At the races

Tilbury FC

Tilbury were formed in the late 1800s and moved to Orient Field after World War I. The ground was leased to the club for a reasonable price by a director of Leyton Orient, which is how it got its name. During World War II it was used as an anti-aircraft battery, after which they were told to become Orient’s feeder team or vacate the ground, an offer they refused.

They did not have to look very far for a new home, though, as they moved to the adjoining grounds which was a former greyhound racing venue that had fallen into disrepair. Tilbury locals joined with the club to help improve the stadium, and good cup runs in the ’40s along with the sale of goalkeeper Tom Scannell to Southend United allowed them to buy the stadium outright.

In 1970 they built a unique concrete stand, which houses the changing rooms underneath the seats of the spectators, who have a view of the pitch through a row of glass windows.

 Photo courtesy of Streets Paved With Goals.

By the fans, for the fans

Heritage Park, Bishop Auckland

 Darlington 1883

After a 129 year existence, Darlington Football Club eventually folded in 2012 after several years of financial problems, largely due to the all-seater stadium they moved to in 2003 which seated 25,000 people despite the club’s record attendance being 4,000 shy of that in 1960.

After a series of fundraising attempts by the fans, and various consortiums proposing takeovers, Darlington 1883 Limited was incorporated in 2012. Darlington Football Club Community Interest Company took a majority stake in the club, with 15% owned by the Darlington 1883 Supporters’ Club and 33% by 28 individual fans.

They began life in the Northern League Division One, as they were considered by the Football Association as a new club. They currently ground share with Bishop Auckland at Heritage Park, although there are plans in place to move back to Darlington, sharing with the town’s rugby club. In March 2015, supporters of the club started a fundraising campaign aiming to reach at least £225,000 to facilitate the move.