Chris Tate may have been involved in some of Scarborough FC’s darker days, but the striker only has lucid memories of his spell at the McCain Stadium.
Tate, now 38, originally joined the club after his release from Sunderland in 1997 and he returned after a unsuccessful time at Halifax to complete a record of 23 goals in 83 games.
“Mick Wadsworth originally signed me for Scarborough in 1997 after I was released from Sunderland,” said Tate.
“Gary Bennett had set something up at the time so every player that left Sunderland got a trial at Scarborough.
“I went down there and played in a team of trialists against the first team. I scored five, Mick was impressed and he signed me.
“That season was great to be a part of because we made it to the play-offs, but ended up losing to Torquay over two legs.”
Tate finally cemented his place in the team in the following season, though Boro were less successful.
He may have top-scored with nine goals, but Boro suffered end-of-season heartache when a Jimmy Glass goal condemned them to relegation from the Football League.
Tate added: “Colin Addison gave me a chance when we were rock bottom of the league.
“We went on a little bit of a run after that and gave ourselves a chance.
“I can remember a game against Carlisle United on Bank Holiday Monday when I scored one with my left foot, one with my right and then a header.
“We also drew 1-1 at Boothferry Park against Hull City. I just couldn’t believe that 15,000 people were watching us play.
“It got to a point when we were a few points adrift at the bottom of the table and that seemed to take the pressure off us.
“We played with no worries and just tried different things.
“At the time we were also doing a few different celebrations when we scored.
“I can remember being on Soccer AM for that. I scored a few in that fluorescent green away kit, we did a few mad celebrations and we got hammered for it by Tim Lovejoy.
“I had a T-shirt made up that said ’Lovejoy, any time, any place’ and wore it for a game. I scored, but because we were losing quite heavily I didn’t think it was the time or the place.”
Boro picked up a point on the final day of the season against Peterborough in a sell-out at the McCain Stadium.
It seemed that they had done enough to secure safety, that was until Carlisle keeper Glass popped up in the last seconds and dealt a huge hammer blow.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” added Tate.
“We drew 1-1 with Peterborough and Darren Roberts hit the bar with 10 minutes to go.
“We were all sitting in the changing room watching the vidiprinter.
“Steve Ryder came on and said that there had been a goal at Carlisle and I think John Russell dropped the bottle of champagne he was holding in shock.
“The fans were unbelievable. They all stayed in the stadium and cheered us when we came back out, even though we had been relegated.
“We had a night out in Scarborough after that. There was no trouble at all, the fans knew that we had given it our all that season.”
Within a few months, Tate was on his way, signing for Halifax for £150,000.
He said: “The club were offered that much money for me and they agreed to let me go.
“It was a bind for me because I loved the place, but Scarborough needed the money.
“In the end they bought me back for £80,000 a few months later.
“During that season we were flying in the Conference, but we just didn’t have enough and Rushden went on to win it.
“They came in for me and supposedly offered £250,000.
“Scarborough said that they didn’t want me to go and I said that I wanted to stay, so that was that.
“When you look back, it was a great time for me and easily up there in the best times of my career.
“I played with some brilliant players like Steve Brodie, Gareth Williams and Darren Roberts and made some great friends.
“It was a family club, through and through, from the groundsman, to the people in the office, to the fans.
“That is why I love what Leicester have achieved in the Premier League at the moment. I love an underdog.
“I was in a car pool with Steve, Gareth, Paul Ellender and Gareth Stoker, we had some great times.
“Through Facebook I still try to keep in touch with as many of the lads as possible.”
Tate is now running his own painting and decorating business, though he does still have some involvement with football.
Much of his time away from his work is taken up with family, as his partner recently gave birth to their son called Hugo.
“Playing for Scarborough earned me a move to Leyton Orient and when I was there I scored the fastest goal in a play-off final and the fastest goal at the Millennium Stadium, which is something to tell Hugo about,” added Tate.
“I’ve been a painter and decorator for five years now and I also do football parties on a Saturday morning, which is a bit of training with the kids.
“When Hugo is old enough I’ll probably coach his team or something because that is something I wouldn’t mind getting involved in eventually.
“I still play five-a-side on a Monday night, though at my age it’s a bit harder now.
“I’m a bit like a tin man for a few days after, but I manage to bag a few - you never lose it.”