Athletic Ground (Scarborough)
Theatre of Chips
|Location||Seamer Rd, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 4HF|
|Scarborough F.C. (1898–2007)|
The Athletic Ground, latterly known as the McCain Stadium, was a football stadium located on Seamer Road in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. It was the home of Scarborough F.C., a defunct football club who last played in the English Conference North before they were dissolved on 20 June 2007 with debts of £2.5 million.
The ground was first opened in 1898, when Scarborough F.C. moved from playing at Scarborough Cricket Club. In 1988, under a sponsorship deal, the club sold the naming rights of the Athletic Ground to McCain Foods and, until its closure in 2007, the stadium was known as the McCain Stadium.
Demolition of the stadium began in September 2011 and was completed in November 2011. The gates at the entrance to the ground are to be preserved and incorporated into a new sports village complex to serve as a lasting reminder of the former Athletic Ground/McCain Stadium.
The ground had four main stands:
- Main Stand
The Main Stand ran along one side of the pitch. It was an old grandstand-style stand and was all seater.
- The Shed (Also known as "The Cow Shed")
The Shed ran along the other side of the pitch and was covered terracing. This was the most popular part of the ground and was usually where the singing supporters stood.
- The East Stand
The East Stand was behind one of the goals and was an all seater stand in which the seats were red and the letters SFC were spelled out in white seats. This was the newest part of the ground along with The West Stand.
- The West Stand
The West Stand was identical to The East Stand but was behind the other goal. It was where the away fans were located.
In three of the four corners of the ground there was uncovered terracing although the north-west corner had become overrun with grass and weeds so was not normally used. The other corner of the ground was two-step terracing in front of the social club.
- Shops and Food
In the north-east corner of the ground there was a social club, known as the McCain Lounge, and a club shop which was located in a hut. There was also a programme shop, food outlet and coffee hut.
In March 2006 the plan was for a new stadium to be completed well before the start of the 2007–08 season. The stadium was to be located in Eastfield, Scarborough. The planned capacity was around 4,000 and the amount of land that the club would own was 15 acres (61,000 m2) of which some would have been used for the stadium, with room for expansion, and the rest used to lease to offices etc. that would cover the club's operating losses. The McCain Stadium was to be sold to property developers (Persimmon Homes) for around £4.1 million and this would have been enough to pay off all of the clubs debts and fund the new stadium.
Demise of Scarborough FC
A covenant existed on the McCain Stadium that restricted its use only to sporting activities. Scarborough F.C. failed to convince the Scarborough Borough Council that its proposals to sell the McCain Stadium to a housing developer would raise enough money to both to pay off the debts and build a new ground.
On Tuesday 12 June, Scarborough F.C. were given an eight-day 'stay of execution' following a 'change of heart' by their local Borough Council. But, on 20 June, they were wound up in the High Court, ending its 128-year run as a club with debts of £2.5 million.
However, the winding up of Scarborough F.C. paved the way for the supporters' trust to form a new club as Scarborough Athletic F.C. and secure a place in the Northern Counties East League, Division One with effect from 2007–08.
On 26 September 2007, Scarborough Borough Council announced its intention to purchase the ground from the liquidators. The liquidators, Begbies Traynor, applied to have the covenant lifted. This was contested by the Council. As a result, the stadium remained empty and derelict, and was subject to vandalism.
The stadium was damaged by a fire on 17 October 2008, that started in the changing rooms. A director of Scarborough Athletic criticised administrators Begbies Traynor for the lack of security. He said that the club would be interested in moving back to the stadium but that the vandalism was making that option more difficult and expensive. In December 2008 the Council finally purchased the ground from the liquidators.
On 15 December 2009, the Council announced that it had decided to invest money in a new facility rather than regenerate the stadium.
On 13 March 2010 Scarborough Council stated it was about to discuss demolition work at the stadium. Further discussions took place in April 2011 and on 13 April 2011 the Council voted to demolish the stadium. It was also revealed that Featherstone Rovers RLFC had agreed to purchase the East and West stands and undertake the demolition works that the council required for nil cost.
- "Scarborough FC wound up after 128 years", Yorkshire Post, 20 June 2007
- "Boro begin hunt for new home", The Press, 22 June 2007
- "Scarborough FC go out of business", BBC Sport, 20 June 2007
- "Town's fans get new football club" – BBC Sport
- "Council to buy back soccer site", Yorkshire Post, 28 September 2007
- "Crews tackle fire at town stadium ", BBC News, 17 October 2008
- "McCain Stadium security 'appalling'", Scarborough Evening News, 20 October 2008
- "Scarborough Athletic say goodbye to McCain Stadium", BBC Sport, 16 December 2009
- "Demolition at Scarborough's football ground" Scarborough Evening News. 13 March 2010
- "Go-ahead for stadium housing?" Scarborough Evening News. 11 April 2011
- "Vote to demolish former Scarborough football stadium", BBC News 14 April 2011
- "Football stands to get new home", Scarborough Evening News. 15 April 2011
- "New life for McCain stands", Scarborough Borough Council. 15 April 2011
- "Final whistle for the boro ground", Scarborough Evening News. 20 September 2011
- "Final whistle at the McCain", Scarborough Evening News. 22 November 2011
- "Lidl plans passed as stadium take huge step forward", Scarborough Evening News. 13 August 2015
- "Lidl to open in Scarborough", "Scarborough Evening News". 15 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
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