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Return to Feethams "non-starter", Quakers fans told
A BID to bring the Quakers back to Feethams is a “nonstarter”, fans have been warned.
Brian Johnson, chairman of Darlington Cricket Club, which owns the land, said housing developers were due to start work at the site this summer.
The update came after Darlington FC fans Shaun Campbell and Doug Embleton stepped up their campaign to return the club to its former town centre home.
The pair said they had been “inundated” with requests from fans to push for a Feethams revival after the club was bought by community company Darlington FC 1883 Ltd (DFC 1883).
The two men – who were original members of Darlington FC Rescue Group, but are no longer involved in DFC 1883 – released a statement this week calling for a definitive answer on whether Feethams could be used as the club’s long-term home.
The statement said: “It is unquestionably the right time for the absolute and definitive answers to be provided on whether this is possible or whether it is not – not as an emotive issue but as a pragmatic, fact-based response which everyone and his dog can understand.”
“Realistically, I can’t see any possibility. We’ve got full planning consent for a residential development and we would hope that development will start towards late summer.”Brian Johnson, chairman of Darlington Cricket Club
Feethams was the home of the Quakers from the club’s inception in 1883 to 2003, when the club moved to the Reynolds Arena.
County Durham-based Esh Group was given planning permission for 146 homes on the site in 2009, but work is yet to start.
Mr Johnson said: “The idea of the football club returning to Feethams is a total nonstarter – they couldn’t afford it, apart from anything else.
“There is the sale price of the land and then there would be the clearing of the site and the building of the stadium – where are they going to get the money from to do that?
“Realistically, I can’t see any possibility. We’ve got full planning consent for a residential development and we would hope that development will start towards late summer.”
Craig McKenna, from DFC 1883, said: “We will meet Shaun and Doug to hear what they have to say about Feethams.
“We don’t believe it’s possible, but we will be giving them the courtesy, as Darlington fans, of discussing it with them."