Are you going to Scarborough fair? (A Football Manager 2020 story)


After the new update messed my journeyman save up, I decided to start a new game in the lower leagues of England, outside the normal selectable leagues. I wanted a club either with a historic past, or at least linked with one. When I was a young bairn growing up, kicking a ball around the back streets pretending I was David White, Scarborough were a Football League Club, thanks in part to the efforts of a certain Neil Warnock. They also went on a cup run of sorts, dumping out Chelsea in the league cup before being thumped by Oldham Athletic 7-0, Frankie Bunn doing the damage with 6 goals. Oldham, under Joe Royle, also thumped West Ham 6-0 in the semi-final first leg, eventually succumbing to a solitary goal from Nigel Jemson in the final.

Anyway, enough of the past. Scarborough FC were officially wound up on 20th June 2007, with debts around £2.5 million (that won’t even by you the left leg of a decent championship striker nowadays). 5 days later, Scarborough Athletic FC applied to membership of the North Counties East League, starting their revival at rival town Bridlington due to no suitable stadium availability in the area. Since then, Scarborough have finally moved back home to the Flamingo Land Stadium, which is eerily close to where the Theatre Of Chips (McCain Stadium), the old Scarborough stadium, once stood (housing and a budget supermarket now stand where former greats like Kevin Blackwell, Tommy Mooney, Darren Foreman and Jason “Jasper” White plied their trade). They have also managed to earn several promotions up to the Northern Premier League Premier Division, where this story begins (finishing 8th last year).

Upon meeting the chairman Trevor Bull, I could tell my work was already cut-out. Limited money for transfers (£2k) and minimal available for wages. The squad looked ok on paper, but the fact the requirement was to avoid relegation, something the media (and players after my first meeting) thought was a real possibility, didn’t fill me with confidence. Not sure what Trevor Bull does, a Google search leads me to some nice holiday cottages near Scarborough, and if they are his I think I need to revisit my deal to include accommodation in the near future. Let’s get some grace in the bank first though, after all I’ve already hit him up with a request to continue my coaching badges and find a senior affiliate for the team (to which he both agreed).

Despite the negativity, on first glance there looks to be some ability and a fair bit of potential in the current crop. Kieran Glynn looks a gifted right-winger, although he is only on loan from Salford City (and we are paying his wages, who agreed to that). Of the players we own, Walshaw and Coulson are best rated, although both now the wrong side of 30. Coulson is also club captain, and I don’t envisage that changing as I want to keep the squad on side. We also have Connor Thompson on loan from Gateshead, who can also play down the right or up front. Again, we are paying his wages though (he’s our highest earner at the moment, although I have put in a few contract offers for some released players, so that may change). Hopefully if we do find an affiliate club soon, I can fill the squad with loan players we don’t pay for, to release some of the pressure on the club finances.

Regarding incomings, I’ve brought in a couple of staff so far and am looking for a few more as the current team is bare bones to say the least. Reserve keeper Tom Morgan is my goalkeeping coach, while assistant manager Dave Merris is also a player. Pre-season sees us travelling to face Bottesford Town, then Cambridge Under-23’s at home, before another road trip to face Harrogate Railway. Back at home we then welcome Oldham Under-23’s (hopefully not another 7-0 incoming), before travelling to Billingham Town then finally a showdown with local rivals Bridlington Town. The season proper kicks off with a home game against Lancaster, in which I’m hoping we may have a few more new faces in by then.

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Author: siepod

Massive technology geek Former runner looking to rediscover two working knees Ex Personal trainer currently looking to escape self imposed fitness exile Manchester City season ticket holder until 1998 & again from 2002 to present Atlético Madrid season ticket holder 1999-2001 & still follow from afar Love creative writing, and former journalist for Opta Soccer, Planetfootball & Sky Sports Former games tester, researcher and designer for Gremlin Interactive, Infogrames & Dinamic Multimedia

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