FC Halifax Town are set to go up against Darlington 1883 on Boxing Day, in hopes of getting their stuttering form back on track. There will be no time for any post-Christmas festivities for the Shaymen, with a tough trip even further up north awaiting them, we look at ten things about the upcoming opposition.
1. The first and most recent point on this list is that the game against Halifax will be the first that Darlington will play at their new ground. Fans of the Durham outfit will be looking forward to a bright future at Blackwell Meadows, sharing the ground with Darlington RFC.
2. After the club was reformed in 2012 they played their games outside of Darlington, at Bishop Auckland, the game against Halifax will be the first time in four years the clubs supporters will watch their team inside their home town.
3. Darlington were one of the few original founding members of the Northern League, all the way back in 1889. The club went on to win the title twice, in 1886 and 1900.
4. Darlington were one of the two teams to play the first FA Cup match under floodlights. Beating Carlisle United 3-1 at Newcastle’s St James’ Park in 1955. A bright light in the club’s history.
5. Speaking of bright lights in the club’s history, Darlington made waves in the 1958 FA Cup as they went on an impressive giant killing run. Blasting past Rochdale, Boston and Norwich, the Quakers were then drawn against first division side Chelsea, who had won the first division title just three years earlier in 1955. After fighting out in incredible 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge, Darlington took the London outfit back to their home ground and mauled them 4-1 in front of over 15,000 home fans.
6. In 1996 Darlington travelled to Wembley for the first time in their history after reaching the third division play-off finals. Unfortunately, the trip was not a happy one. 13,000 fans make the long journey only to see their side lose thanks to a goal in the second half.
7. In 2012 the club were in administration for the third time in their history and were subsequently taken over by a supporters group. This did not stop the FA acting however, and the club was given demotion to the Northern League, a drop of four divisions from the then Conference.
8. Under the management of Martin Gray the club have found three promotions in just four years, just one league below where they were in 2012.
9. The club currently sit 5th in the Vanarama National League North, inside the play-off spots. It would take a brave person to say that Darlington are not in the running for another promotion.
10. Finally a fact about the town itself. There are bridges stretching across the River Amazon and the River Nile that were originally built in Darlington. Aren’t you happy you read that?
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