Outhart’s sporting switch after short Boro spell

Where are they now?
Where are they now?

Tony Outhart has really hit the ground running after dipping his toe into the professional game with Scarborough FC.

The home-grown winger picked one of the club’s brightest periods to make his bow, emerging from the reserves in the 1987-88 season and booking a place in the first-team squad.

Tony Outhart, centre, with Craig Short and Mitch Cook

Tony Outhart, centre, with Craig Short and Mitch Cook

Though the former St Peter’s and St Augustine’s pupil’s big breakthrough was mainly a case of being in the right place at the right time.

He said: “I was always involved in youth football locally. As youngsters we used to go down to the ground when Colin Appleton was in charge and watch the games. Ken Boyes also used to do a bit of coaching with us.

“I was too lightweight and too small as a youngster, so I made the decision to go to do my A-Levels and then go on to St John’s College in York, where I finished with a first-class honours degree.

“While I was training to be a PE teacher, I grew taller and got a bit quicker.

“Many people have a gap year after university, mine was coming back to Scarborough and setting up a soccer school with my pal Steve Schmuck.

“I was also playing for Bridlington Town and Bridlington Trinity as well.

“At the time Scarborough’s Reserves played in the Midland Senior League, they used to fill that team with fringe players and a few local lads.

“As is always the case in a story, I had a bit of luck. When I was playing for Boro against Chesterfield Reserves Neil Warnock turned up.

“It was 0-0 at half-time. I was doing okay, but as a team we weren’t playing very well.

“Neil came into the dressing room fuming and I had my first experience of a Warnock rant. I was the only one spared.

“We went out in the second half, won 6-0 and I scored two.

“He found me afterwards and said that he wanted me to sign on, the rest is history.”

Outhart edged closer and closer to the first team with Boro, but also maintained his focus away from the game to increase his options.

“My debut for the club was in March of 1988 when I came on as a sub against Exeter.

“With half an hour to go Neil (Warnock) noticed that our new signing Simon Lowe had moulded studs on, so he brought him off.

“You would like to think that I was given my chance because Neil thought I could change the game, but it was because somebody was wearing the wrong boots.

“Just after that I made my full debut at Newport and managed to score. I didn’t realise I scored two that night, my first and my last.

“In that first year in the league, half of us were full-time and half of us had jobs.

“After finishing mid-table in the first season, the club had to look at going full-time to carry on competing.

“I spoke to Neil and he said that there would be a way to combine my teaching at the technical college, doing my soccer school and playing football.

“I was really looking forward to the next season, but it soon became clear that he wanted everyone full-time.

“Colin Morris came in as player-coach and it became clear that my opportunities would be few and far between.”

Outhart may have played his last game for the club, but his links certainly continued.

He added: “Sean Marshall got in touch with me and I signed for him at Frickley in the Northern Premier.

“Most of my non-league football had a Scarborough connection.

“After spells at Harrogate Town and Railway, Ray McHale asked me to play for Guiseley and I had four great seasons there.

“The managers I played under were Ray, Mitch Cook and then Steve Richards.

“It just shows the influence that Neil had in that dressing room because there were a lot of managers that came out of that team, successful ones as well.”

Outhart’s career in the game may have been relatively short, but it gave the winger plenty of great memories.

It also gave him the opportunity to follow in his father George’s footsteps in playing for the club.

He said: “To pick two eras to be involved, one as a kid going down to all the Wembley finals and then a second as a player when we played the first few seasons in the league, I think those were the right ones.

“My abiding memory was when my dad was watching, he was very proud of me and that was a very satisfying feeling.

“Over the years I don’t think there were many father and sons that both played for Scarborough FC, but we managed it.

“I also had the opportunity to play against some great players during my time.

“When I was at Harrogate Town I came up against Alan Kennedy, who was at Netherfield. There I was, playing against somebody who scored the winning goal in a European Cup final and he spent the whole game coaching me.

“Then, at Frickley, I played against Leeds in a pre-season friendly, they had a great squad.

“For some reason Sean wanted me to play centre-midfield and it turned out I was up against Vinnie Jones and David Batty, so you can imagine how that went.

“I got in at half-time and I told Sean that he had to get me out of there.

“He moved me out to the right wing and Leeds put a completely different team out.

“It turned out I was up against England full-back Tony Dorigo and Gordon Strachan, I crawled off that pitch at the end.”

Outhart was fortunate that he had plenty to fall back on when he left the game in 2000.

“I got a job as head of faculty at York College in 1994, so I decided that I needed to play locally,” he added.

“I had a season at Whitby, playing under Harry Dunn and also played under John Bowman at Brid Town.

“It was hard finishing my football career, especially at the start because you had nothing to do on a Saturday.

“It was becoming more and more difficult though,. When you get older, your body doesn’t hold up as well and also I was doing a lot of travelling to my job at York College.

“When I was a teacher, I got involved in writing text books and I found I had an aptitude for it.

“They became quite successful, so I had to make a choice.

“I had another bit of luck because I applied for promotion at York and they didn’t give it to me.

“I decided to leave and do publishing, set up the company in 2000 and a year later I sold out to the PLC.

“Since then I’ve been involved in six more businesses, helped grow them, taken them to market and sold them.”

Outhart’s success has since allowed him to take a big step into another professional sport, horse racing.

He said: “When I sold a company in 2001, the PLC I sold it to bought a number of other companies at the time.

“Through this I got talking to people in a similar position, who had made the step into horse racing.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch, so after I went racing with them on a few occasions I was invited into the syndicate to contribute into the pot.

“I said that I’d do that on the condition that the horse was trained in the north.

“They said okay to that as long as I went to buy it, which was something I’d obviously never done before.

“One thing I learned was when you go to the sales and you see somebody you know, don’t wave at them.

“I went to see Ferdy Murphy in Middleham and bought a horse from him.

“It won first time out, ran at the Cheltenham Festival the following year and came third, so I thought it was easy.

“After that we bought another five or six, but they proved to be no good.”

Things have since gathered pace for Outhart and his syndicate.

They are now poised to field two of their horses in the Grand National, which takes place a week on Saturday.

“We bought a very good horse called O’Faolain’s Boy, who won the 2014 RSA Chase,” Outhart added.

“When you win a big race it is like a bug, you are hooked.

“We have bought a few more now, so between us we own 18 horses.

“It is exciting going to the sales and buying a very young horse, giving it a couple of years, bringing it to the race course and hoping it does well.

“All of the horses we owned were national hunt horses, so we thought it would be a good fun to have a flat horse.

“I went to see John Quinn at Malton and we bought half-a- dozen flat horses.

“The first of those horses won as well, so we bought a few more.

“The highs in horse racing are very high.

“Winning the Coral Cup in 2008 and the RSA Chase in 2014 were just amazing experiences.

“But when you have a few horses you begin to realise how many lows there are. When you horse falls or gets badly injured.

“In truth, you don’t make any money out of racehorse ownership unless you are very lucky.

“Most people involved as owners do so because they have been successful at something else and they can fund what is a hobby.

“It is a privilege to have another professional sporting pastime.”

As well as racing, Outhart still has a huge interest in football and he is looking forward to Scarborough Athletic coming back to town next year.

He added: “If somebody asks me who I support I say Manchester United. But if somebody asks me who I really support, I’d say Scarborough.

“Every former Scarborough player interviewed will say that it is such a shame to see the McCain Stadium now, because it is exactly that.

“When Scarborough Athletic come back and play in the town, I’ll go down and support them.

“We need football back in the town because football is the focal point of the community. I hope that happens very soon.”