Darlington F.C. - Supporters and Rivalries

Supporters and Rivalries

Darlington's supporters consider Hartlepool United as their main rivals. The feeling is reciprocated: in a 2008 survey, 95% of supporters of both clubs named the other as their bitterest rivals. The clubs, based 25 miles (40 km) apart, with Middlesbrough directly between the two towns, had met 147 times (as of 2009–10), of which Hartlepool won 60 to Darlington's 57. The meeting between the two clubs in 2007 attracted a crowd of 10,121 to the Darlington Arena, the largest attendance for that League fixture for 50 years, though the average League attendance at the stadium declined from over 5,000 in its opening season to 2,744 in 2009–10.

Darlington has an official supporters' club and an away supporters group, known as Darlington Away Far Travelling Supporters (DAFTS), who represent Darlington supporters from places elsewhere in the country. A Supporters' Trust was founded in 2002; it established a Disabled Supporters Group, tried to maintain a working relationship between club and supporters, and, together with the Darlington Camera Club, staged a "Farewell to Feethams" exhibition in celebration of the club's longtime home. Together with the supporters' club, the trust has been actively involved in fund-raising particularly during the club's periods of administration.

Fanzines included Mission Impossible, first published in the early 1990s, and Where's The Money Gone, whose teenage editor, along with the editor of website Darlo Uncovered, Scott Thornberry, were among several supporters banned from the ground by chairman George Reynolds for criticising the running of the club.

The team mascot was Mr Q, described as "a flat-looking cartoon man with a very big hat". In 2006, he was joined, and later replaced, by Darlo Dog, a Dalmatian, who was once ejected from the ground for climbing on the advertising boards in front of television cameras. Darlo Dog retired at the end of the 2009–10 season; his successor, a panda named Feethams, was chosen via a design competition.

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