Williams playing for Sunderland in Jody Craddock's testimonial match in 2014
|Full name||Darren Williams|
|Date of birth||28 April 1977|
|Place of birth||Middlesbrough, England|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Whitby Town (player-manager)|
|2004||→ Cardiff City (loan)||13||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Williams began his career at York City, but made his name at Sunderland, for whom he signed in 1996. He moved to Cardiff City in 2004, then on Hartlepool United in 2005. He was released by Hartlepool in 2007, and played for Bradford City during the 2007–08 season. He went on to play with Dundee, Gateshead and Gainsborough Trinity before joining Whitby.
Born in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, Williams played for Cleveland and North Yorkshire Boys and Marton Boys before joining the York City youth system in July 1993, scoring 16 goals for the Intermediate side in the 1993–94 season. He made his first team debut as a substitute in a 4–0 victory over Blackpool on 26 December 1994, which was his only appearance of the 1994–95 season. Due to an injury to Steve Bushell he started the 1995–96 season as a first team regular, before being dropped and finishing the season with 27 appearances in all competitions, before handing in a transfer request. He played when they beat Manchester United 3–0 at Old Trafford in the League Cup in 1995.
The highlight of his career so far was probably when he scored the winning goal for Sunderland at Middlesbrough, his hometown club, in 1997, effectively relegating the Teessiders. Williams was also a part of the 1998 First Division Play-Off defeat at Wembley, in which Sunderland were beaten by Charlton Athletic 7-6 on Penalties after what has once recognised as the best Play Off Final which was an 8-goal thriller ending 4-4 after extra time, this game would go on to be the greatest play-off game at the old Wembley Stadium.
Williams joined Cardiff City on a month-long loan in September 2004, with a view to a permanent move if he impressed. He played in all five of Cardiff's games during his initial loan period and his stay was extended for another two months. After he was told by Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy his contract would not be extended, Williams made his move to Ninian Park permanent in December 2004 on a free transfer.
Williams was offered a new contract by Cardiff manager Lennie Lawrence, but when he was replaced by Dave Jones, the offer was withdrawn. Instead he returned to the north-east to join League One side Hartlepool United. While at Hartlepool, Williams played the majority of the first team's games due to the injury of captain Micky Barron, but when Barron returned he was moved to the bench. The team was relegated in his first season at Hartlepool, but helped them earn instant promotion back to League One in 2006–07 as they missed out on the title on the last day of the season.
He was released by Hartlepool in May 2007 and joined Bradford City in July 2007. He was one of six new players who made their debut for City on the opening day of the 2007–08 in a 1–1 draw with Macclesfield Town. Williams lost his place at right back to loan signing Ben Starosta, who replaced Williams at half-time in a game against Wrexham in January 2008. Williams missed seven games until he won his place back against Stockport County when Starosta fell ill. On 29 April 2008, Williams was deemed to be surplus to requirements at Valley Parade and was released by manager Stuart McCall along with 13 other Bradford players.
Williams joined Scottish Football League First Division side Dundee, where his former Sunderland teammate Alex Rae was manager, on trial in July 2008 and played for them in their opening game of the 2008–09 season as they defeated Ross County 2–1. Following another one-goal victory, Williams signed a one-year contract with Dundee. At the end of the 2008–09 season he was told he was free to look for another club by manager Jocky Scott.
Williams was to join Conference National team Gateshead on 28 August 2009, but the deal was called off as he still had hopes of a return to the professional ranks and would have been unable to do so until January, even if joining Gateshead on a non-contract basis. He has since joined the Conference National outfit, penning a deal on 26 September 2009. Williams made his debut the same day in the 1-0 home defeat against Oxford United. Williams was released by Gateshead on 16 February 2010.
He joined Conference North team Gainsborough Trinity on a contract until the end of the 2009–10 season on 12 March. Williams was released in the summer of 2010, only to be re-signed in September. He eventually departed the club for a second time in May 2011.
He joined Whitby Town in August 2011. He made his first appearance for the club on 13 August which the club drew 1-1 with Chasetown F.C.. On 26 October 2011 he succeeded Tommy Cassidy and became player manager of Whitby Town.
Style of play
He is a utility defender who can also play defensive midfield.
- Hugman, Barry J. (2005). The PFA Premier & Football League Players' Records 1946-2005. Queen Anne Press. p. 660. ISBN 1-85291-665-6.
- Jarred, Martin; Windross, Dave (1997). Citizens and Minstermen, A Who's Who of York City FC 1922-1997. Citizen Publications. p. 113. ISBN 0-9531005-0-2.
- Batters, Dave (2008). York City The Complete Record. The Breedon Books Publishing Company Limited. pp. 384–385. ISBN 978-1-85983-633-0.
- Batters. York City The Complete Record. pp. 386–387.
- "Cardiff seal Williams deal". BBC Sport. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- "Williams extends Cardiff stay". BBC Sport. 21 October 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- "Williams in talks with Bluebirds". BBC Sport. 7 December 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- "Williams makes Bluebirds switch". BBC Sport. 10 December 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- "Hartlepool complete Williams deal". BBC Sport. 20 July 2005. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- "Hartlepool 1-2 Bristol Rovers". BBC Sport. 5 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- "Pools boss Wilson swings his axe". BBC Sport. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
- "Williams signs Bantams contract". BBC Sport. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
- Parker, Simon (12 August 2007). "Let's hear it for the fans". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- "Bradford 1-1 Macclesfield". BBC Sport. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Parker, Simon (10 March 2008). "Williams out to prove his staying power". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- Parker, Simon (29 April 2008). "Johnson one of 13 axed by City". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Fraser, Alasdair (3 August 2008). "Dundee 2-1 Ross County". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- "Dundee clinch signing of Williams". BBC Sport. 10 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- Bowron, Jeff (28 August 2009). "Gateshead sign former Sunderland defender". Gateshead F.C. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- "U turn on Williams signing". Gateshead F.C. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- "Darren Williams signs for Gateshead". Gateshead F.C. 26 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- Bowron, Jeff (28 September 2009). "Former Premier League star Williams makes Gateshead debut". Gateshead F.C. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Bowron, Jeff (16 February 2010). "Parkinson IN / Williams OUT". Gateshead F.C. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
- "Breaking news: Little brings in defensive duo". Lincolnshire Echo. 2010-03-12. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
- "Faichney earns point for new-look Whitby Town". Whitby Gazette. 2011-08-13. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
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