Martin Dowey’s Column - Promotion is a must for Athletic

070537c. Drop Folder Sport.'Boro v Kettering. Match action.'Tony Hackworth (left) and Ryan Blott (right).
070537c. Drop Folder Sport.'Boro v Kettering. Match action.'Tony Hackworth (left) and Ryan Blott (right).

AT the end of this month it will be half a decade since Scarborough FC ceased to be.

I can remember vividly those sombre times, the final few matches and the expectations ahead of an uncertain future.

Boro did sign off their last-ever game at Hucknall with a win, and aptly enough it was a beautifully-crafted Tony Hackworth strike that proved to be the club’s last-ever goal.

Hackworth partnered current Scarborough Athletic striker Ryan Blott in attack, while Denny Ingram, who is Athletic’s assistant manager, also shone on the day.

I can recall doing an interview after the game with a broken-looking Mark Patterson, who told me that enough was enough and he was walking away.

At the time it seemed that there may be a chance that the club may be able to carry on in the Unibond League in the new campaign, which was one of the stumbling blocks behind Patterson’s departure. He was worried about a budget for the club’s first-ever dip into the Unibond set-up.

But as I drove away from Watnall Road in my Peugeot 106, which was scrapped a few months later, it turned out that Scarborough FC’s fate would be very similar.

A switch in grounds was the plan to save the club, but having recently spoken to Ian Scobbie, who was the chairman at the time, he said that this venture possibly wouldn’t have worked anyway, due to the hefty fall in house prices that followed and the fact that the Y50 company, who were poised to help the move, fell on hard times.

The Seadog Trust took control of football in the town and a bright future looked on the cards, but the reborn Scarborough Athletic has as yet failed to achieve the feats of other clubs that had dropped down from the heights of the top tiers of non-league football to an equivalent level.

Brian France brought together a useful side from nothing over a period of time, but we have only seen Brid’s free-scoring striker Craig Hogg and Hall Road’s Mark Griffin progress from the side that opened up with a 2-1 defeat at Teversal.

Personally I expected a powerful start and a swift charge through the leagues, but unfortunately that didn’t materialise. One promotion was gained, but that was concluded three years ago.

Boro have since stuttered through seasons, the 2010-2011 campaign being the perfect example of that, though this term wasn’t aided by the loss of Brian France as manager.

The talk was there this season, but it looks to have been used as a learning curve, looking at the last few performances by Rudy Funk’s team, that curve does seems to have been learned.

Next season is the big one for me, in my eyes Boro have to go up.

Talking to Rudy in recent weeks, he is desperate to move up because he wants to kick-start a club that seems to have stalled.

I wonder how long the club and the fans can cope with living in this league season in season out.

After a while the size of the predecessor disappears into the mists of time and Scarborough Athletic could become just another Hall Road Rangers or Nostell Miners Welfare.

I certainly hope that doesn’t happen.