Historic football club Horden CW moving to Darlington to become reserve side

Horden Colliery Welfare played at Horden Welfare Park for 108 years before being forced to leave this year.
Horden Colliery Welfare played at Horden Welfare Park for 108 years before being forced to leave this year.
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A historic football club is set to change its name and move more than 30 miles after being forced to leave its home of more than a century.

Horden Colliery Welfare FC, of the Wearside League, was formed 108 years ago.

If we had carried on as Horden, the club would have folded financially by Christmas

Norman Stephens

However, the club will now be known as Darlington 1883 Reserves, eight months after losing a court case with Horden Parish Council which forced it out of its former Horden Welfare Park home.

Over recent months, Horden have been playing at Grayfields, in Hartlepool, but they will now move to Darlington and operate under the National League North club’s name.

Norman Stephens, who has been Horden’s chairman for 17 years and will continue in that role with Darlington Reserves, has said the club’s financial situation left no other alternatives.

He said: “Darlington have thrown us a lifeline and allowed us to continue.

“If we had carried on as Horden, the club would have folded financially by Christmas, because we were losing so much money every game.

“We had no ground sponsorships because of losing the Welfare, and we also lost the fans through the gate, the kitchen money, profits from the programme and more advertising.

“It cost us thousands of pounds.

“This name change and move to Darlington allows us to continue, and it’s something that had to be done.”

The club will play its home games at Eastbourne Sports Complex, in Darlington.

Mr Stephens says the name change was ratified with Durham FA on Monday, and that this Saturday’s game against Prudhoe Town will take place at Grayfields, before a planned first match in Darlington a week later, against Annfield Plain.

He added: “We are also appealing against the result of the court case with the parish council, and have been granted an oral appeal in London, which will be heard next May.

“We’ve had to do what we’ve done for financial reasons.

“Darlington have been absolutely brilliant with us, and we’re excited to link up with them.

“We’ve done this for the benefit of the football club and to keep it going.”