In the latest in our series on the board members of the DFCSG, we spoke to Lynn Jasper.
How long have you been following the club?
I started supporting Darlington towards the end of the 1965/1966 season and I remember well the last two home games against Torquay and Colchester. There was huge excitement as we were promoted but we narrowly missed out on being Champions that year. The atmosphere was amazing and the celebrations were brilliant. I was hooked!
Who have been your favourite players over the years?
There have been lots of great players over the years. Alan Sproates was one of my favourites in the early days. Alan was a gifted midfielder and always came home from the USA after he retired to attend special functions at the club. He has sadly passed away now. Other favourites have to be some of our brilliant goal scorers, Alan Walsh, Robbie Blake, Robbie Painter and Marco Gabbiadini to name but a few who have all graced the Darlington shirt. We’ve had our fair share of brilliant goalkeepers too through the years including Fred Barber, Andy Collett and one for the future Aynsley Pears. I think a special mention must also go to Stephen Thompson who has proved himself through the Leagues and is currently on fire!
What are your favourite away grounds?
I think Bishop Auckland has a special place in my heart as we had such happy memories there. There was a great atmosphere at the ground and it was a friendly place to be. Also in Non- League Matlock was a lovely, friendly, hospitable club with good facilities.
From the Football League days which trips do you miss the most?
I always looked forward to going to Hartlepool when we won and remember enjoying visits to the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds for exciting cup games on the football special trains. I can honestly say I didn’t look forward to Torquay and Brighton and those early morning starts!!
What have been your best memories as a fan?
There have been lots of good memories. Obviously the trips to Wembley were exciting especially the last one when we won in such amazing circumstances. I really enjoyed the semi – final play off matches in 1996 against Hereford Utd .What a brilliant night at Feethams that was in the second leg and I remember the scenes in the Cricket Club afterwards when the players came in one by one to huge cheers. More recently the play-off game against Spennymoor will live long in the memory and that wonderful night at Whitby.
My overriding memories were matches at Feethams, our spiritual home which will never be replaced in my mind.
What have been the moments you would prefer to forget?
The last match in the league in the 1988-89 season when we lost at Scunthorpe. I can remember shedding many tears that day along with a few hundred others. Also the match away at Barrow in January 2012 was a very sad day with more tears from fans and players alike.
I think moving from Feethams and the administrations were the real low points. When we thought there wasn’t going to be a Darlington Football Club anymore after the last administration was heartbreaking but as they say every cloud has a silver lining and the promotions through the leagues over the past five years has been a great journey for us all.
What is your involvement with the Supporters Group?
I am into my second year with the Supporters Group and my main roles are linked between the Football Club and the Supporters Group. I manage Quaker Retail and the online shop and help with the administration of Season Tickets and other initiatives. I also am involved in the match day work stream where we are looking to improve the match day experience for our fans.
Where do you envisage the club being in five to ten years’ time?
In an ideal world I would love to see the club financially secure and packing in the crowds and pushing towards the top of whichever league we are in.
Ultimately, but maybe not in this time frame, I would love for us to have our own ground so we can control our own finances and destiny.