Scarborough Athletic FC enjoyed a successful season last time around which ended in them clinching promotion. Football Focus Magazine recently caught up with Club Representative Andrew Davies ahead of the new campaign.
He told us, “The mood around the place is very positive at the moment, helped by our promotion to the Evo-Stik Premier Division last season. It is the first time we will have played at this level since the club was formed in 2007, so everyone is counting down the days until we travel to Hednesford Town for our opening game.
Until last season we had spent ten years playing our football twenty miles down the road in Bridlington, so there is still a feel good factor of playing back in the town and there is a real sense of optimism following last season’s success.”
“Last season couldn’t have gone better. Just returning home was the highlight for many! However, a best-ever run in the FA Cup taking us to within one game of the first round proper, clinching promotion on the penultimate weekend of the season and ending with a North Riding Senior Cup Final appearance against Middlesbrough at their Riverside Stadium in May were all fantastic achievements and will live long in the memory of Scarborough Athletic fans. Another notable achievement was having an average home attendance for the season of 1,106. Not bad at all for the 8th tier of English football!”
“The club has brought in several players who are very experienced playing at this level and above. Manager Steve Kittrick and his team also have years of experience at this level and higher, so they know the areas we need to strengthen on from last season and have been working on this since the day we secured promotion.
Another big piece of news from the summer was the club securing the services of our top goalscorer last season, Michael Coulson, on a 3-year contract. Coulson signed for us from SPL side St Johnstone last summer and has years of experience playing professionally in the football league.”
“Having experienced promotion last season, that is the ultimate goal again for the club this season. However, we are under no illusions as to how difficult that achievement would be. There are some excellent teams in the Evo-Stik Premier and with only one automatic promotion spot it makes it even more competitive.
Off the field, we hope to begin our ground improvements in the near future, which will increase the seating capacity and covered areas from which supporters can watch the game. Increasing the capacity will also allow us to progress up to the National League North, should we gain promotion.
“This summer we opened the Boro Hub – our club shop in the town centre. It is run by volunteers and gives us somewhere to sell shirts, tickets and other merchandise away from match days, which is something we have never been in a position to do in the past.”
“The move back home to Scarborough has been crucial – our average attendance has more than tripled! With that, we have seen far more young people coming to watch and support the team. One thing you will find a lot of people commenting on is the number of youngsters now walking around town with Scarborough shirts on, as opposed to the usual Premier League shirts, which is massive for the future of this club and what we are aiming to build.”
“We are a fan-owned club, with an average gate last season of 1,106, so realistically as things stand we will only be able to go so far from a financial perspective without the help of a financial backer. There are regular reports of teams in the National League with annual playing budgets of well over £1m, so it would bring obvious challenges if we were to reach that level in the coming years.”
“Different fans would likely have different answers to the question of where we would like to be in five years. Obviously as a competitive sports club you want to push yourself all the way and do all you can to be playing and competing at the highest possible level. However, the history of our previous club going under eleven years ago still plays a very large part in many supporters minds when deciding what they would like for the future of this club.
There are many who are very happy that we just have a football club in Scarborough now that the whole town can get behind. But, we do feel we are going in the right direction and most people would say yes to two promotions in those five years, which would see us competing in the National League.”