FA Cup Semi-Finalists Facing Winding Up Order

Their Victorian forebears must be turning in their graves. Darwen Football Club, FA Cup Semi-Finalists in 1881 and members of the Football League from 1891 until 1899, are on the point of bankruptcy this weekend. The story of how they came to be in this predicament is an almost predictably complex story of financial skulduggery and mutual internecine loathing. Equally predictable is the fact that the only people that will suffer as a result of this bickering are the clubs few supporters. Perhaps the most depressing thing about this story, however, is the amount of money concerned. Darwen Football Club, founded in 1870, who were present and correct during a time in which the entire game of football was a white hot crucible of innovation and change, may go to the wall over a bill for… £12,000. It seems difficult to believe that a club now playing in the North West Counties League could have revolutionised the game of football forever, but it happened. However, on New Years Day 1878, Darwen played a match that would change the face of football forever. The match that they played against Partick Thistle passed off without major incident, but after the match, two Partick players, Fergus Suter and James Love, wrote to them stating how impressed they had been with the town. The club strenuously denied that the two players were paid,...

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