A post re Ray's new book 'Darlo's On The Up'

Open now for discussion of all things Darlo!

Moderators: botrash, mikkyx, charlie, uncovered

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 4445
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:40 pm
Team Supported: Darlington

A post re Ray's new book 'Darlo's On The Up'

Post by theoriginalfatcat » Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:36 pm

I'm no book reviewer or literary boffin but as I've had time on my hands, here are a few thoughts re Ray's new book 'Darlo's on the up' - I've enjoyed reading it and found it quite educational – in a Darlo sort of way.

My visits to Feethams started in the mid nineties so my knowledge pre this time was a little limited to what I'd previously been told or read. So out of the 6 promotion seasons in question, I found the middle section of the book the most interesting, as the 2013 and 2015 seasons are still fresh in my mind, while 1966 is just a bit far back.

However one thought I do take from the story of the 66 season is what great crowds they had back then, to quote the book.... 'On May 21st, a crowd of 16,489 squeezed into dear old Feethams' and crowds of 10,000 plus seemed to be not uncommon back then.

'Cyril leads young Quakers to glory' is the title of chapter two, and this pretty much sums up the story of the 84-85 season. Knowles has a smaller budget than his promotion rivals along with a less experienced and smaller squad, but after a slowish start still manages to finish third in the table. The stunning F.A. Cup win against Middlesbrough is described here and at the end of this section there are some great recollections from the players, giving a little insight into what life was like playing for Darlo at this eventful time.

Brian Little seems to be an inspirational character, and the next two chapters are about his time at the helm - and it seems a shame to me that I missed these two great seasons. There's mention about Little having Barnet watched 5 times before winning the crunch away game against them in the 89/90 season. There is also a great photo of a long haired Mr Little on page 101.

In the Conference season there's a funny tale regarding Kevin Smith. During an away game at Altrincham the ball is kicked out of play and is replaced by another - meanwhile the first ball gets thrown back on to the pitch and into the Darlington penalty box. Smith picks up this ball just as the ref turns around, and a penalty is given! After much arguing, and with the help of a switched on linesman, the ref changes his mind.

Ideally I would have liked to have known a bit more about the then Darlington Chairman Dick Corden (as in what he did before and after Darlo) because he seems to have been a key figure in Little, and the club's success.

I enjoyed reading about the players of yesteryear, whose names are still kept active by users on this board - step forward 'super-les-mcjennet' - 'joe-jaques' and others. Although I'm pleased to say that in later years I did witness 'neil-heaneys-pace!'

For Little's 2nd season, he just seems to carry on with the upwards momentum. Incidentally, for anyone interested in the circumstances behind Darlo dropping out of the league pre Little's promotion exploits, check out the book 'The Ultimate Drop' (Tempest Publishing) where Doug Embleton writes about this.

The last two chapters of Ray's book are obviously about our recent promotion seasons - even so I had forgotten about how tense things had become at the end of the Northern League campaign, especially about Spennymoor's handy extension to their season in order to complete their games. And also last season, I had forgotten about how tense I was during the Spennymoor play off semi final, it really could have gone either way! Anyway, I have no doubt that the final two chapters will be re read in a few years time – just to refresh my memory like!

So in summary - great read. :thumbup:
Mr Singh said this " I'm not expecting to get back any of the money I've already put in, I'm prepared to write it off for the future of the club. I'm not hanging in to make any kind of financial gain in the short or long term - if someone was prepared to come in and take the club off my hands, I'd be more than willing to discuss it"

Tamworth matchday programme 26 Nov 2011

Posts: 2782
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:24 pm
Team Supported: Darlington

Re: A post re Ray's new book 'Darlo's On The Up'

Post by charlie » Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:43 pm

Hiya Ray Simpson has asked me to pass on his thanks for your kind words about the book x
@Charliejovi on twitter


Feethams 1966
Posts: 293
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:13 pm
Team Supported: Darlington

Re: A post re Ray's new book 'Darlo's On The Up'

Post by Feethams 1966 » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:46 pm

My copy of the book's been put away as a Christmas present so I'll have to wait till then. The crowd of sixteen and a half thousand in 1966 would have been the final match of the season against Torquay. A nil nil draw, but if we'd won we would have gone up as champions. I can tell you it wasn't much fun being in that crowd, it was a tight squeeze and as a small ten year old, the only view I got was of other people's legs. However I was able to read about it in The Pink afterwards.

If you could programme your Tardis back to that season, what you'd notice was different would be the number of old blokes with flat caps, the chatter of scores of wooden rattles - when things got exciting - and the pervading stink of cigarette smoke and Sloans linament. People would be propped up against the back of the tin shed with homemade wooden signs proclaiming "Darlo for Division 3", or "Up the Quakers". Some spectators would have climbed up the floodlights for a better view.
"Elf & Safety / risk assessments? - light years away.
The bobbies would be patrolling the touch lines with that straight ahead fixed look, and a single lightbulb would be glowing far up in the back of the East stand during night games - which were often played on Mondays for some reason. And the crowd would be singing "go home, yer bums, go home yer bums..."

Still, a win on a Saturday and a win on a Monday would see a healthy four points added to the season's progress in those days. Thin programmes cost a few pence and were often similar to the previous game's edition. Same advertisers, same format, just a different preface from Lol Morgan or the chairman with their take on the previous game etc. The other things you'd notice would be the queues outside the turnstiles. I'd head for the one with a black & white sign saying "Children & OAPs 2/-". That's 10p nowadays.

One thing that hasn't changed - the blood & thunder style of play, the sheer excitement, and thrills of watching Darlington.

Post Reply