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Whitby Town >> 2008/09 >> Rough Guide > Whitby

Club Details
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Whitby Town Football Club
The Turnbull Ground
Upgang Lane
North Yorkshire
YO21 3HZ

Telephone - 01947 604847 (office) / 01947 603193 (club house)

Windows Live map

Matchday prices: Grown ups - £7.50
Dead-soon-anyway-so-let'em-have-it-cheap - £4.50
ASBOs U16 - £2.00
Who the hell are Whitby Streaneshalch Football Club?
Bored of ‘United’? Tired of ‘FC’? ‘Diamonds’ just not doing it for you? Then perhaps you should take a leaf out of Whitby’s book, jump into football’s time machine, head back to the 1880s and call your team something like ‘Streaneshalch Football Club’. Or if that’s just not what you’re looking for, perhaps we can interest you in ‘[INSERT TOWN HERE] Church Temperance’? Hell, yeah! That’s the stuff.

Or not. A flick through the dusty archives (Wikipedia) reveals Whitby’s founding fathers certainly had an eye for the unusual and the original when if came to naming their team, but disappointingly they clearly didn’t have the courage to stand by their convictions, for Whitby Church Temperance eventually became plain old Whitby FC. Gah!

After a spell of playing friendly games, Whitby dallied with competitive football in various leagues, including the Northern League, and a somewhat tense rivalry with the scoundrels from Scarborough swiftly developed – and escalated. Fans of the respective clubs would taunt each other over the perceived deficiencies in their opponents’ Victorian spas, sea defences and brass band orchestras, with the bad feeling and burning local pride often leading to the sort of violent conflict one normally associates with Hull city centre on a Friday night.

After a number of off-pitch skirmishes (see Claims to Fame) the rivalry evaporated when Whitby FC reverted to playing head-and-volleys on park pitches, the cost of travelling eventually proving too much for their fragile finances. Their withdrawal from the Big Football scene allowed other club, Whitby Whitehall Swifts, to step up and try their hand at singing songs denigrating Scarborough’s arcades. However, by 1926 the folly of having two clubs in Whitby became evident and the two clubs decided to merge. Rather than keep another great team name in Swifts, the newly formed club opted for another dull cop-out in ‘United’. This name lasted a few years before the current ‘Whitby Town’ was finally adopted after the Second World War.

Scanning the club’s history, very little of note appears to happen for several decades, with the exception of the odd cup run, so we can safely skip forward to Whitby’s remarkable 1996/1997 season without missing too much. In a year remembered by Boston fans for THAT Greg Fee penalty miss, Whitby fans lapped up a cracking League and Vase double triumph and a high profile FA Cup tie against Hull City.

The FA cup tie was certainly dramatic. Whitby managed to scrape a 0-0 draw at Scarborough’s Theatre of Chips – to where the game had been switched on police advice- and, thrillingly, very nearly beat Hull at Boothferry Park in the replay, blowing a 4-3 lead with less than a minute to go. They eventually lost 8-4 in a game even we recall from a FA Cup Match of the Day. There was to be no such drama in the FA Vase final at Wembley, however, as Whitby won claimed their prize at a canter with a 3-0 thumping of North Ferriby, topping off their Northern League title win and promotion to the dizzy heights of the Northern Premier League.

Whitby’s momentum was such that they steamrollered the NPL Division One the following season, winning their second successive title with seven points to spare. Whitby were promoted to the Northern Premier League and they have remained there ever since, flirting with the playoffs twice (2003/2004 and 2004/2005) and enjoying more than their fair share of cup success.

Claims to fame
The club was infamously home to one of the first recorded full-on football rucks when Whitby players were attacked by a bunch of furious Scarborough fans and almost literally run out of town.

The skirmish is probably best explained by the fact that the two clubs were huge rivals in the early part of the 20th century. Worryingly for a local constabulary more accustomed to dealing with lost ice creams and seagulls trapped in shop windows, circumstances (such as insolvency) dictate that this rivalry may well be renewed sooner rather than later.

Last three seasons
2007/2008 – 13th in Northern Premier
2006/2007 – 11th in Northern Premier
2005/2006 – 6th in Northern Premier
Where do they keep getting caught offside?

Whitby’s Turnbull Ground has recently been improved with the addition of a sparkling new main stand and, from the images we’ve seen, it looks like a decent enough place to watch a football match. Having yet to visit the ground, we’ve little constructive to say about it, so again we’ll leave you with a fuzzy aerial shot. Again.

Aerial reconnaissance

So. Hucknall....
The world is broadly divided into two types of seaside town. At one end of the spectrum you have places like Skegness. Riddled with crime (of the organised and unorganised variety), they are the sort of towns that exist purely to strip the cash from your pocket while offering absolutely nothing in return, except the opportunity to find yourself cornered by feral vermin taking offence at your accent, accidental execution by gangsters as turf-wars spill over from the nearest Midlands city and perhaps the odd back-street brothel masquerading as a Chinese takeaway.

At the other end of the spectrum you find places like Robin Hoods Bay, Filey and Whitby.


A visit to Whitby, unlike Skeggy, won’t leave you feeling as though you need a chemical bath and exfoliation by a combine harvester, principally because as a working port, oozing charm, atmosphere and history, the town is capable of supporting itself without encouraging visits from groups of people on day release from the local prison/mental institution/provincial Midlands city (delete as applicable).

Neither the distance from Boston nor the fact that we’re set for a winter visit should dissuade you from making the trip to Whitby this season. Indeed, we’d contend that Whitby is actually best enjoyed in the bitter winter months we enjoy in this blasted country (August-July).

Where better to huddle in a tea-house with the wind and rain battering the windows and the River Esk churning towards the harbour? Not in Ilkeston, that’s for sure.

For a town of its size, there is a huge amount to see and do. Whitby has a thriving creative community and hosts a number of music, arts, sports and, um, gothic festivals. Of course, we’ll miss all those, but you can still fill a day wandering about the fishing port, the Dracula museum, the harbour and the ruined abbey. And a trip isn’t complete unless you’ve visited the Captain Cook statue and had your photo taken under the famous whalebone.

Unfortunately Whitby’s charms make it a tourist hotspot even in winter, so attractions such as the Magpie (supposedly the finest fish and chips in England, although some folk in Guiseley may dispute that) are often horrendously busy. Boston fans will no doubt contribute to the congestion, but nevertheless our advice is to muck in and make a weekend of it.

There's loads more useful information about Whitby available on the club's official website. Clickity-click HERE.

Official Site - In our humble opinion, the finest official site in the division by some considerable distance. It appears to have been designed with the away fan in mind and the pub guide, in particular, is inspired. Brilliant stuff.
Unofficial Site

Anything to add?
Tell us more about Whitby, recommend a pub or try and obtain our bank details by E-MAILING us.

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