The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game: Darlington FC

“Who?” and “Why should I care?”

These were probably and understandably the first two questions to enter your head. So let’s answer them. Darlington, a fifth division English football club, was born in 1883 and is older than most Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Chelsea. They are known as The Quakers, the nickname being a reference to the religious movement that influenced the town of Darlington for many generations.  They have previously won a few divisional league titles, reached the last 16 of the FA Cup, and won the FA Trophy last season.

Why should you care? Because greedy, foolish owners are prowling around in every professional sport and this is an important story of a very old soccer club brought to the brink of extinction by the scandalous actions of a former owner.  The players and staff involved with clubs like Darlington are paid (far) less in a year than Yaya Toure is paid in a week. Some players don’t even make enough to play football full-time; they take on nightly jobs during the week after training during the day. These are young men struggling with bills, families, laundry, and car problems just like you and me. The only reason the club played their league game last weekend was because their amazing fans raised £8,000 to ensure it went ahead. And on Monday the club’s entire playing staff was laid off. Read more of this post

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