Centre forward Darren France was born in Hull but after a teenage trial at Sheffield United that came to nothing he made his way in the non-league scene for North Ferriby, Bridlington Trinity and Bridlington Town. In 1989 he moved to Belgium and signed for Mouscron, winning a lower league winners medal and finishing league top goalscorer.
Darren had returned to the North Ferriby United in the 1991 close season but in November 1991 Hull City manager Terry Dolan, seeking a striker to help maintain an unlikely Third Division promotion challenge, signed France up. He made his debut in a Boxing Day defeat to Bournemouth, in his third appearance he scored twice in a 2-2 draw at Birmingham. This brace was something of a false dawn as France’s next goal for City came three months later in a 2-3 defeat at Bury, a fourth goal for the season following in an April 1992 3-0 win at faraway Exeter. France was handed the centre forward’s shirt at the end of the 1991/92 season once loan striker John Pearson had left, but in the 1992/93 season France was used mostly as a substitute as loan players Gary Lund and Martin Carruthers featured up front for the Tigers. France left it until mid-April 1993 to open his scoring account for the season with a brace in a 3-0 win over Bournemouth, then scored his final City goal in his final City appearance at West Bromwich. Darren left the Tigers in the 1993 close season.
France spent the 1993/94 season finding a new club, after a short trial at Northampton Twon he signed for Doncaster Rovers, but Darren made just one appearance for Donny, ended the season on loan at Halifax Town then spent the summer of 1994 playing in Hong Kong. He returned to England a year later to play for Boston United and North Ferriby United, playing for the Villagers in the 1997 FA Vase Final. He ended his playing days with two seasons at Farsley Celtic and a season at Winterton Rangers.
After giving up playing France went into football coaching, following in the footsteps of his father Brian France. In 2007 Darren was appointed assistant manager at newly formed Scarborough Athletic, a role he maintained until November 2013, although he missed much of 2010 when he was recovering from bone cancer, then was absent for a three month spell in 2011 when he was unwell and unable to support manager Paul Olsson. Darren was assistant to his father Brian France between 2007 and 2010, ex-Tiger Paul Olsson between 2010 and 2011 and Rudy Funk between 2011 and 2013 when he left Scarborough for the last time. In February 2014 he joined the coaching staff at Ossett United but left a few months later.
Darren is the brother-in-law of Tigers legend Dean Windass. His father, and Deano’s father-in-law, Brian France died in 2012 after suffering a brain injury.
Date/Place of Birth: 8 August 1967, Hull
Hull City First Game: 26 December 1991, Bournemouth H (Division Three), 24 years, 140 days old
Hull City Final Game: 8 May 1993, West Bromwich Albion A (League Division 2), 25 years, 273 days old
Sheffield United (1983), North Ferriby United (1983-1985), Bridlington Trinity (1985-1987), Bridington Town (1987-1989), Mouscron (1989-1991), North Ferriby United (1991), Hull City (1991-1993), Northampton Town (1993), Doncaster Rovers (1993-1994), Halifax Town (1994, loan), Voicelink (1994-1995), Boston United (1995-1996), North Ferriby United (1996-2001), Farsley Celtic (2001-2003), Winterton Rangers (2003-2004)
Hull City Record
Career: 52 apps, 7 goalsDarren France
|1991/92||10 (7)||4||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1992/93||9 (17)||3||2 (0)||0||0 (2)||0||-||-||2 (1)||0|