The club was saddened to learn of the death of former player Tommy Darling, who passed away at the Royal Infirmary on 31 July 2018, at the venerable age of 91.
A wiry and tenacious left-back, Tommy was mainly a reserve during his time at Tynecastle, but he was always cheerful and positive, and always ready to cover the absence of the regular left-back, Tom Mackenzie. Unfortunately, for Tommy, the solid consistency of Mackenzie restricted him to only four competitive games in the senior side, all during season 1948-49.
Thomas Bennett Darling was born on 29 April 1927 at Dean Park, Newtongrange where his father was employed as a coal miner. He subsequently followed his father into the industry and was a colliery engineer during his time with Hearts. At football, Tommy came to the fore with Dalkeith Thistle where his resolute defending earned caps for Junior Scotland. He was provisionally signed by Hearts in January 1948 and then called-up May that year, after Dalkeith Thistle were out of contention for the main junior prizes.
While Tommy only played two League and two League Cup games for Hearts’ senior side, he provided important cover, and his time in the reserves was not without success. He assisted the “B” team to win the East of Scotland League and the King Cup in 1949-50 and then helped the Reserves to win the Second XI Cup and the “C” Division Championship in 1950-51.
Tommy was active in organising the players’ social activities his pleasant personality was missed after the defender was released by Hearts at the end of April 1952. He signed for Cowdenbeath in May that year and played two seasons in Division Two. He eventually played for his home-town side, Newtongrange Star and later lived in Gorebridge where he still liked to keep fit. Indeed, he was reported to be playing five-a-side football at the age of 80.
The club would like to extend its sincere condolences to Tommy's family and friends.
By David Speed