20. A-Z of Football – Darlington (02/03) – Plentyful Twenty

Liam is back with another D episode as Darlington look to continue their push towards Division 2. 

Aaaaaand we are back. Our last update saw us go on a fantastic run that see’s us still in all competitions and top of Division 3. I am under no illusions how hard it will be to get an “E” job following this.

New player manager at Preston as Warren Barton takes charge

While Hull hire a Welsh legend

I now have 2 players in the England U21 setup, as Geoff Blackstone is now called up alongside the regular Matty Agiadis. Our second leg against West Brom is up next

Legg & Lee proving themselves once again, and it a walk in the park victory against West Brom. We get…

Old Trafford here we come! This was worth a try…

Northampton up next, who are in 3rd place. Tough game, we need to win this one. Gattuso moves back to CDM in the absence of Popescu and Hockaday comes in for that CM slot.

Damn it. down to 2nd but again we have a game in hand against Grimsby. I get a job offer out of nowhere

Not for at least 20 years I’m afraid! Same to these guys

Wrexham away up next and of course, missing a couple of players with England U21 playing.

The goals have dried up a little bit but I am not worrying just yet. The results will come (I hope!) Let us see if we can turn it around against Bradford. Agiadis is back, so we have a better chance

They are back in business. Agiadis has to withdraw with a minor injury, and Boselli picks one up too, but we have cover and it’s another great 3 points. The injuries aren’t too bad, 1 week and 2 weeks respectively.


no way

He is at Roma and wanted £10k a week. He rejected my £900 a week. Ah well! Cullen leaves on loan to Hearts, and Roy Hodgson is back in management. Good appointment for both parties

Anyway, we move on to the next game. Away at Preston in the league.

Tough game, but again we get the W. Nathan Lee with another 2 goals and MOM, top boy. We take that into our next game, again away, at Notts County. I feel confident, the confidence that we can win every game.

Betterton with an early injury but Bettney makes his debut, and he does it find. A clean sheet, 4 goals and another 3 points. The injuries unfortunately are building up however, I just hope that doesn’t halt our progress. We will see when we take on Oldham

Where would we be without Nathan Lee? He picks up his 19th and 20th goals in 19 games (11 assists also) and carry us through once more. Grimsby lose and we take top spot with a game in hand too. Now is our real test. Away to Manchester United in the League Cup 3rd round. Can we upset the Red Devils?

Of course not, but a 3-0 defeat could be a lot worse. Allan Bak-Jensen pulls out a hat-trick and we lose out in the 3rd round. Oh well, bigger fish to fry!

Oh, manager of the month? Ok

We also pick up Maher who will be a good player at CAM, I may well start him in the next game to see what can happen.

Maher will make his debut against Wycombe. It seems like every game is away from home right now, but as long as we pick up the wins, then all good.

Goalscoring debut for Stephen Maher aswell, great start for the Irish don. Another game we again dominate. We are flying right now! Buzzing. Also, Gattuso is back from injury to strengthen us even more. He returns away (AGAIN) to Blackpool in the Windscreen Shield. Difficult test as Blackpool are in Division 2.

Our left wing back Baird with the win, with the Blackpool goalkeeper picking up MOM. They are 8th in Division 2 also. Next up is another Division 2, Southampton. Guess what, we are away….Again.

Out of the FA Cup aswell. That is fine though, the only competitions we are in are ones that we can still win, which is good news. Next game, Tranmere….AWAY! What the hell is this?

Another fantastic result, cheeky 3-1 win. The good news is the goals are coming all over the place. Even without the 2 players in the England U21 squad, we pull on through. Jason Legg will be missing next game though, as we are at home (Finally!) against Rochdale.

Tidy win if not unconvincing, but again, the form is fantastic right now. Grimsby lose aswell so we are 6 points clear again. Moves are being made up the top

Oxford up next. Away? Of course.Full strength team available, so lets hope the form continues.

Banging them in guys, great result at The Manor Ground and a lot more momentum as we come towards the Christmas period. Gimsby lose at home to Tranmere so we are now 9 points clear! I get the message that Jason Legg’s 14 assists this season is a new record…Its November. This manager has to move on

Rochdale in the Windscreen Shield 2nd round. Guess what, we are away.

Another easy victory and we are through to the next round, Another manager on the move, and perhaps the start of another managerial merry-go-round.


This is a very good offer, and if I was staying at Darlington, I’d probably take it. However, he is key to my current run and someone I want to keep.



Big ‘Arry is on the move however, swapping Bradford for Kidderminster

Back to business however, and WBA visit the Feethams Ground. A tough game this one.

Hard fought game but we pick up the 3 points to extend our lead at the top to 12 points, as Grimsby lose again!

I have also put in a bid for a particular AMC who I think will push us to the next level, regardless of his age. Kevin Keegan moves to London

Welcome a current South American international…

Quite a coup for little Darlington. Maher unfortunately drops to the bench to make way for Gus. He will make is debut away at Macclesfield

A shock defeat in which Gus was our best player. It is just a bump in the road as Grimsby pick up the win to reduce our lead to 9 points. Sunderland appoint Brighton’s manager

And in a surprise move, Newcastle hire the former Sunderland manager

Nope, you’re in my past

Chesterfield up next, and of course it is away at The Recreation Ground. Let’s just hope we can turn it around after our last match.

Fantastic result, and Nathan Lee back on top form. Good to see Gus pick up his first goal for the club aswell. Straight into the next game, and we are at home this time to Leyton Orient. Surely another 3 points after that fantastic result.

Tight match and Blackstone picks up MOM from CB, but it is Gus and Nathan Lee to the rescue once more. Poyet has really hit the ground running, he is of course way too good for this division! However, Jason Legg is really a team player. Look at those domestic stats

Brighton then go for Southamptons manager

Southend away next, and a very winnable game

Nathan Lee with another hat trick, and Legg with 1 himself. This is fantastic from those 2, I couldn’t ask for better strikers (Maybe Knutsen). West Brom are now in 2nd place but we are 10 points clear right now. Neville Southall is on the move

And that is where we end this update, going into the year 2003. Here is the league table and some data about my players! Adios until next time!

Liam can be found on Twitter under his new username of @Hatchet_26

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