The two clubs in the spotlight in the popular new Netflix production The English Game are facing contrasting fortunes after the coronavirus shut down football.
Old Etonians, long-standing members of the all-amateur Arthurian League, are preparing to celebrate their 50th anniversary next year.
Yet Darwen, now with the prefix AFC after being reformed in 2009, are again facing an uncertain future with the game in lockdown.
The North West Counties Football League’s Salmoners run two senior teams, two ladies teams, a veterans team, youth team and ten boys and girls sides.
As reported in The Non-:League Paper this week, with no income coming in they are asking parents if they can continue to pay their subs until the crisis is over.
The club rely on bookings for their 3G pitch and the redeveloped Salmoners Lounge at their Anchor Ground to boost gate receipts.
AFC Darwen chair Sarah Hindle told The NLP’s Ken Gaunt: “With no football and the ground closes, it will massively impact financially on us.
“It is very worrying and testing times. I have no idea if we we will be able to pay the bills. The one good thing is our sponsors are staying with us.”
Old Etonians lifted the FA Cup for a second time in 1879 after defeating Darwen in the quarter-final second leg replay.
Netflix were determined to create the right atmosphere as Old Etonians captain George Tidbury said: “They borrowed a bunch of our players to better understand how field game tactics worked back in the day so we could show the actors involved.”
Old Etonians run three Saturday teams and and Tidman added: “The main aim is to have a friendly club where everyone enjoys their football.
“There are about 150 players on our mailing list, so we have great competition for places. The league ruie is only those who went to the school can play for the club.”
Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper this week for all the latest news in one place on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on society and football’s fightback.
In shops on Sundays and Mondays, it’s always available as a pound-busting digital edition and full replica of the printed paper. Save cash on single issues, even more on longer deals and the pages still rustle too!
Images courtesy of Netflix.com