After a midweek adventure in Italy, today it was a train trip to the North Yorkshire coast. After a 10 year absence, football has returned to the seaside town of Scarborough and what better opportunity to visit their new ground than an FA Cup tie. The magic of the cup indeed!
It has been a long road back for Scarborough Athletic, the football club that was formed on 25th June 2007 following the liquidation (with debts of £2.5M) of Scarborough FC.
The new club was set up by the Seadog Trust, a group of supporters who originally started the trust with the aim of gaining fan representation on the board of Scarborough FC.
As a result of the old club’s liquidation, the Seadog Trust moved quickly to ensure a football team continued to represent the town at the highest level possible. On 25th June 2007, Scarborough Athletic were accepted into the NCEL Division 1 for the 2007/08 season, and an agreement was reached for the club to use Bridlington’s Queensgate stadium as part of a ground share with no suitable stadium able to be used in Scarborough.
Scarborough's former home, The Athletic Ground, latterly known as the McCain Stadium, was demolished in 2011 and is now a Lidl supermarket. There was a covenant on the ground which meant it could only be used for sporting activities. The liquidators applied to have the covenant lifted but this was contested by the Council. As a result, in the interim, the stadium remained empty and derelict, and was subject to vandalism.
The council decided it would be more prudent to invest in a new facility in the town rather than regenerate the old ground. Incidentally the demolition costs were met by Featherstone Rovers who purchased the two of the stands as part of the deal.
The gates at the entrance to the ground were preserved and incorporated into the new ground to serve as a lasting reminder of the "Theatre of Chips"
|Old meets the new: The gates of the old Athletic Stadium|
next to the entrance to the new stadium
Construction work on the new the ground began in late 2015 and the work was completed in Summer 2017. The first match to be played at the stadium was a friendly on 15th July 2017 versus Sheffield United.
The ground has a capacity of 2,070 people, with a 250 seated. There is a covered terrace behind one of the goals and the rest is flat standing. I have to admit the views are not great if you can't get a spot on the barrier. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to claim a seat in the stand this afternoon and was a good spot.
And as for today's game, there was nothing to choose between the sides. It was goalless at half-time with neither side seriously threatening to break the deadlock.
Scarborough came out fastest for the second half but their opening goal had an element of fortune. A routine back-pass to RCA 'keeper Neal Bussey was sliced by the unfortunate custodian straight into the path of Emile Sinclair, who squared the ball to Michael Coulson who fired home from inside the penalty area
After the goal RCA had a decent spell of possession but in truth Tommy Taylor in the Scarborough goal was never really troubled. In the 83rd minute Scarborough doubled their lead when a ball in from the right was swept home by Luke Dean. There were a few chances for the home side to extend their lead late on as RCA threw bodies forward, but that would have made the scoreline look very harsh on the visitors.
The win created a little piece of history for Scarborough Athletic as this is now the furthest the club have gone in the FA Cup since their formation. They will play at home to Stratford Town in the next round.
No trip to the seaside would have been complete without some fish and chips and this helped with soakage after a visit to the excellent Stumble Inn, their selection of six ales were in absolutely fine form. Neither the food nor beer contained Parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme though!