Sportsdesk Comment with Martin Dowey: Leek are spot on

Sportsdesk Comment with Martin J Dowey
Sportsdesk Comment with Martin J Dowey

There were notable contrasts for everyone involved when Scarborough Athletic made their festive trips to Goole and Leek Town.

For me, the difference between the two clubs was the huge gap in professionalism.

One club seems to be sailing confidently forward, the other had the look of a sinking ship.

Goole’s blatant money-making scheme of lifting the entry prices from £7 to £9 just a day after Christmas will clearly leave a nasty taste in the mouth for years to come.

I have never seen Boro fans so incensed as they were at the Goole game.

Since I started as a reporter in Scarborough I have watched many a pre-season friendly at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds, but will this stunt bring an end to any relationship?

It was a cheap trick - clearly not supported by the club’s committee - that will have made a few quid but also lost a lot of friends.

In stark contrast, the welcome at Leek’s Harrison Park couldn’t have been warmer.

Boro fans were out in full voice and there was plenty of banter between both sets, as well as the crunching tackles, bouts of handbags and goals that made for a festive cracker.

Leek are a club that are clearly set up to progress through the levels and it would be no surpise to see them pushing for the Conference North at the end of next season.

My arrival was a throwback to the old days, as I was greeted to a handshake on entry and presented with a coffee soon after.

Many officials were former players who were keen to chat about former games against Scarborough and I was even introduced to ex-Scarborough FC skipper Richard Dawson, who is now in charge of the girls’ set-up at the club.

A few days prior at Goole I had presented my press-pass and had swiftly been bundled into the ground to fend for myself.

This isn’t a big deal because many club committees are busy on matchdays and they have other things to do rather than chat to the press.

For me, as for fans, managers and players alike, it is all about the experience on the day because that is one of the key elements of football.

If, as a fan, you don’t enjoy your experience then you are less likely to go back.

The big clubs have the whole match-day experience and atmosphere that they can rely on, but at lower levels you need all the support you can get.

So unfortunately, if Boro don’t achieve their aims of going up this season, it might be a little sparse at Goole next Boxing Day.

Luckily for us in Scarborough, we have a variety of welcoming clubs you can follow.

I have always had a warm greeting at Scarborough RUFC, Scarborough Pirates, Scarborough Cricket Club and Boro, though each of these are either established or clubs striving to progress.

Long may this continue in my opinion.