Back in 1989, on October 4 in North Yorkshire, history would be made. Scarborough FC, a Football League Forth Divison team, presently League Two, had just drawn with giants Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It was the second leg of the second round of the English League Cup. Only 5,086 supporters watched at McCain Stadium that night as Scarborough defeated Chelsea 3-2, winning 4-3 on aggregate.
The Gulls had become giant killers, already having three FA Trophies in their trophy room. Those trophies came from beating Wigan Athletic (1973), Stafford Rangers (1976) and Dagenham (1977). In the 1991 League Cup, Scarborough beat Preston North End 7-6 on aggregate and lost to Southampton 5-3. Alan Shearer scored two in that latter match. The next year, Scarborough nearly survived against Arsenal, losing 0-1. The Gunners went on to win that year.
Scarborough FC advanced from non-league football after becoming champions of the Football Conference in 1987. They gained automatic promotion as a result, becoming the first team to enter league play in this manner. However, it would soon all become a memory. On May 8, 1999, Scarborough dropped out of league play, never to return. In 2007, Scarborough FC disbanded after 128 years. However, when there are ashes, a phoenix may rise. Soon after Scarborough’s liquidation, Scarborough Athletic FC, the Seadogs, were born.
Scarborough’s Second Chance
The selling of the home ground, McCain Stadium, was the downfall of the Gulls. Scarborough sold their stadium to a housing developer with plans developed to build a new ground. A £2.5 million dollar debt remained, though, which was not settled in High Court. The team disbanded because the sale did not raise enough money to cover a new stadium or their debts. However, The Seadog Trust, made up of original Scarborough FC supporters, revived the team under the name Scarborough Athletic. The same kit, motto, and badge remained with the new club. However, with McCain stadium lost, the new Seadogs ended up homeless.
Scarborough Athletic moved to Bridlington on a joint agreement with Bridlington Town. In the 2007-08 season, Scarborough finished 5th in their league, the Northern Counties East League Division One. This is the tenth tier of English football. A year later, they became champions and moved up to the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, the ninth tier. This came after an incredible 27 unbeaten league run. The Seadogs stayed in the NCEL Premier Division until 2013, a season in which Scarborough Athletic were champions once again.
The Seadogs moved up to the eighth tier of English football, the Northern Premier League Division One. They resided in the NPL Division One South for a season before moving to Division One North. The Seadogs have been in that league since 2015. In 2009, the club entered the FA Cup and have participated in the competition ever since. Scarborough Athletic also play in the FA Trophy (2013-2017) and participated in the FA Vase from 2008-2013. They have won the Supporters Direct Shield (2011) as well. They are a true supporters club. Now, this summer, they are coming home.
Back to Boro
After years in “exile” since the sale of McCain Stadium, the club will move back to North Yorkshire. The new ground is currently under construction in Weaponness in Scarborough. The new grounds will be open this summer. In fact, the new commissioner of Scarborough Athletic FC, Trevor Bull, announced the date of the Seadog’s first home match at their new stadium. This first match will take place at 3:00 PM BST on July 15 against an undisclosed team.
The team, revived from the fans, is finally coming back to their hometown. As one could imagine, this means the world to their followers. Supporters are active not only with the home team, but also with the youth leagues. The move back to Scarborough not only brings 128 years of Scarborough FC’s legacy back to where its history began, but it also brings the community together under one badge.
What does this mean to the local support, exactly? I want to know that as well. The hashtag #Back2Boro is being used to support Scarborough Athletic’s move. You can see some tweets from fans there. However, if you are a Scarborough supporter, I want to hear from you. Tweet at me @NattyLiteFC and tell me why you are excited for the move to Weaponess! I hope to continue this piece as an interview with players, club staff, and supporters.
This is becoming a heart-warming story for all football fans. A non-league team, created after the dissolution of a team that was promoted to the top tiers of English football, is moving back to where they belong. The support is overwhelming, and it serves as an example of the true power of non-league local teams. Once again, if you have any personal connection to this story, I, and the other readers worldwide, would love to hear from you. The motto of Scarborough FC and the Seadogs is “No battle, no victory.” The battle has surely taken place, and now it is time for the victory. Congratulations, Scarborough, on getting your team back.