MORE than a century of history came to an end as bulldozers moved in to begin the demolition of Scarborough FC’s former McCain Stadium.
The once-proud ground, which has hosted football superstars such as Frank Lampard and John Terry, has fallen into a state of disrepair and been subjected to regular vandalism since Scarborough FC went out of business in 2007.
The work started yesterday, just days after Scarborough councillors approved the method of demolition at the derelict stadium in Seamer Road. It is expected to take four weeks to complete.
Bobby Moore, who played 40 times for Scarborough in the late 1950s and early 1960s and now lives directly behind the Edgehill Road end of the stadium, where the sport was first played back in 1898, said: “It’s a sad day. It had a proud history. When I see it now I still say ‘That’s where I scored that goal’ or ‘That’s where so-and-so played’.
“It will take a lot of memories with it – not just for me but for an awful lot of Scarborough people. They used to turn up to that little ground rain, snow or blow. We had some good players and it was a nice crowd – especially on Boxing Day.
“Now it’s going I hope they build affordable housing there for young people.”
Two of the stands will be given a new lease of life at the home of Featherstone Rovers, who are currently top of the table in rugby league’s second tier and are funding the project.
Project officer Paul Coventry, a former Rovers player, director and chairman, said they wanted to get the work finished before the weather got worse.
He said: “It looks as though it has been a good facility over the years. I’ve spoken to some people and they are not happy that it couldn’t be saved.
“It’s sad in a way but I am happy that it’s going to be re-used at Featherstone.”
But it could be as long as 12 months before the stands are rebuilt at the West Yorkshire ground, which was originally built in the 1920s, because the club still needs to submit a planning application for the work.
Mr Coventry said: “It’s a question of updating our stadium. We’ve won the league twice and if we have aspirations of going into Super League the ground needs to improve.”
The Seamer Road site has previously been targeted by trespassers who were breaking into the site to dig up the old bottles.
Matt Berry, from contractors Kestrel Demolition, said: “One of the things we have to do is conserve the bottles for the council. They’ve got their own bottle diggers coming to take them away.
“We’ve got 24-hour security to stop trespassers coming onto the site while we are working. The biggest danger of the site was a bottle digger digging underneath the site and getting trapped.”
The project includes the complete demolition and clearance of the ground – including four stands and the club house.
Chris Bourne, Scarborough Council’s projects manager, said: “Although Featherstone Rovers is responsible for all aspects of this project including supervision and health and safety, we will also be visiting the site regularly to ensure the club is complying with its legal agreement with the council and the approved demolition process.”
Scarborough Council, which bought the stadium in 2008 for £1.335 million, plans to build a sports village and 2,000-capacity football stadium on the Weaponness Valley coach park, to open in 2014.
The land is expected to be used for housing as part of plans to build 150 new homes in the town, but the redevelopment will not take place until such a time that the development of the Weaponness site has been completed.
*Watch a video of the demolition at www.scarborougheveningnews.co.uk