateur Northern League and moved to a different town, the former Football League club still attracts average crowds of about 1,200.

Dave Mills, the club's community and fan liaison manager, said it was "massively important" to return to Darlington.

"Whilst we enjoy playing out at Bishop Auckland, we really do have this desire to return home," he said.

Darlington fan Les Hodge said playing in Bishop Auckland was like "putting Middlesbrough Football Club in Newcastle".

"We need to be back home where we belong. The fans are all gagging for it," he said.

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