Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Pain and Glory of Leaving Home

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Pain and Glory of Leaving Home

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Darlington will play their last ever game at Feethams today. Luke Edwards looks back at some of the highs and lows of its 120-year history.

THERE will be a tear in the eye of even the most emotionally detached of Darlington fans this afternoon as the curtain comes down on 120 years of footballing history at Feethams.

Darlington are moving to a state of the art all-seater stadium on the outskirts of town for the start of next season.

Named after a local soliciting firm, Feethams has been the arena for Darlington's many highs and lows, the failures, the glories, the pain and the joy.

It may not have ever been much to look at, sandwiched between a supermarket and a cricket ground, with rusting stands and crumbling terraces, but Feethams was Darlington's home and as any football fan will tell you, there is nothing quite like it.

As co-author of the book Farewell To Feethams, Ray Simpson says: "I think every Darlington fan will have a heavy heart after the game on Saturday, whether we win or not.

"It is a wrench whenever you have to leave home and this is no different. Feethams has been home for Darlington fans for more than a century and I'm sure there will be a few tears on the day.

"Darlington may not have had all that much success, but there have been some fantastic moments at the ground which make the place so special to us all."

Indeed, what Darlington fan could forget the FA Cup Fourth Round thrashing of mighty Chelsea in 1958, when, after a dramatic 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge, the Londoners were given a hiding in the North-East, heading back down south at the end of a 4-1 reverse.

Then there was the League Cup victory over West Ham in 1961, the Quakers upsetting the form book to secure a 2-1 win over a Hammers side which included the legendary Bobby Moore.

And of course the 1986 FA Cup defeat of local rivals Middlesbrough. But even those pale in comparison to perhaps Darlington's finest moment at Feethams, the beating of then reigning league champions Everton in 1969 in the League Cup, a win that sent shockwaves reverberating around the football world. …

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