Gary Brown says that he is “absolutely gutted” to leave the club after six years — and says that he’ll always be a big Darlo fan.
Gary and the club announced the news at the presentation night, bringing down the curtain on 186 appearances and 19 goals in two spells.
Gary has played in several positions – even in goal once at Lancaster City in the 2014-15 season, memorably going up for a last minute corner – and as skipper lifted the Northern League championship trophy and the EvoStik First Division North play off winners’ trophy, following it up with an EvoStik League winner’s medal in 2015-16. He was even joint caretaker manager with Phil Turnbull for a spell this season after Martin Gray left and before Tommy Wright was appointed.
“I’ve had some great times over the years – this club has been my life for six years,” he said. “I work in the South Durham and Darlington area, and I’m always bumping into Darlington fans. I know that I have played for a massive club.
“I’ve been involved in three promotions in that time, so I’ve been quite fortunate. Some people don’t even get one.
“Alan White, remember, hadn’t experienced a promotion until we won the EvoStik League play offs, and he’d played for many years in the Football League before then. So for me to get three is quite something, and medals that I’ll always treasure.
“I’ll always remember the first one. When we won the Northern League, Brian Atkinson told me just before the presentations to take it all in. It was unbelievable seeing all the fans on the pitch that day when we were presented with the Trophy.
(Here are those celebrations)
“In some ways the day passed by quickly, so for the second one, we decided to milk the EvoStik League championship when we won at Whitby. I think the lads and I ran more yards celebrating with the fans than we did running around in the game that night! We wanted to stay on the pitch as long as we could in the celebrations.”
(And that’s a good excuse to play this again! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvTzmk7k8Lg
(Here’s Gary’s last goal for the club against Spennymoor in August last year)
He admits that the parting of the ways has prompted a few tears.
“I’m devastated. I know now how lads feel at other clubs when they are released, I can relate to that now.
“I’ll be a fan for life though, I have been since the age of 12. I’m so very pleased that I signed back in the summer of 2012, and came back again in 2015.
“I’ll miss everyone, but I’ve got to move on now and think about what to do next.”
Everyone at Darlington FC would like to wish Gary all the best in the future, and he will always be welcome.