Spraire Lads & Lasses in history
The club was originally formed in 1982 by club secretary and founder, Dave Scott. Dave set up the club so that his son, Mark, was able to play as part of a team. Dave chose to name the club after Mark's fantasy football team which was called "Spraire". There is no meaning to it and the correct pronunciation of it is "spray".
So Darlington Spraire Lads was formed and initially had wanted to compete in the Richmondshire League, but were told they couldn't enter as teams from Darlington usually thrash the other teams. This was fine and the club eventually joined the Teesside Junior Football Alliance (TJFA) League, where it still competes to this day.
In our first season as a team, Spraire Lads finished bottom which was to be expected for a new team. The team quickly learned from their first season and went on to win 3 consecutive league titles. In our first season, the strip colours where red and black purely because it was the only strip left in the shop. The following season saw the team change to yellow and black, again as it was the only colour available. Since then, our home kit colours have been yellow and black.
Spraire Lads eventually became Spraire Lads & Lasses in 1999 when the club achieved its community charter standard status. Since then we have had our boys teams compete in the TJFA and our girls teams compete in the Russell Foster League.
We have grown massively since our initial one team club in 1982. We now have a total of 17 teams ranging from under 7's all the way up to adult football. We estimate that we have had over 7000 children be a part of Spraire since 1982 and we currently have over 200 people playing for our teams.
The clubs spiritual home since 1982 has been South Park. Teams use this venue to train during the light nights of the year and all year round on Saturdays. During the darker months, we use the facilities at Hummersknott School where they have all weather pitches and floodlights. The team no longer play games at South Park and use facilities across Darlington to play our games at venues which include Hummersknott School and Gurney Pease School.
In 2017 the club celebrated its 35h anniversary. It was a proud moment for all attached to the club and the occasion was celebrated in style. As part of the anniversary, the committee decided to assess the history of the club and how we can continue to improve and provide the best playing facilities within Darlington. It was decided that South Park had served us well for 35 years, but now it was time to find a private venue in which we could continue to grow and use as our central hub.
The club was also awarded with the Community Charter Standard Club of the year award for 2016, which is a huge achievement when you consider how many clubs there are today.