by Scott Thornberry - 25th June 2012
The football club known as Darlington FC will play next season as Darlington 1883.
Following the failed appeal against the FA decision to recognise Darlington FC as a new club the interim board of DFC1883 Ltd have been forced to find a new playing name for the team.
It was originally planned to hold an extensive poll to allow as many fans as possible to put forward their opinion on the new name but due to a last minute deadline imposed on the club the new name needed to be submitted on Monday 25th June.
The name submitted was DARLINGTON 1883
Fan polls had been hurriedly arranged by DFC1883 Ltd and by The Northern Echo and across the polls the most popular names were Darlington AFC and Darlington 1883.
There wasn't a lot of guidance on what would be allowed or otherwise from the FA but there was a clear indication the name "AFC" could be rejected.
There is significant fan buy-in to the name "Darlington 1883" on both polls and that was considered the best choice available.
Laura Drew, DFC1883 Ltd director and part of the team that attended the appeal said "We ended up in a position where we had to make a decision more or less on the spot, and this isn't the first time that has happened due to factors outside of our control. It was vital to us that the fans had some say in the new playing name of their team and Darlington 1883 was very popular in the polls that we received. Following the appeal hearing we were told that a new name would need to registered "sooner rather than later" but it was only mid-day on Saturday when it became clear that we needed to confirm the name today. The FA required us to differentiate from the previous playing name which incidentally was simply 'Darlington' as per last season's FA handbook and the use of '1883' has been adopted and broadly accepted by the town to reflect the history of the club as well scoring well in the polls."
Interim board chairman Denis Pinnegar continued "The Open Day at Bishop Auckland on Saturday was an excellent day and it was great to see so many fans looking forward to the new season. Deciding on the new name was a close run thing between the two final choices but Darlington 1883 demonstrates the great history of our club which is very important to us. We are disappointed that the poll could not run its course but the deadline placed on us at the last minute of Monday morning has to be adhered to. Now its all about preparing for the new season which we are all looking forward to."
Craig McKenna, project director said "We are getting used to having to make decisions at the last minute, its not something that we enjoy or encourage and this one is particularly frustrating as the fans were coming forward in their numbers to give their opinions. I am confident we have a playing name that will prove popular with the fans although I do think there will be some who will be critical. We tried to initiate a process where the fans would have the final say on the new playing name but the unbelievably short notice of the deadline has meant that we have had to take the feedback we had at hand and make a decision from there. This is an exciting new era for this football club and the 400+ season tickets sold on Saturday show that the Darlington FC fans are still 100% behind the football club"