Football ground: kick-off pushed back yet again

If and when a new stadium is built, it will have been at least a decade since Scarborough were permanently playing in the town
If and when a new stadium is built, it will have been at least a decade since Scarborough were permanently playing in the town

Football won’t be coming home to Scarborough until at least 2017, after the heavily-delayed Weaponness development was pushed back yet again.

Scarborough’s side will have been out of town for over a decade by the time the ground is built, which is now estimated to be at the start of the 2017/2018 season.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the council’s multi-million pound development, with Scarborough Athletic claiming a full planning application is expected to be submitted by the end of December.

But with falling attendances at the club’s makeshift Bridlington base coupled with growing fan frustration over the stream of delays, there is concern over what impact the latest setback will have on football in the town.

“The longer this is delayed, the harder it’s going to be for the club,” said Eastfield councillor Tony Randerson, who has supported Scarborough since the 1950s.

“It’s going to be hard work to keep the club going. I’m sure they will but it will take more effort from everybody.”

The latest setback was announced at Friday’s fans’ forum at The Old Vic.

When the sporting village was initially mooted, it was hoped the club would be back home in Scarborough by the start of this season, yet the club kicked off their campaign 20 miles away.

The spate of delays that have blighted the project since it’s start even led to current players coming out to voice their frustration over the plans - with stalwart Jimmy Beadle airing doubts that the ground will ever see the light of day.

Scarborough Athletic’s current chairman Dave Holland admitted that he shares players and fans frustrations.

“Everybody is willing for that day that we move back to Scarborough,” said Mr Holland, adding the question over the ground’s status is the one fans ask him the most on match day.

“We all know that it’s running behind and that there are people saying ‘let’s go and buy a greenfield site and do it ourselves’.

“But everything the council has had to do - even checking for newts - takes time.”

And having talked with the council, he claims that from his side anyway, the reasons behind the delays are, for him, “plausible”.

One thing the council has moved forward with at Weaponness is the appointment of Wilmot Dixon as contractors.

Yet despite attendance fears, and the club now further away from returning to the town it represents on the pitch, Mr Holland feels the club will one day return home - although it must travel.

“Every month that goes by is a huge problem, and I do see that - sooner or later it will be difficult to carry forward,” he said.

“The longer this goes on the harder it will be for the club to come back to town, but the council want this happen and we are running alongside them.

“As long as we can keep the club in a healthy position and we keep our community credentials going we are hoping to keep the flame alive.”

Scarborough Council has yet to comment.