Scarborough Athletic FC currently plays it’s football 17-miles down the east coast at Bridlington Town’s Queensgate Stadium. The club was formed by supporters’ society Seadog Trust following the liquidation of Scarborough FC in June 2007.
The Seadog Trust was formed in November 2006 by a group of supporters who wanted to gain fan-representation on the board of Scarborough FC.
This was never able to happen as Scarborough FC was liquidated in the summer of 2007 under a debt of £2.3m.
The Seadog Trust, foreseeing possible problems for SFC, had created a ‘Plan B’ earlier in 2007, and when the time came that SFC was finally put to rest, Scarborough Athletic was born from the ashes and joined the Northern Counties East League – the supporters voted to keep the old club’s badge, motto and nickname – the Seadogs.
One thing Scarborough Athletic could not keep hold of from the old club was the stadium.
When SFC went bust, liquidators Begbies Traynor locked the gates, and the stadium remained unused for some time.
Scarborough Athletic, with just weeks to prepare before the NCEL division one season started, forged a link with Bridlington Town and came to an agreement to ground-share at Queensgate.
Over the preceding months the McCain Stadium, having reverted to the name of Seamer Road after McCain removed all reference to their company from the stadium, was attacked by vandals on numerous occasions, including the main stand being set on fire twice, and all wiring and piping being removed by thieves. Seats and turnstiles were also sold off in an auction by the liquidators.
Scarborough Borough Council, who had a covenant on the stadium preventing its sale by the liquidators, bought the ground for £1.3m in December 2008.
Since that time the stadium has remained unused as the council attempt to find a buyer for the site. A survey of the ground by the council and an independent surveyor employed by Scarborough Athletic estimated a repair bill of £600k - £1m to get the stadium back to a useable standard.
Scarborough Council continues to investigate the provision of a sports facility in Scarborough, and undertook a feasibility study in early 2009 on the Weaponness Valley Coach Park site, which has been largely disused since the new park and ride sites opened outside town.
Scarborough Athletic FC meanwhile won the NCEL division one championship in 08-09 in just its second season, and has started its first season at step five of the non-league pyramid in similar form. The club attracts over 500 people to Bridlington for home matches, with 791 attending to see the trophy lifted against Leeds Carnegie in April 2009, and over 1,000 watching the FA Vase tie against landlords Bridlington in November 2009.
The Society membership of the club is over 550, the club has a partnership with Scarborough Ladies FC and is setting up further links with the community of Scarborough.
But coming home to play in Scarborough is the club’s number one priority, and when that happens the dreams of tip-toeing slowly but surely closer to the higher reaches of the non-league set-up and league football will have a great chance of becoming reality.
Find out more about SAFC at www.scarboroughathletic.com