Darlington Mowden Park: Rugby team buy The Arena

Darlington Mowden Park have bought the town's former football Arena and aim to bring it back into use early next year.

The club have also bought 17 acres of adjoining land on which they intend to develop a multi-sports facility.

The 25,000-seater Arena has not been used since Darlington Football Club played their final fixture before effectively going out of business in April 2012.

The stadium's capacity is restricted to 10,000 because of access issues.

A spokesman for Mowden Park RFC said talks were already taking place with the Rugby Football Union about the possibility of staging international fixtures at The Arena.

England women's captain Katy McLean represents Mowden Park, whose female team play in the RFU Premiership.

The club are understood to have paid around £2m for The Arena. They recently sold their ground at Yiewsley Drive to a house-building company for £6m.

The Arena has acquired the reputation of being a white elephant since being built by then owner of Darlington FC George Reynolds in 2003.

It has had a number of owners since then but has never attracted large enough crowds to meet its running costs.