By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
After six years of trying, Scarborough Athletic finally reached the Northern Premier League after a 2-0 win over Retford United secured the NCEL Premier Division title.
Once their promotion is confirmed by the FA, Scarborough will join a league that desperately needs a team like them.
Rudy Funk’s team follow in the likes of Chester FC and FC Halifax Town who have been in the NPL following their creation as a reformed club.
The key to it all is that Scarborough have a huge fanbase and there will be large crowds for every Scarborough game next season, regardless of whether it is home or away.
They will be a big loss for the NCEL, but for NPL clubs, they will get a big payday next season.
This year in the Evo Stik Division One North, there is no-one with huge travelling support. When the 22 teams in the league saw that Scarborough were chasing promotion, they were probably praying that Funk’s men won the title.
Brighouse were the team that pushed them all the way, but with no disrespect to them, compared with Scarborough, their support is just one man and his dog – something that could be said for a lot of clubs in the NPL and NCEL.
Scarborough’s promotion is brilliant news and it brings a club with gravitas and an interesting history into the NPL structure. Scarborough will also be looking to progress rather than sitting still and happy to compete in the bottom half of the table so a second promotion must surely be on the agenda. Just like Farsley, who won the NCEL Premier title in 2011, Scarborough have ambitions to go further up the pyramid.
Welcome to the NPL, Scarborough. We’re happy to have you.