By Scarborough Athletic supporter Rob Bernard (Twitter: @Rob_Bernard)
Photo courtesy of Ryan Clark of ClarkHirst Photography
I was sat at home last Friday afternoon relaxing while watching the Test match on TV and checking the latest tweets on my IPhone, when I was suddenly alerted to an entry containing breaking news of the FAs placement of clubs at Step 4 level in the national pyramid.
To say I was stunned and initially angry when I saw Boro had been put in Division One South would be an understatement. I immediately texted a director to get confirmation, and he was extremely surprised as well. It was the first he said anyone at the club knew about the decision.
I am a Scarborian, but I now live and work in London. In many ways the placement will suit me better, and yes I will be able to get to more away games on the weeks when I find myself on night shift. Despite this, I was still pretty down.
I realise the impetus that had been built towards our championship season had seen already good away followings grow to amazing proportions for the level of football we found ourselves in. I wanted that to continue. I was also personally annoyed because I had already got my eyes on some weekends and overnight stops in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool as well as the two games with Darlington. I’d even done plenty of pub research, so thorough was my preparation!
Then I had time to reflect and let the decision sink in. I am a well-travelled groundhopper who speaks to fans of lots of clubs across the pyramid either in person or through the social media. I’d heard and read of all manner of perceived injustices when it came to allocating league after promotions or to simply make sure that there were the correct number of teams in each division.
The pyramid is a complicated model and it becomes even more so because no one can guarantee that like for like replacements at the end of season shake up are geographically matched. I sympathise with the FA and especially the guy in charge of the operation; Mike Appleby. It is in inevitable that some clubs will be upset.
I think that the board of SAFC have dealt with the situation with calm and measured approach, and in my opinion they are doing the right thing by not appealing against the decision. Keeping their powder dry on this occasion means that they still have ammo in the locker for when a winnable battle looms.
Of course when the new ground opens at Weaponness, there will be further legitimate claims to be moved to the North Division, but who knows? By then Boro may be plying their trade in the Premier Division?
For what it’s worth, I think that the FA and maybe even the NPL may have even looked at the two divisions and thought that having a ‘big’ club in each will aid the profile and consequently that of its Premier Division if both Boro and Darlington are promoted in the quickest possible time? May they have done us a favour?
Whether the southern group proves to be easier to get out of remains to be seen. The consensus across the board seems to be that it may be, but that would be a ridiculous mindset for Boro to adopt. Admittedly there aren’t the ‘names’ on the list that would appear as enticing or previous opponents of Scarborough FC, but rest assured many will also fancy themselves and see Boro as a big scalp both home and away.
Hopefully the knowledge of Rudy Funk (pictured above), John Reed and Darren France and their extensive contacts list will prove beneficial, especially when it comes to attracting new charges who may be enticed by easier travelling to half of the matches?
I’m looking forward to seeing new places and making a few new friends along the way, and I remain extremely optimistic about the forthcoming campaigns. Many clubs will also see the trek to Queensgate as a bit of a pain, especially midweek, so we must make it a fortress as Rudy as appealed for.
Boro fans must back the club and even if they can’t make as many away matches, they can do so by making home games great occasions once again and play just as vital a role by cheering the team to success.