U’s and me: Memories of Scarborough – the football club, not the seaside!

All that remains of Scarborough's old McCain Stadium, a picture taken by Carl Marston during a recen

All that remains of Scarborough's old McCain Stadium, a picture taken by Carl Marston during a recent break at the seaside - Credit: Archant

On a recent break in sunny Scarborough, this Autumn, I could not resist taking a peak at the old football ground that used to host games for the town’s Scarborough FC.

The gates are firmly shut to the old McCain Stadium. Behind is wasteland, with no hint of the pitch

The gates are firmly shut to the old McCain Stadium. Behind is wasteland, with no hint of the pitch that used to grace this plot of land - Credit: Archant

It was not a particularly cheerful visit. There was no sign of the old stadium, with just the gates still standing – the McCain Stadium had long since been demolished, leaving just an area of wasteland and a collection of sad memories.

Scarborough FC was wound up in 2007, signalling the end of one of the oldest football clubs in England – the Seadogs were formed in 1879.

I visited the McCain Stadium several times, during my early years as a Colchester United correspondent (early 1990s). The North Yorkshire club had played at the ground since 1898, when it was called Seamer Road, before it was re-named the McCain Stadium in 1988.

Alas, Scarborough FC was wound up with debts of £2.5m in June, 2007.


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The club was quickly reborn, as Scarborough Athletic FC, but it has been a bit of a struggle through the non-league pyramid for the new club (they currently play in the Northern Premier League), not least because they have never actually played a home game in the town – they play all their home fixtures at Bridlington, which is 20 miles away.

But hope springs eternal, and only last week there was news of football possibly making a triumphant return to Scarborough – the exiled club could come back to the town after plans for a sports village were approved, the scheme including a new ground for the football club and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

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It may be many more years before the U’s play Scarborough again – their last meeting was nearly 17 years ago, a 1-1 draw at the McCain Stadium on January 31, 1998.

But when they do finally clash again – hopefully in the Football League a few years down the line – it would be great if Scarborough Athletic were well established back in the town.

That would be terrific for Scarborough, but also good for the U’s as well .... in the U’s last eight visits to Scarborough (between 1989 and ‘98), they are unbeaten with three wins and five draws!

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