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Darlington and South Shields sack their managers with both teams at opposite ends of the table

Darlington and South Shields sack their managers with both teams at opposite ends of the National League North table for December 2023.

The Quakers have parted company with manager Josh Gowling after suffering a 2-0 defeat away at Scarborough Athletic on Boxing Day.

Gowling departs the club after a three month stint having come in as successor to Alun Armstrong back in September.

Darlington were bottom of the National League North standing when Armstrong was got rid of, with Gowling struggling to improve their form since then.

They sit second bottom in the relegation zone after just three wins in 16 games under Gowling, and overall for the season they have picked up 19 points from 23 games, and are 8 points from safety.


“Following our 2-0 defeat at Scarborough today, Darlington FC have regrettably parted company with manager Josh Gowling. We would like to thank Josh for all his efforts since he was appointed in September.

“We will make an announcement about the ongoing position in due course.”

Meanwhile, the league has seen another sacking, this one more questionable for some with Julio Arca sacked at South Shields.

They sit 8th in the table, a place and two points from the playoffs, having taken 36 points from 24 games played.

The 42 year old came in to replace Kevin Phillips in April, but it seems the 3-1 defeat to Blyth Spartans proved to be the final game in charge for the ex-Sunderland player.

This was Arca’s first role in senior management at a club where he had plenty of success with as a player.

South Shields had started the 2023/24 season strongly, sitting in the playoff places for most of the campaign but have has recently struggled to keep the winning form.

This was the club’s sixth game without a victory in all competitions and their fourth straight defeat.


South Shields FC can confirm the decision has been made to part company with first-team manager Julio Arca and his assistant Tommy Miller.

The club expresses its sincere gratitude to Julio and Tommy for their efforts during their time at 1st Cloud Arena and wishes them both well for their future endeavours.

Julio has been one of the main catalysts of the club’s growth over the last eight-and-a-half years and will always be regarded as a club legend.

We regret that his time as first-team manager has come to an end, but this decision has been made as a result of on-pitch performances and results over the last six weeks.

Julio, Tommy and their families will always be welcome at 1st Cloud Arena.

Elliott Dickman will lead the first-team on an interim basis following Julio and Tommy’s departures, and he will be supported by Lee Picton.

The club will make no further comment at this time.

www.fanbanter.co.uk – Fan reaction to the latest football news, gossip & funnies

Here’s what dans had to say as Darlington and South Shields sack their managers with both teams at opposite ends of the table…


@HuscroftJack: I might start going now

@Stevecathutch: Regrettably? Regrettably he didn’t go a month ago….. regrettably he was appointed in the first place…..

@blakeydfc: Only regret should be appointing him in the first place

@tom_breedon: Had to be done. Nowt against Josh personally, great bloke, probably not a bad coach at a certain level, definitely not a manager. No receipts now, its in the past, everyone needs to come together and help the club through this 👍

@ARandoLukeBlair: That completes my Christmas, lets goo

@sandylane2009: Woke up to this news. Positive action which had to be done. Please get it right this time. Hopefully the new manager can work with the recent signings to mold a team to keep us up this season.

@Darlo_Robbo: Don’t like seeing people lose their jobs but I can let that go on this occasion

@j_coz22: Ahahah useless. He speaks a good game. We did say.

@stevefazza78: Hope you make your next appointment a good one. As an ex football league club like ourselves, sad to see you lot struggling.

@ELTaylor94: I’m glad to see you’ve seen sense and gotten rid of him – we did warn you what to expect!

@Alexander_S_R: The surprise is that it took you so long. Absolute fraud of a manager.

@darlo_will: Probably for the best. Good luck to him, can’t be an easy job

@Abell79A: About bloody time. Best wishes Josh

@NottsQuaker: Nothing regrettable about it. Football is a performance game and we haven’t been performing. Action was necessary. JG was selfish in continuing when out of his depth.

@sportsmad375: I have zero sympathy for the man but what I’m hoping now is that these players take a look at themselves as they have done themselves and us no favours by clearly not giving enough effort. That is the minimum ask for me. Bishop S out fought us all over the park.

@Markodarlo: Well done 👏🏻

@brandon20608: Was unfortunately never going to work but gave us some good games (chester) and a decent signing or two, wish him all the best for the future

@alan_m_bennett: Had to be done

@tboynton961: The worst managerial appointment ever

@Rennie__23: Thank god for that he’s gone 😍


@jordandavies09: 8th in a new league and you’re canning the manager..?

@wuds100: Probably need to move away from the Mackem connection on the next one.

@JOHNMOORE28: The players need to take a lot of the blame.

@dfc_cam: I’m sorry. You lot are 8th. How was this worthy of the sack?

@AlexKaaaay: Another ridiculous decision. Not a way to treat a club legend, and only 5 league games without a win. 8th in the league. Club has no direction.

@THtyne: Got Lee Cattermole all over this one. Two sides of the coin, Shields first time in the National League North, I’m sure 8th at the halfway point isn’t bad at all. Other side, second highest wage budget in the league and it’s less about the results, more the abysmal performances

@sean_haswell: I said at the beginning of the season I wasn’t sure it was the right appointment. Hopefully we take the right approach and appoint someone who has been there and done it within the league or above.

@brianfoster4274: Go and get Neil Reynolds a proper manager who is passionate, thinks alot of Shields and gets the players playing for him and his club.

@AffiliatesStop: 8th in the league first season at this level. Seems crazy to me

@Toonpedro: Wow! Didn’t see that one coming. It’s a tough league, the National league North and I think 8th place is reasonable for your first season up.

@Talent_scout23: Start using the academy instead of add of loaning them out it will half the wage bill and at least will have players who want to be there.

@MiddyRed68: Mad decision this, you’re 8th in a new league ! 🤷🏼‍♂️

@Dukeyce: Thanks for some great football Julio…. We just seemed to run out of steam & maybe the players need to look at themselves too 👍 Next appt is key so if it takes time we need patience – experience at the level important too

@CarlWilcockson1: These dismissals are getting ridiculous , 6 wks without a win and the manager gets sacked , seriously , do these ppl know what it takes to build a team , defeats are part of the process

@APurcell92: Such a shame it didn’t work out, but it had to happen. And an experienced manager has to come in and knock some heads together

@AlwaysReadySSFC: We have to be honest not the right appointment in the first place the constant swapping of the team was rediculous you have to find your best squad and manage the players who are not in it, man management is key!

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