OPINION: Scarborough must get behind Boro

Reporter Martin Dowey in the gym area
Reporter Martin Dowey in the gym area

When Scarborough FC kicked the last ball in their 1-1 draw against Leigh Genesis on April 27 of 2007, nobody honestly knew what would come next.

And nobody predicted how bad it would get for football in the town.

Since then it has been a long path back for phoenix club Scarborough Athletic, who initially settled in a number of rungs below at NCEL Division One level.

On a personal note, it was something of an eye-opener, going from covering a Scarborough team playing against Chelsea to one visiting Worsborough Bridge.

But the truth of the matter is that having no football club in Scarborough for such a long period has done nigh-on irreparable damage.

A number of hardy souls have regularly made the trek down the east coast to watch Boro games hosted by generous landlords Bridlington Town.

But, as was always going to happen, the crowds have gone from touching 500 and 600 in their opening season, to an average of around 320 this term.

There was one game last season though that just showed what it could be like once again.

In what had been a drab campaign, Boro made their way to tackle Marine at Farsley’s Throstles Nest on a Friday night in the final of the Doodson Sport Trophy.

Sitting in the press box for that game was like stepping back in time to the days of the infamous Shed at the McCain Stadium.

The noise the fans created and the passion from the supporters just demonstrated what it could be like once again.

There is still a lot to do at the new Weaponness Leisure Village, but it is now clear to see that this is happening.

But the club and the town now need to meet head on.

I still regularly get asked if Boro are coming home, which is strange because the new sports facility is now taking shape.

Since I’ve been doing this job I have done stories with countless chairmen, who asked: “Does the town want a football club?”

From May it will be the town’s chance to prove that it wants exactly that.

It has always been a challenge to get the fans through the gates, unless it is a big game.

There are new generations since Scarborough last played a competitive game in Scarborough a decade ago.

Many of these have got out of the habit, or have never been in the habit, of walking down to the ground to watch a game on a Saturday afternoon.

It is now up to Scarborough Athletic to make sure these old ways are restored.