Farewell – The Theatre Of Chips.

The main entrance to the McCain Stadium

It was confirmed on Thursday that the former football ground of Scarborough FC, The McCain Stadium as it was latterly known, is to be levelled and a tender has been released inviting companies to bid for the contract that will seal the fate of the 112 year old ground.

Most realists knew that the ‘Theatre of Chips’ never really stood any chance of hosting football matches once it closed in 2007.  But that doesn’t stop the feelings of disappointment by football fans across the town.  The way Scarborough FC  folded is a still a point of contention with some believing the council could have helped more and others believing the club got itself into its own mess after years of mismanagement.  However I’m not going to get into the politics of the situation.  What has happened has happened.

But with Scarborough Athletic, the club that rose from the ashes of Scarborough FC, currently playing home games in Bridlington and looking to move back home to Scarborough it is a shame nothing could be done to save the Athletic Ground.

I don’t profess to be Scarborough’s biggest fan.  In fact I’m not at all.  But I spent many Saturday afternoons paying £3 or £4 to get in and watch Scarborough with my mates as a youngster in the town.  Those were the days when Scarborough was a football league club.  In fact they almost got out of the old 3rd Division (now League 2) at the right end as they played in the play offs around 1998 against Torquay.  Scarborough lost and the rest as they say is history.  Scarborough were relegated from the football league for the final time in 1999.  Of course I’m sure you’ll be aware  Scarborough were the unlucky team who, on the final day of the season, suffered relegation after Carlisle’s goalkeeper, Jimmy Glass, scored a 96th minute goal against Plymouth to save the Cumbrian club from relegation.

From there it was pretty much one struggle after another for Scarborough.  The last moment of glory for the club came in the F.A Cup in 2004.  After beating Southend United 1-0 in a 3rd round replay (the last match I attended at the ground) Scarborough drew Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea at home in the 4th round.  John Terry scored the only goal of the game in front of a packed McCain Stadium.

Where the money from that game went is anyone’s guess but it was meant to give the club financial security for 10 years apparently.

Anyway on hearing the news that the ground is going to cease to exist in the very near future I decided to go and take some photos of the place where many a Saturday afternoon was passed by myself and some friends.

The main entrance, locked forever.

The Main Stand as viewed from ‘The Cow Shed’.  This stand is in far the worse condition of them all.  The club house to the right has its windows smashed.

The Away End which is in fantastic condition considering the ground has been left to rot for 4 years.

The away turnstiles as viewed from the pitch.

The (in)famous Cow Shed as seen from the Away End.

The Cow Shed – Some of the back of the stand are now missing.  It was always the place with the best atmosphere in the ground.

A closer view of the Main Stand.  As you can tell from the picture it doesn’t look the best.  You used to have to pay an extra pound or two to ‘upgrade’ to a main stand seat!

Believe it or not this is where the players used to emerge from.

One of the dressing rooms.  I must admit I’m not sure if this was the home or away one.  Maybe someone knows?

The showers, though there are no shower heads anymore! Just some nice tiles ruined by Sanex stickers.

The (sort of) view the players would have seen when entering the field of play.

Back outside and the side of the Main Stand.

A stand that is doomed, yet has little wrong with it. The away end again.

Away End, to the toilets.

The back of the away stand.  Lots of cans of beer and aerosols.  Not good.

The away end toilets

The Home End from the away end.  Olivers Mount in the background.

The Home End and Cow Shed. Where the hardcore would watch the Seadogs from.

Running the line, in front of the Cow Shed.

Looking up towards the VIPs

View from the corner.

The only way in these days.

Back outside the old ‘McCain’ Proud to Support sign above the main gates.

Where all the home support entered the ground.

Home End toilets.

RIP Scarborough FC and the Theatre of Chips.


Posted on October 23, 2010, in Football and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Such a harrowing and sad tale, but very informative all the same. A good warning for many a club out there.

  2. Is this thread still active ?

  3. Scarborough Council should hang their heads in shame! I’m a season ticket holder at Leeds United but am a regular visitor to Scarborough & try get to Bridlington when I can to cheer on Athletic. Will the new stadium actually happen? I have serious doubts because the council have already proved the don’t care about football in the town when they refused to throw their weight behind a rescue of Scarborough FC.
    Best of luck to Scarborough Athletic in the search for a new stadium in the borough. You’re a great little club & your supporters are a credit to the town.

    • Put it this way, I’ll believe it when I see it. Scarborough Council has a track record of promising the earth only to subsequently deliver nothing (or very little) and I see no reason why the football ground / leisure complex they talk about should be any different.

      Of course it may happen and I hope it does, but I’m not holding my breath.

      Thanks for visiting the blog. The stadium has actually been destroyed now and so there is nothing there except a muddy field. Very sad to see.

      • Alright Ian. Yeah I pass the site on a regular basis & all that remain are the old gates & that’s it. Very sad indeed! Thanks for posting those pictures. Very interesting if not a little depressing! Good luck to Scarborough Athletic. No disrespect but they are better than NCEL & it’s about time they started climbing the leagues. I’m sure Rudy will deliver!

  4. It’s a shame that bastards had to vandalise the stadium. Apparently the ground has been demolished now.

  5. spent 5 years at boarding school in RHB, so knew the footy ground…there but for the grace of god go we all…such a shame, but hopefully the new SFC will come home to a new municiple stadium one day, and a new era will begin…with a new warnock. Good luck from a Huddersfield Town fan..

  6. anthony hodgson

    So very sad to see the cost left behind of peoples mismanagement of football clubs. As a dagenham and redbridge fan I’m glad We are what We are and the people running the club always have out best interests at heart. Perhaps all those wanting millionaires running their clubs should look at these photos and see the true cost of people running their clubs who don’t have a clue.

  7. Hi,
    I’d just like to complement you on your photos.

    Thank you for the photo of the back entrance which shows how to get in (22nd down). This website helped me in knowing how to get in last Wednesday when i re-visited the stadium to take photos.

    I have got my own photos from the 29th December 2010 @ http://www.mccainstadium.fotopic.net/.
    I have put your link on my website to show other people your collection.


  8. My Dad first took me to the Athletic Ground (as it was then known) in 1964 when I was 10 years old. We lived ten minutes walk from the ground, and it was a cast iron cert that I would go to all of the home games, and some of the aways too. I haven’t clapped eyes on the ground (either at a game or passing by) for about five years. It’s a sad demise for the Theatre of Chips. A pal and work colleague feels the same way about Plough Lane and showed me similar pix before it was raized and built on. He supports AFC Wimbledon (not the ‘old’ Dons, now the MK Dons). I tell him how I saw Wimbledon play at the Athletic Ground in (at least one) FA Trophy match.

  9. So sad, I remember visiting there as a young thirteen year old to see the original Bedford Town play in 1974 in the FA Trophy Semi Final first leg. Snow on the ground, we lost 3-1 but the rendition of the hit Bay City Rollers no.1 hit ‘Bye Bye (baby) BEDFORD bye bye ‘ from the Scarborough faithful still remains in my memory. The ground then was much different, as was at that time the original Bedford ground ‘The Eyrie’ that held 18,000 in its heyday. Another stadium lost forever!!
    RIP Scarborough.
    Incidently the second leg finished 3-1 too, to Scarborough who won 6-2 on agg.

  10. Such a shame to see a nice old stadium end up that way,a sad sign of the times i’m afraid.It is what i call a proper football ground.

  11. very sad photos. good luck to Scarboro Fc for the future

  12. brought a lump to my throat. Gutted to say the least

  13. how did you manage to get onto hinderwell field to get in the ground? thought it was being used by the building firm there.

  14. Gutting to see as enjoyed many a game there with the Imps. Hate to see grounds go this way.

  15. Always sad to see a football ground in this state but some great shots. thanks for sharing.

  16. Some very sad photographs. Well done for capturing the images before the bulldozers arrive.

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