As we continue our look around the 2016/17 National League North, our journey brings us to Darlington 1883.\r\n\r\nFormed from the ashes of Darlington Football Club in 2012, the inception of Darlington 1883 was not a straightforward one.\r\n\r\nDarlington 1883 applied to join the Northern League as a new club, after the collapse of Darlington F.C.\r\n\r\nUnder FA regulations, new clubs are required to join with a different name from the club that they are replacing, and so the wish of the club to register under the name Darlington F.C. was not allowed.\r\n\r\nA deadline imposed by the FA meant the board was unable to wait for the results of a poll of supporters, so the name Darlington 1883 (with no “F.C.” suffix) was chosen.\r\n\r\nLike ourselves, Darlington 1883 have played their home matches away from their spiritual home, having groundshared predominantly with Bishop Auckland FC.\r\n\r\nHowever, this season will see Darlo play their matches back in the town of Darlington as they have signed an agreement with Darlington RFC to relocate to Blackwell Meadows to ensure promotion to the National League North could be accepted.\r\n\r\nLeading Darlo into their first season in the National League North will be Martin Gray, who twice managed the previous incarnation of the club on a caretaker basis.\r\n\r\nSome Tigers fans may remember Gray who has experience with Sunderland from 1990-1996 when he was transferred for £100,000 to Oxford United. Gray finished his playing career at Darlington in 2001 to focus on being reserve and youth team coach on a full-time basis.\r\n\r\nFollowing a brief spell as caretaker manager of Oldham Athletic, Gray returned to become the first and, so far, only manager of Darlington 1883.\r\n\r\nLeading the line for the Quakers this season will be towering striker Mark Beck, who joined up with the squad following his release from League Two Yeovil Town in the summer.\r\n\r\nBeck has bags of experience behind him, having also played for Carlisle United and Wrexham and will undoubtedly be a key player in Martin Gray’s side this season.\r\n\r\nWith Darlington 1883 being a relatively new club, it is unsurprising to hear that the meeting between the two sides at Whaddon Road on Sunday 21 August will be the first ever.\r\n\r\nSomewhat surprisingly though, the Tigers never faced the previous incarnation of the club and so we look forward to the first meeting between the two clubs this season.

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