While it was great to see five new teams accepted into the Saturday League at last week’s AGM, I think it’ll be a case of time will tell if that’s a positive thing or not.
To the untrained eye, yes, five new teams entering a league can only be a positive thing surely?
Paul Stalker from the North Riding County FA said football is buoyant in Scarborough as we have managed to keep the same number of teams, in comparison to the Teesside League, who have lost five.
While we should be pleased the Saturday League hasn’t witnessed the same level of decline in participation and enthusiasm that the Sunday League has, we need to handle the influx of new teams with caution.
Far from knowing where all these new teams are getting their players from, you can pretty much guess that Goalsports FC will field a lot of ex-Ayton players and Itis Itis Rovers a handful of former Westover players.
That immediately puts pressure on those two established clubs to field two sides, and only time will tell if they can do that.
Hunmanby United struggled with just one side last season, now they have two, and Filey Town’s third team will be an unknown entity.
I admire their optimism and hope it pays off, but five teams in Filey and Hunmanby will be a tough ask.
Fishburn Park are perhaps an exception to the rule, they have a superb junior section and this will hopefully be a case of them bringing them on into senior football, something that seems to be happening less and less across the area.
Having said that, they’ve been and gone before and who knows if they’ll do that again?
Far from wanting to put a downer on these new sides, I am keen to highlight that football isn’t buoyant in Scarborough, far from it.
There is a level of apathy I have never seen before since I started playing for Scalby 14 years ago, and it would be a huge mistake for the powers that be to rest on the words of some and stop trying to think of ways to re-engage with younger players and attract new teams from a little further afield.
I can’t fault the lads at Goalsports and Itis Itis Rovers for starting afresh, and if they can go one better than the likes of Athletico2b, USB, Falsgrave, Tennyson and the others who have come and gone in recent times, then we will be better off as a league.
A lot still needs to be done if the league is to flourish for years to come.
I have mentioned in previous columns that I believe the league should/needs to expand their borders and invite clubs from further afield to strengthen across the board and freshen things up.
We don’t have waves and waves of young players coming through into senior football like we had in the past, and the time will come when tough decisions will need to be made, why not start making them now?