Scarborough away in 1987 – How it was, when it was

This was the Thursday of the week before the Wolves fan fell through the roof of the stand at Seamer Road (where Scarborough FC used to play).

Watching the footage of that momentus day when Scarborough FC made their football league debut on 15 August 1987, it looked like Wolverhampton had annexed the seaside resort on the North Yorkshire coast.

However, as those who were there nine days earlier will testify, there were a fair few Geordies that made the trek for a pre-season friendly that yielded a 2-2 draw.

Some of these tales inevitably mention encounters with opposition fans, all of which I for one aren’t proud of, but that was the way it was, when it was. On this particular occasion, I cannot recall any such encounters but the trip was memorable all the same.

Against our better judgement, me and a few of my mates had reluctantly signed on for the trip in a minibus with some local lunatics, the types our mothers had always suggested we spar wide of, whatever the circumstances.

However, this was our only viable option when it came to this pre-season encounter and a trip to the seaside did appeal. Now, the lunatics in question weren’t necessarily football hooligans, but they did have a reputation for general hell raising…

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Anyway, they welcomed us with open arms and although we were naturally wary, we got to Scarborough in time for the match, after a long and winding journey that took us across the North Yorkshire moors. As previously stated, it ended all square, at 2-2.

I cannot recall anything meaningful about the 90 minutes, including who scored (ED: Newcastle 2-0 down at half-time but McDonald and Gazza getting goals after the break) and whether we played well, although the fact that we only scraped a draw against fourth Division opposition leads me to suspect we didn’t.

Anyway, the one memory I do have of Seamer Road is that of one of my mates nicked one of the corner flags after the obligatory pitch invasion had signalled the end of the match (that’s right, bored to tears, we got on and the ref, suspecting matters might take a turn for the worse, blew for time). My mate cherished that flag for years to come; it adorned his bedroom wall for a long time.

Afterwards, we tried to get served in some of the local hostelries but that was extremely difficult, what with the ‘No Football Fans’ signs hanging from the entrances of most of them. We did find one bar that was willing to serve us but that didn’t last long, our driver getting impatient and insisting we supped up and made a move. It was only 10pm!

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Now, earlier in this tale, I omitted mention of something rather strange, but one of the aforementioned lunatics had brought a dog with him, a lurcher if I remember rightly.

I don’t think it attended the match, God only knows what it was up to whilst we cheered on the toon, but on the way back, it sprang into action as the van pulled into a layby on the moors and it was dispatched into the darkness to fetch a rabbit or two. Undeterred by what was no doubt unfamiliar terrain, it duly obliged, as we sat patiently awaiting its return wondering what the hell we’d let ourselves in for. No wonder the driver had insisted we get away sharp, he had other things on his mind for the journey back, either a late supper or what was for tea the following evening.

And that’s it. Apart from the fact we got home in one piece (although despite the bizarre antics on the moors, we did venture to another couple of away games with the same crew).

Me, my mates, the lunatics, the lurcher and a couple of dead rabbits. In memory of the evening we scraped a 2-2 draw, away to the football league’s newest addition.

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