Rugby club agrees to groundshare with Quakers

The Advertiser Series: MAKING PLANS: From left Tony Stowe, from Darlington Rugby Club, Peter Griffin, director of facilities for rugby club, John Tempest, from Darlington CIC, Michael Wilkinson, chairman of the rugby club, and Martin Jesper, director of Darlington FC. MAKING PLANS: From left Tony Stowe, from Darlington Rugby Club, Peter Griffin, director of facilities for rugby club, John Tempest, from Darlington CIC, Michael Wilkinson, chairman of the rugby club, and Martin Jesper, director of Darlington FC.

DARLINGTON RFC has agreed to share its ground with the town’s football club.

Members of the rugby club voted in favour of the groundshare at a meeting at Blackwell Meadows tonight.

The decision means the Quakers will now be able to begin working towards moving back to Darlington next season after a two-year enforced absence when the club played its home games at Bishop Auckland FC’s Heritage Park.

A statement issued by the rugby club said: “A vote taken, at a specially convened extraordinary general meeting, witnessed a majority of the member’s voting in favour of welcoming Darlington FC to Blackwell Meadows for the benefit of sport in Darlington and both codes of rugby and association football.

“This is a big step towards creating a community sports hub for Darlington and both parties are positive this is a deal that will benefit both clubs, and the community, enormously.

“Negotiations will continue with regards to final clubhouse and ground development and plans will be released in due course.”

After the vote, Darlington RFC chairman Michael Wilkinson said: "It's the biggest vote this club had to make in many a year and we're delighted that we're able with the membership to go forward with the proposal to bring Darlington FC back to Darlington - and in particular Blackwell Meadows."

And he added: "The hard work starts now."

The football club said it was “delighted” with the decision.

A statement said: “With all parties now totally committed to ensuring that the potential at Blackwell Meadows is to be fully exploited for the benefit of both clubs and the wider community, we are delighted that we can push on with the significant work that has already been carried out to date with the intention of bringing the football club back to Darlington as soon as practicable.”

It is understood plans will shortly be submitted for approval to Darlington Borough Council ahead of work to upgrade the ground ready for the football club’s arrival.

The Quakers have previously revealed that it was crucial the club returned to Darlington in order for it to cut costs and increase revenues.

Although senior officers at the rugby club backed the groundshare plan, some members had raised concerns that the football club would take over.

Comments (8)

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9:53pm Mon 24 Mar 14

behonest says...

Great news. Darlo FC now needs to focus on reaching, and winning, the play-offs. Combining a promotion with the move back to Darlo would be the best possible start to next season, for everyone involved.
Great news. Darlo FC now needs to focus on reaching, and winning, the play-offs. Combining a promotion with the move back to Darlo would be the best possible start to next season, for everyone involved. behonest
  • Score: 15

10:39pm Mon 24 Mar 14

superposh says...

Great news,lets hope it spurs the team on to finish the season in style!
Great news,lets hope it spurs the team on to finish the season in style! superposh
  • Score: 10

8:30am Tue 25 Mar 14

FirTreeFC says...

Big thanks to rugby club and lets hope we both grow and develop together!
Big thanks to rugby club and lets hope we both grow and develop together! FirTreeFC
  • Score: 9

9:48am Tue 25 Mar 14

Lionel1 says...

excellent news for DFC, looking forward to seeing the plans for the the new ground!
excellent news for DFC, looking forward to seeing the plans for the the new ground! Lionel1
  • Score: 4

10:31am Tue 25 Mar 14

laughingboy51 says...

Lets hope Bill Dixon and his motley crew help the club this time!
Lets hope Bill Dixon and his motley crew help the club this time! laughingboy51
  • Score: -2

10:47am Tue 25 Mar 14

oliviaden6 says...

laughingboy51 wrote:
Lets hope Bill Dixon and his motley crew help the club this time!
Bill Dixon could not give a fig about Darlington football Club he is only interested in his own closed little world, don't hold your breath???? Your Better off without the Councils involvement the Football club will be better of for it in the long run. Its a wonder they are not claiming that they instigated this move?
[quote][p][bold]laughingboy51[/bold] wrote: Lets hope Bill Dixon and his motley crew help the club this time![/p][/quote]Bill Dixon could not give a fig about Darlington football Club he is only interested in his own closed little world, don't hold your breath???? Your Better off without the Councils involvement the Football club will be better of for it in the long run. Its a wonder they are not claiming that they instigated this move? oliviaden6
  • Score: 11

12:20pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Lionel1 says...

oliviaden6 wrote:
laughingboy51 wrote: Lets hope Bill Dixon and his motley crew help the club this time!
Bill Dixon could not give a fig about Darlington football Club he is only interested in his own closed little world, don't hold your breath???? Your Better off without the Councils involvement the Football club will be better of for it in the long run. Its a wonder they are not claiming that they instigated this move?
how can the Council not be involved? They need to approve the plans whether you like it or not! Your dislike for Mr Dixon gets in the way of you writing anything that makes sense - get over it/him. Or would you secretly like to be part of his 'closed little world'?
[quote][p][bold]oliviaden6[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]laughingboy51[/bold] wrote: Lets hope Bill Dixon and his motley crew help the club this time![/p][/quote]Bill Dixon could not give a fig about Darlington football Club he is only interested in his own closed little world, don't hold your breath???? Your Better off without the Councils involvement the Football club will be better of for it in the long run. Its a wonder they are not claiming that they instigated this move?[/p][/quote]how can the Council not be involved? They need to approve the plans whether you like it or not! Your dislike for Mr Dixon gets in the way of you writing anything that makes sense - get over it/him. Or would you secretly like to be part of his 'closed little world'? Lionel1
  • Score: -2

2:48am Sat 5 Apr 14

snudge says...

Sad sad day for DRFC management and members throw away years of tradition for short game gain. How can they throwin their lot with a bunch of financial incmopetants a set of born loosers. DRFC managment should hang their heads in shame
Sad sad day for DRFC management and members throw away years of tradition for short game gain. How can they throwin their lot with a bunch of financial incmopetants a set of born loosers. DRFC managment should hang their heads in shame snudge
  • Score: 3

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