Football chairman’s plea to Scarborough ahead of historic return

Scarborough is being urged to unite for the homecoming of the town's football club.
Scarborough is being urged to unite for the homecoming of the town's football club.

All of Scarborough is being urged to paint the town red and white for the historic homecoming of the town’s football club.

The year of 2007 saw the darkest days in the town’s football history when Scarborough FC was wound up with debts of £2.5million.

The McCain Stadium

The McCain Stadium

Now the replacement trust-run club, Scarborough Athletic, is preparing to move into a new 2,000-capacity stadium after spending the past decade playing home games 18 miles down the coast in Bridlington.

Chairman Dave Holland is delighted the Boro will finally return to Scarborough and is counting on families to support the club’s vision.

“When the lights went out in 2007, it really hit the town hard,” the 59-year-old said.

“It was a way of life for so many people. But here we are now 10 years later on the verge of coming home and it feels marvellous.

The old club gates have been retained to use at the new stadium.

The old club gates have been retained to use at the new stadium.

“It is going to be a fantastic facility for the town. Scarborough football has the potential to be huge but we need the town to get behind us for this to really be a success.”

The sale of the former McCain Stadium in Seamer Road helped the borough council fund the leisure village, featuring a 25-metre swimming pool, sports hall and fitness suites, on top of the stadium, while Sport England has pledged a massive £17 million into the development.

Mr Holland said: “The club will have a contract to become the prime user of the stadium for 10 years with a rolling option. The Sport England funding is the second biggest grant that they have ever distributed which speaks volumes at the level of project we have on our hands.”

Everyone Active will be the operator of the ground, who also have a partnership with Premier League big boys Middlesbrough.

The chairman paid tribute to the “remarkable” group of a few hundred fans who have racked up the miles continuing to attend matches home and away.

One man is Derek Spence who travels to games from his home in Aberdeen, while others come as far as Derby for home and away games.

Mr Holland added: “We have the local people who have stayed with us and some new blood. Also the exiles - Scarborough has a remarkable amount of people who have moved out of town and still go to games. Some of these guys are there every game and it is fantastic.”

Club bosses are hopeful the new stadium will be completed in mid-May with the potential of playing their first match later that month, though nothing has been decided at this stage.

Mr Holland underlined that Scarborough football is “indebted to Bridlington” following their hospitality over the past decade.

He said: “Peter Smurthwaite and his team have been fantastic. Without them, we wouldn’t have a club. We will never forget what they did for us.”

Scarborough Football Club in the past enjoyed glory days against the likes of Coventry, Arsenal and Chelsea, while also spending a handful of years at the game’s top table, the Football League.

With Scarborough currently lying in fifth place in Evo Stik North, the club are hoping for an end-of-season push to earn promotion and add to the homecoming celebrations.

“If people came back and supported us now to give us that boost then we would be coming home as champions,” Mr Holland added. “We would then be in the Evo-Stik Premier Division. The old club, when it went bust, if it had continued would have been at that level. We will only ever be as good as the support of the town.”