The Giant Killers
The Darreners were among the early northern pioneers of the professional game and their signing of Fergie Suter in 1877 is regarded as the first ever pro signing in world football, even though professionalism itslef remained against the laws of the game until midway through the folowing decade. Sadly for Darwen their heyday was probably already behind them by the time the Football League was formed, which meant they were passed over as potential original members in favour of Accrington. Nevertheless Darwen were elected to the top division in 1891, only to finish bottom and be relegated to the new division two. they won promotion at the first attempt only to go straight back down, the only team in history two have spent only two seasons in the top division and been relegated both times. In The Darwen story ended in 1899 when the club experienced one of the worst ever campaigns in league history and decided that it would be wise not to seek re-election. Within months the club was wound up, with a successor team immediately reformed. The new team continue to play in non league football, though not at the old team's Barley bank home.