Match Guide: Darlington 1883

by Oscar Chamberlain

We take a look at Saturday's friendly opponents.

Full name: Darlington 1883
2012 (Formed following the liquidation of Darlington FC)
Heritage Park
Martin Gray
Northern Premier League Division One North

Who are they?

Formed in 2012 following the collapse of Darlington FC, Darlington 1883 play their football in the Northern Premier League Division One North.

Since becoming a new club the Quakers have enjoyed two incredibly successful campaigns with promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One North achieved during their inaugural season.

The 2013-14 season almost saw them secure a second successive championship but they were narrowly pipped to the post by Curzon Ashton, before being beaten by Ramsbottom United in a play-off semi-final.

Prior to becoming Darlington 1883, the club’s highest-ever league finish was 15th place in the second division which was recorded in 1926.

In the Nineties they achieved successive promotions winning the Conference National in 1990 and the Fourth Division in 1991.

The Quakers also enjoyed several impressive cup runs, reaching the last 16 of the FA Cup on two occasions and the quarter final stage of the League Cup once.

And, just like the Black Cats, they have fond memories of Wembley, having lifted the FA Trophy at the national stadium in 2011, beating Mansfield Town 1-0.


Gus Poyet’s Sunderland side will take on the Quakers at Heritage Park, a 2,004 capacity stadium located in County Durham which is also home to Bishop Auckland FC.

The stadium’s opening ceremony took place on 24 October 2010, with Darlington moving to the facility ahead of the 2012-13 season.

The current attendance record is 2,004 for the game between Bishop Auckland and Darlington FC in August 2012.


Darlington 1883 are currently managed by former Sunderland midfielder Martin Gray.

Gray made over 50 appearances for the Black Cats during a six-year spell on Wearside before moving to Oxford United for a reported fee of £100,000 in 1996.

In 1999 Gray moved to Darlington where he made 67 league appearances before calling time on his playing career in 2001 to focus on a career in coaching.

Gray’s first managerial position came in 2006 when he took charge of Darlington as joint caretaker manager with former Southampton midfielder Neil Maddison.

Following the arrival of former Doncaster Rovers manager Dave Penney, Gray reverted to the position of assistant manager but in 2009 he was once again named caretaker following Penney’s move to Oldham Athletic.

Gray soon joined Penney at Boundary Park but he remained there for just 13 months with Penney departing and Oldham rejecting his application for the role of manager.

In May 2012 Gray was appointed as manager of Darlington 1883 and he made an immediate impact, guiding the club to the Northern League Division One title. 


Tickets remain on general sale at the Stadium of Light ticket office or over the phone on 0871 911 1973.

Please note that this game is all ticket and no tickets will be available on the day of the game. The deadline for purchases is 1pm on Friday 18th July. 

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