Manchester has the Theatre of Dreams and Scarborough had the Theatre of Chips. And we didn’t half enjoy our trips to the North Yorkshire seaside. Who doesn’t like to be beside the sea? That line sounds good, actually. Might write it into a song. Need another line to follow it up with, though. And a chorus. And another verse. Anyway, it’s been a while since we hit up Scabby. It’s a great summer trip. Not that football in England is a summer sport. Ho hum.
Who are Scarborough?
Formed in 1879, the Seadogs had a long story to tell. But, as ever, we don’t have the time to tell it for you. So, we’re going to stick with the important bits. Funnily enough, it was ‘cos the town’s cricket team needed something to do in the winter that the club came to be.
For the first 100 years-and-a-bit, the Seadogs were a non-league team; starting out in the Northern League and members of the Yorkshire Combination, Yorkshire League, Midland League and North Eastern League over the years. There were even a few titles along the way. Not a lot, but enough to keep the trophy cabinet free from dust.
In 1968, the club were founder members of the Northern Premier League. And it started a nice little spell for the Seadogs. While the 1972-3 league title eluded them, the FA Trophy did not. The pot came back to the Athletic Stadium twice more (1976 and 1977) too. And, in 1979, they were among the non-league elite who formed the Alliance Premier League.
It capped a slow-burning first 100 years for the club, to be fair. But the first decade of their second century barely past the halfway stage before things stepped up a gear; promotion to the Football League under the leadership of Neil Warnock. In fact, they were the first to be promoted to the League as Conference champions. There’s your quiz answer.
Why do we know Scarborough?
The Seadogs had a 12-year run in the Football League, twice coming close in the playoffs for promotion to the third tier. On the first occasion, they were edged out by Leyton Orient in only their second campaign as a Division Four side. The next time was after the league had now been renamed Division Three; Scabby thrashed by Torquay United in 1997-8.
But then it all went wrong.
From promotion pushers to relegation in the space of a season, goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scored the last-gasp goal for Carlisle United that condemned the Seadogs to rock bottom of the table. And, with it, came relegation to the Conference. It was a return to non-league football for the North Yorkshire side. And it had changed a bit since they’d last been there.
What is our record against Scarborough?
For the Seadogs, their first season back in the Conference was a decent effort; finishing fourth these days would get you a playoff place. Not then, though. And they failed to get the run of us straight off the bat. Our 3-1 win at their place was the fifth of six on the spin for us at the start of the 1999-00 season. They did pick up three points at ours, however.
The next few seasons saw us trade draws more often than not. Eight of the 12 meetings that came next would end all square. It includes our epic 3-3 draw on the road during the 2004-5 season; Boro’ storming back after going three goals down in the first 10 minutes. We very nearly snatched all three points late on too. So close, yet so far.
In the end, our record against Scarborough looks pretty good on paper. Just one defeat was all the Seadogs managed to inflict on us, while we got the better of them five times.
Scarborough: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 14 — W 5 — D 8 — L 1 — F 23 — A 16 — Pts 23 — WR 36%
Our last tango: Stevenage Borough 2-0 Scarborough, 08 April 2006
What happened to Scarborough?
At the end of the 2005-6 campaign, the Seadogs came bottom in the Conference. To start with, it didn’t mean relegation; 13th-placed Canvey Island demoted and Altrincham having 18 points lopped off to wind up bottom instead. But the league authorities weren’t satisfied with how Scabby were shaping up and relegated them for an ‘unspecified rule breach’.
It also meant the Seadogs would start the 2006-7 Conference North season on -10 points to add insult to injury. It proved fatal to their hopes in more ways than one. The club came three points short of survival; the Northern Premier League set to be their next port of call. But, sadly, the club wouldn’t make it to the start of the 2007-8 season.
In June 2007, Scarborough FC was wound up with reported debts of £2.5m. The aim was to sell their McCain Stadium home; raising enough to wipe out their debts and build a new ground on the edge of town. The local council didn’t like that idea, however; refusing to lift a covenant on the ground restricting it to sports use until the new stadium was built.
It was an equation that simply didn’t work out.
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Scarborough club profile