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WEB GALLERY: Dartford fans tackle 125 years of highs and lows

PUBLISHED: 09:56 19 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:56 19 June 2013

Left to right: Gary Clark, Steve Irving (DFC Vice-chairman), John Anthony, Mike Brett-Smith (DFC Honarary Life President), Tony Brown.

Left to right: Gary Clark, Steve Irving (DFC Vice-chairman), John Anthony, Mike Brett-Smith (DFC Honarary Life President), Tony Brown.

Archant

It's said that 60 seconds is a long time in football. By that rationale, 125 years deserves some sort of recognition.

Dartford FC fact box

First fixture: Lost 3-1 against Erith at Brent Recreation Ground on October 6, 1888

1936: Reached FA Cup 3rd Round for the first time. Lose 3-2 to top-flight Derby County after leading 2-0

1974: Go to Wembley for the first and only time for the FA Trophy final. Lose 2-1 to Morecambe

1992: Club resigns from Southern League due to financial problems

Erith and Belvedere, Purfleet, Gravesend and Northfleet: Clubs Dartford groundshare with while homeless before they moved back to Dartford. They played their first game at Princes Park in 2006

Having been formed in 1888, Dartford FC have reached that landmark and club historian Tony Brown, along with four other loyal fans, have put together a book to mark the occasion.

He is part of the Dartford FC History Research Group along with Michael Brett-Smith, John Anthony, Gary Clark and club vice-chairman Steve Irvine.

Born and bred Dartfordian Tony has supported the club for more than 50 years, researching them since 1980.

The research group first put a book together in 1995 after the club fell on hard times.

Now the Darts are back in the Conference and play in the state-of-the-art Princes Park stadium, having been homeless for many years.

Tony, 62, said: “The position the club is in now is amazing compared with when we released the first edition.

“It’s definitely been compiled under happier circumstances.”

Tony expects the book to be published this autumn and admits it has been an arduous task putting it together over the years.

“It’s been a grind over more than 30 years to get it together, but it’s been totally worth it.

“It’s been great finding old photos and building the story of the club’s history from scratch. It deserves to be commemorated and now there will be a constant reminder.”

Tony has seen both the good times and the bad at the north Kent club but, despite the success of the last few years, the former driving instructor is adamant his best Dartford FC memory was the club’s only trip to Wembley in 1974.

Despite losing the FA Trophy final to Morecambe, he said: “It was the first time they’d ever done anything in my lifetime.

“Though the result was a bit of a downer, it’s something I’ll never forget.

“But I’m very excited about the future. Last season was brilliant, the ground is excellent and Tony [Burman, the manager] and the team are doing a brilliant job.

“There was a period of about 15 years where we were very nomadic, moving from ground to ground without a home in Dartford and the club had to reform in 1992 to not go out of business. Hopefully when the 150th anniversary comes about the book can be added to further.”

Tony is still looking for pictures. If you have any, contact 01322 224261 or email tonyjan@talknet.com.

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