The level which the club are at now is the highest they have been throughout the clubs history, rising up from the lower sections of non-league football during the 1990s, winning the Northern Premier League First Division on the way as well as the Northern League Cup six times. However the most prestigious honour Whitby have won is probably the FA Vase in 1996–97.
Whitby play their home games at the 3,200 capacity stadium the Turnbull Ground in Whitby. The club's colours are somewhat distinct in English football and are intentionally similar to Italian side Sampdoria wearing a blue shirt with a touch of white and red. Due to the town of Whitby having a proud history as a fishing port they are nicknamed as The Seasiders.
The club was founded as Streaneshalch Football Club in October 1880, soon after its foundation the club changed its name to Whitby Church Temperance and played a friendly game against Scarborough on 8 January 1881, which Whitby won 2–0. The name was changed in late 1882 to Whitby Football Club and continued to play friendly games as well as competing in the Scarborough & East Riding County Cup. At this time rugby football codes were more popular, however Whitby and some other sides proved to be important in gaining a foothold for the code of association football especially in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The most prominent player of the early years was John Nicholson, who captained the side for nearly a decade.
During this early period Whitby and Scarborough's rivalry was tense: Whitby beat them in the final of the 1886–87 County Cup, before in the two seasons following Scarborough beat Whitby in the final. There was also a situation in the 1889 FA Cup where Scarborough knocked Whitby out in the First Round, with Whitby complaining that Scarborough's Recreation Ground was an illegal size. Unfortunately the rivalry culminated in one of the first football riots, after a disagreement about a goal, Whitby players were attacked on the pitch by Scarborough fans and eventually chased out to the Scarborough railway station. 19 year old Whitby player Albert Drabble was attacked at the game, died the following month of a heart attack, though links between the incidents were not conclusive it put a large shadow over the fixture.
Whitby joined the Northern League for the first time in 1893 only to return to the Cleveland Amateur League two seasons later. They returned to the Northern League in 1899 and won the Second Division the same season. Again, the cost of travelling forced the Club to leave the Northern League and for a time Whitby reverted to playing friendlies only, a step which put the club into near obscurity. After World War One, the town of Whitby had two clubs, both playing in the Scarborough and District League, Whitby Whitehall Swifts and Whitby Town. Ever conscious of Whitby’s more illustrious past, the two clubs decided to amalgamate in 1926 as Whitby United. The new club was admitted into the Northern League and the club's name was changed to Whitby Town in 1949.
In 1983-84, Whitby came to national prominence when they came back from two goals down to beat Halifax Town 3-2 in the FA Cup first round proper. They were beaten by a late penalty at Wigan in the following round. The same season, Whitby reached the quarter finals of the FA Trophy for the first time losing to Dagenham in a replay.
In 1992-93, Whitby Town won the Northern League Championship for the first time in their history. Unfortunately due to circumstances completely beyond their control, the Club were denied promotion to the Northern Premier League.
The following season, 1996-97, the Club went from strength to strength. A 0-0 draw against Hull City in the first round proper of the FA Cup, was played at Scarborough on police advice, in a remarkable replay at Boothferry Park, Whitby came from behind to take a 4-3 lead which was held until the dying seconds of the game. With only 49 seconds remaining, Hull levelled the score and went on to win 8-4 in extra time. Superior fitness told in the end. This was to be one of only five defeats in the entire season.
The Club came from behind in the Northern League race, winning the Championship in style from neighbours, Billingham Synthonia, before completing an amazing "double" by winning the FA Vase at Wembley, beating North Ferriby United 3-0.
The following season, 1997-98, saw continued success at the Turnbull Ground when the Club won the Northern Premier League First Division Championship by a margin of 7 points at their first attempt as well as beating York City 3-0 in the final of the North Riding Senior Cup to become holders for a fifth time. Whitby again reached the final of the NRSC in 1999 only for York to gain revenge by winning 4-2. In the 1999-2000 season the Seasiders finished 12th in the Northern Premier League and were beaten finalists in the President's Cup, losing over two legs to Trafford after a penalty shootout.
The 2001-2002 season saw Whitby finish in a disappointing 15th in the league, but got to the FA Cup 1st Round for the 7th time, only to lose out to Plymouth Argyle after a replay, 3-2. The first game at the Turnbull Ground which finished 1-1 was played in front of the BBC Match of the Day cameras.
Season 2003/04 saw another excellent cup run halted at the hands of Hartlepool United. The blues put up a spirited show at Victoria Park but fell 4-0 to an excellent Pools side. Whitby also managed to finish in the play off zone for the new Conference North but went out on penalties to Radcliffe Borough, a team they had beaten 5-0, 6-2 and 1-0 in the regular season.
2005/06 saw Logan looking to improve on that great first season and with the building of a brand new 505 seater main stand at the Turnbull Ground the future looked bright.
A new era started at the beginning of the 2006/07 season when former Welsh International Lee Nogan took over the reigns. David Logan left Whitby Town to pursue a new career North of the border.
Lee Nogan resigned in October 2007 after an uncharacteristically bad start to the season for Whitby. Senior player Phil Brumwell took temporary command of first team affairs, helped out by former Spennymoor and Tow Law stalwart Graham Clark.
The pair were awarded the job on a permanent basis early in 2008 and remain at the helm going into the 2008-09 season.
Over the years, Whitby have had several illustrious managers. Dave Richardson was a former Blues' Boss before progressing through senior soccer to become Director of Coaching at the Football Association. More recently, two former Scotland Internationals and World Cup Finalists have taken charge at the Turnbull as the ex-Leeds United stars David Harvey and Eddie Gray both managed and played for Whitby Town in Northern League matches, the latter setting the foundations for the team that has become successful over recent years. Other ex-internationals to grace the Turnbull turf include Peter Lorimer (Leeds and Scotland) and Sunderland's FA Cup winning skipper Bobby Kerr.
In recent times, Sheffield United and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Paddy Kenny appeared for the Blues on loan from Bury in 1998-99 during Town's maiden Unibond League Premier Division season.