Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tait Aims to Turn the Quakers' New Ground into a Fortress

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tait Aims to Turn the Quakers' New Ground into a Fortress

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

A final finish of 14th in English football's basement division is not exactly much to shout about for Darlington or their former caretaker manager. Although the impending move into their sparkling new 27,000 capacity all-seater stadium has brought its own form of excitement for Quakers fans, the harsh fact remains that they will still be watching Third Division football from the impressive new stands.

On the face of things, it may look as though it is a case of new venue, same old problems, but that is to ignore the improvements made under Tait.

The former Hartlepool manager was brought in to replace Tommy Taylor on a caretaker basis in October following a dismal start to the season which saw the club hovering perilously close to the relegation zone.

Tait steadied the ship and, although it was not until the final few weeks of the season that Darlington managed to haul themselves up the table, things had improved.

Team spirit returned, young players were given their chance, they became hard to beat and, at times were playing the sort of attractive attacking football all fans crave.

It may have not been the sort of stuff to win awards but under Tait's guidance there were at least the shoots of a brighter future and a respite from the sort of abuse that plagued Taylor and which, at times, has also been directed at the club's chairman, George Reynolds.

Tait, though, is not satisfied with the consolidation of performances during his time at the helm and draws attention to a statistic he feels explains Darlington's mediocre form.

He explains: "Our major problem last season was we that we drew too many games we should have won.

"We drew 18 matches and when I looked back on the videos we should have won 12 or 13 of those.

"That is another 24 or 26 points and that would have pushed us right up the table.

"We finished 14th, but it should have been higher.

"We were not killing teams off when we were on top in games. …

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