Controversial former football club owner dies

George Reynolds had dreams of taking Darlington FC to the Premier League with a 25,000-seat stadium.

Controversial former football club owner dies

A controversial former football club owner who was once a safe-cracker has died.

Businessman George Reynolds took over Darlington FC in 1999 and set about building the club a 25,000-seat stadium with the dream of becoming a Premier League side.

But he was jailed for tax evasion in 2005 and Darlington eventually dropped out of the league and has since reformed as a fan-owned club.

Born in Sunderland in 1936, Reynolds had a tough childhood and got involved in crime, and served a series of jail terms, including for safe-cracking.

Later in life he made his fortune from business, including a successful kitchen surface factory in County Durham which in 2000 saw him placed 112th in the Sunday Times Rich List.

Mr Reynolds was a controversial figure, and was known to confront his critics personally.

Then Darlington chairman George Reynolds celebrates after a win over Hartlepool (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Then Darlington chairman George Reynolds celebrates after a win over Hartlepool (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“There are those who enjoyed his company, found him entertaining, and admired him for his self-belief, determination, and achievements in business.

“However, there is also no hiding from the fact that he was a criminal who resorted to bullying when he didn’t get his own way.”

Broadcaster Paul “Goffy” Gough was a friend of the businessman and paid tribute on Facebook.

He wrote: “Those days with George on Century Radio were the best fun ever.

“I have also loved our lengthy chats in recent weeks via the phone.

“Rest in peace.”

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