End of an era as Scarborough & District Sunday Football League folds

The Scarborough & District Sunday Football League has been forced to call it quits and secretary Paddy Parke has admitted the clubs and committee were ‘gutted‘ to make the decision to fold the league.

By Andy Bloomfield
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 12:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 3:46 pm
Trafalgar were one of the three teams able to carry on
Trafalgar were one of the three teams able to carry on

The Sunday League was formed in 1971 and at it’s peak in the 1980s and 1990s had four divisions, but has shrunk rapidly over the past few years to a point where they only had one division starting the 2020-21 Covid-affected season.

Only six teams finished the 2021-22 season after the campaign had begun with 11 teams, and when Parke and the committee had approached clubs to see how many wanted to play in the 2022-23 season only three wanted to take part, Trafalgar, Newlands and Roscoes Bar.

Parke said: “When we only had three teams we had to make the gutting decision to fold the league.

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“We have put so much work into trying to keep it going but with three teams it cannot work.

“I feel so sorry for the next generation of footballers, it is not just the sporting aspect of the football leagues it is the camaraderie and the social interaction of the leagues, the friends you make, the younger ones will be missing out on all that.

“The junior footballers of today need somewhere to play in the future so the Saturday League must continue for their sake as well.”

Parke was keen to point out that several people were deserving of praise for their tireless work helping keep the league afloat in recent years.

Newlands, who won the North Riding Sunday Challenge Cup, were one of the three teams who wanted to carry on

He added: “I would like to thank Daniel Wilson of One Stop Stores as he has been brilliant sponsoring the league for the past few years, as has Sean Spivey of Scarborough Spas and Rory of Awards and Trophies on Valley Bridge.

“Lesley, Donna and all the ladies on the front-line at the North Riding FA have been a massive help to us as has Barry Casterton and Ross Joyce.

“Steven Frederiksen, Neil Hughes and Daniel Thomas have all been brilliant on the committee as we tried to keep the league going.

“I would also like to thank all the club secretaries, managers and players who have kept the league going over the years, there will be thousands who have been involved in playing or watching games and this will be such hard news for them to take.”

Parke wanted to point out that the upper echelons of the North Riding FA and Scarborough Borough Council had not helped the league.

He said: “Those in the upper levels of the North Riding FA have never once contacted us or offered help when we have been struggling as a league, I bet if it was a league in other areas then they would have stepped in a long time ago to help.

“This is no reflection on the hard-working frontline staff at the FA as they have been dealing with issues facing grassroots football for years, but those at the top levels in the County FA and the English FA, seem more interested in getting money in than saving leagues.

“Also Scarborough Borough Council have allowed local sports venues to slide in the area. A few years ago the council was suggesting a revamp of the football pitches up at Oliver’s Mount but nothing has happened since.

“At its peak there were dozens of teams up at the Mount playing on Saturdays and Sundays, now it is deserted.

“Because of the lack of support from the council teams are having to move to village locations or pay a high price at somewhere like Everyone Active as there are no other suitable facilities in town.”

Parke warned: “The teams in the Saturday League must stand by the league and not let Saturdays go the same way as Sundays, as the only chance we have of football bouncing back in the area is if the Saturday League keeps going.

“The players, managers and officials need to keep the clubs going as if the Saturday League can stay strong then hopefully one day the Sunday League may be able to come back.”