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Former player takes over as manager of Darlington – another club from same league lose theirs

Yet another club in English football this week have appointed a new manager, this time it’s Darlington who have brought in Blyth Spartans’ Alun Armstrong.

The former Quakers player was close to returning to his former club 18 months ago, though chose to head to Croft Park instead.

He took Blyth up to the National League North come the end of his first season in charge, rejected a chance to head to Darlington in October 2017 then finished 10th and four points outside the playoffs.

This season, Armstrong guided Blyth to the playoffs, however lost on penalties to Altincham in the Qualifying Round.

Despite the high finish, the club have had a few troubles off the pitch, financially, leaving Alun at one point hitting out at the board.

He was apparently told that the amount available to spend was being reduced.

“There’s a big job to be done, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

“I have no doubt that it will be a challenging job, but I believe that we can bring success to the club. I’m looking forward to working with everybody.

“The fans, and the ambitions of David Johnston, are big factors in my coming to the club. I want to try and get the club as high as I can.”

Darlington chief executive officer David Johnston said: “Alun was the most outstanding candidate out of the 71 who applied, he was a perfect fit for the criteria that we laid out for the job. He is a well-qualified coach, who has good experience of this league, good knowledge of players and has plenty of contacts.

“He has done very well at Blyth in the last three seasons, guiding them to promotion from the EvoStik League in his first season, and then into the play offs in the season just ended.

“He formed a very good relationship with Darlington fans in his two previous playing spells, and now we would like to welcome him back again as manager and wish him all the best in the future.”

Chris Stockdale, Chair of DFCSG, the owners of Darlington FC, said: “I’m delighted to extend a warm welcome to our new manager, Alun Armstrong. Having emerged as the outstanding candidate during our extensive recruitment process, I believe Alun is the right person to work with as we look to take our great club forward on and off the field.

“His managerial abilities have shone through over the last two seasons in the National League North and I’m sure his attacking brand of football will prove popular with our owners and supporters.”


Following the announcement, fans took to not just Darlington’s but now managerless Blyth Spartan’s Twitter to give their reaction, find out what was said on the next page.


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