Darlington are to leave Blackwell Meadows and move to a new stadium with the club issuing a statement regarding the decision made.
The Quakers will be moving to a new stadium in the town, The Northern Echo first revealed on Friday, bringing to an end years of uncertainty over their permanently home and a huge boost for the National League North outfit.
The new stadium, which will see a capacity of between 5,000 and 8,000 fans, could be built in time for the 2025/26 season, bringing an end to their time at Blackwell Meadows – a ground they’ve rented since 2016, before that they had been at Bishop Auckland.
Exclusive: Darlington FC are to leave Blackwell Meadows – their home since 2016 – and build a new stadium in the town
It will have capacity for up to 8,000 fans and be ready for the 2025/26 season
— Nick Gullon (@EchoNickG) May 20, 2022
Darlington FC are pleased to announce that the first major step has been taken towards moving to a new purpose-built ground in the town with facilities for the community.
Darlington chief executive officer David Johnston has been in talks with all interested stakeholders in recent weeks, and the club is now in a position to start planning ahead.
One of the stakeholders is Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who met DJ at Blackwell Meadows on Thursday, and has thrown his political weight behind the club’s search for a new stadium.
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 facilities which will be rented out to clubs, schools and the community to help provide a sustainable and regular income stream for the club.
The new stadium, which will allow capacity of between 5,000 and 8,000 fans, could be built in time for the 2025/26 season. 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 to push towards the Football League following relegation in 2010. The club became fan-owned in 2012.
Mayor 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.”
DJ will talk more about this development at the End of Season Awards Dinner on Friday night.
We’re sure that everyone involved with Darlington FC welcomes the news, and the club looks forward to working with the various stakeholders in the future.
– STATEMENT ENDS –
Twitter users reacted as Darlington get set to leave Blackwell Meadows and move to a new stadium…
@JoshButlerBUFC: Good. BM is comfortably the worst ground in the league. Although hopefully if Saturdays result goes for us we won’t need to visit next season
@ForDarlo: Absolutely beautiful
@TheHombreUK: This is fantastic news for @Official_Darlo
@BenJackson2013: Up the darlo 👏
@liddle_4_ever: While it’s nice to have an update, with progress being made, let’s be realistic, without a location, minimal progress can be made. We cant really work on the design. We can’t provide more detailed costings.
@tom_breedon: I think the big takeaway is we’re getting the sort of people on side who are key to it going ahead easily or not when we get to that stage. Being the mate someone with influence wants to do a favour for is where we want to be.
@Choongo11: Getting DJ involved in the club is the best signing we’ve made in the last 30 years. We all need to get behind whatever decisions he makes and do all we can to ensure he stays in charge long term.
@BarryShawkins: Completely agree. The man just gets on with the job more than competently with minimal fuss or drama. Great leadership, ignores the noise and just does his job really well. I hope he sticks around for many more years but also hope he’s got a continuity plan in place!
@ashy2305: No doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t be anywhere near this without DJ. Him and people like Chris Stockdale deserve all the credit in the world
@quakerette: Wonderful news to wake up to this morning ⚫️⚪️
@andilong: Love that! “path of least resistance” so often the resistance is politically motivated so getting those ducks in a row first should eliminate that, now to get the public backing for the right location, hopefully 2 or 3 sites identified and a public ballot may solve that
@61Trellis: The New FEETHAMS maybe …..keep the Faith DARLO 👏👏👏👏👏👍
@Logan14Cameron: To the football league we’re on our way
@Darlotoon: Light at the end of the tunnel … hope at last !
🗣 𝗗𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗱 𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗻
“This is the most important day in my time at Darlington FC”
We are pleased to announce the first major step has been taken towards moving to a new purpose-built ground in the town with facilities for the community.
— Darlington FC (@Official_Darlo) May 20, 2022