Daniel Gregory’s weekly column: High time Scarborough had better football facilities

Olivers Mount pitches frozen no games played Picture Richard Ponter 120692.
Olivers Mount pitches frozen no games played Picture Richard Ponter 120692.

When Alec Coulson and Kev David take their representative side to Bootham Cresent for their clash against a York League XI, they will start at a disadvantage before the whistle is even blown.

As the big freeze of the last two weeks has only served to highlight, Scarborough has no quality facilities for playing football on.

For a town that has six senior football leagues, three representative sides playing elsewhere in the region and countless junior and ladies leagues, the facilities that Scarborough has to offer can be summed up as a bit of an embarrassment.

Two astroturf pitches, one of which is falling to pieces, is simply not good enough for bringing on the town’s young footballers - whether or not they are going to make it to the highest level.

Scarborough has always been a town out on a limb from the footballing world. A bit out of the way of anywhere significant in the footballing world.

But how can we expect any of the town’s youngsters to ever make it anywhere in the game if the council don’t put any funding into the town’s sporting facilities?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For me, talk of putting a solitary 3G pitch at the proposed Weaponess just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Scarborough just hasn’t kept up with the changing technologies in football pitches. Everywhere you travel to, whether it be a big city like Newcastle, Leeds or Sheffield, or a place like York or the surrounding areas of Hull, they seem to have far superior football pitches, facilities and opportunities for their present and future players.

I feel sorry for the young football players in this town now. When I was playing in the minor leagues, 3G and 4G pitches didn’t exist, so we weren’t necessarily missing out on too much.

Now that the technology exists, why are our youngsters missing out and falling behind other towns and cities? It just doesn’t seem fair.

The lack of a modern 3G or 4G pitch isn’t even the be all and end all of the situation. Look at the state of the pitches that about 60 per cent of senior players have to play on week in, week out.

Oliver’s Mount is just a horrible place to play a game of football. The changing facilities are manageable, but the pitches are terrible.

How can young players develop a good first touch and all-round technique when the ball is bouncing up to their shins half of the times they receive a pass?

I am 99 per cent sure that if Scarborough Borough Council canvassed the local teams who pay to play their home games at the Mount, that they would be prepared to pay more per season if the pitches were improved.

Yes, it would probably cost a fair amount to upgrade the pitches there, but in the long term you would more than likely recoup that outlay in the extra cost handed out to local teams to use the better facilities.

Speaking to Scarborough Athletic Reserves manager Steve Brennan, who also does a bit of coaching, he agreed that the facilities in the Hull area, where his side regularly compete in the Humber Premier Leagues, are a lot better, and that coaching kids is made a lot more difficult by the town’s poor pitches.

I think it’s high time the youngsters of Scarborough were given the same opportunites as those in other towns and cities, and given the facilities they deserve.

Back to footballing matters, and despite the lack of a decent pitch in the town, I’m sure Coulson and David will have a strong side to put out at Bootham Crescent.

Being the Saturday League correspondents at SEN, myself and Rhys Howell have picked our representative XI’s.

DG’s XI: (4-3-3) Haxby (Edgehill) Meads (Westover) Blake (Eastfield) Hyde (West Pier) Watson (Snainton) M.Barber (Eastfield) Jack Hakings, pictured above, (Newlands) Craig (Edgehill) N.Thomas (West Pier) T.Barker (West Pier) M.Swales (Whitby Fishermen’s) SUBS: Hornby (Ryedale) Devine (Eastfield) Wilson (Newlands) Dobson (Filey)

RH’s XI: (4-3-3) Haxby (Edgehill) Clayton (West Pier) Harrison (Newlands) L.Luntley (Soba) M.Barnes (Filey) M.Barber (Eastfield) Jack Hakings (Newlands) Craig (Edgehill) N.Thomas (West Pier) Hall (Newlands) Dobson (Filey) SUBS: Provins (West Pier) Roberts (Ayton) S.Swales (Whitby Fishermen’s) B.Salt (Eastfield).

l Who would you pick in your representative side? Tweet your XI to me @mrdanielgregory or email me at

daniel.gregory@jpress.co.uk