How many of you have read it? How many of you have even heard of it? The Act covers a number of issues relating to you, the fan, coming to football regularly in order to support your team.

One aspect of this Act requires the police to report to the Football Banning Orders Authority with regard to statistical data on any arrests effected at all the English & Welsh football grounds, – including those in the Football Conference.

I have just read the latest report, published in December 2009. In it, I was saddened to see that throughout the Blue Square Premier, there were 96 arrests last season.

I won’t go into detail about which clubs were saddled with the worst offenders, but I will say that, along with Altrincham, Crawley, Eastbourne, Grays, Histon, Lewes, Rushden, and Woking, – Stevenage Borough had NO arrests attributable to any of our games, home or away.

To the best of my knowledge, I know of no arrests of Stevenage ‘fans’ for this season to-date, either.

It pleases me no end, to be able, once again, to applaud the supporters of Stevenage Football Club.

We have an enviable reputation – let us make absolutely sure that we retain it, – always…

Was the amount on the cheque which I was honoured to present to the Club at the recent home game against AFC Wimbledon, on behalf of the Supporters Association.

Marcus Taverner, Club Director, was good enough to accept our cheque on behalf of the Club.

The SA’s Constitution states that one of the principal functions of our organisation is to provide funds to assist the Club.

That is what we do.

One of our primary sources of raising this income is through the 50/50 tickets, which are sold at every home game. This initiative is vital to the SA.

The team on the pitch are doing great at the moment. It’s February, and we are “Top of the League”.

Let’s make sure we maintain the momentum. You too can help. Buy a 50/50 ticket – or two..!

I was reading a document entitled “English Football and its Governance” the other day. It is a paper produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group, designed to provoke and stimulate debate about how our national sport is governed.

Alan Keen MP is the chairman of this group, and I found the report a most interesting read. Time and again it proposed that club supporters should have a greater say in how the game is managed. It suggests that a delegate from a national democratic supporter’s organisation should sit on the main FA Board, and that all FA committees should (in future) report into the FA Board, and not (as is now) the FA Council.

It further goes on to recommend that every football league club (all 92 of them) should have an elected supporter’s representative on every single Club’s board.

Even Dr Rogan Taylor (University of Liverpool) points out that six of the last fifteen Champions League winners have been clubs owned and run by the fans.

The report (dated April 2009) drew its conclusions from a number of sources and witnesses from right across the spectrum of football. Notably, the club ‘FC United of Manchester’ were represented by no less than three of their officials during the examination of witnesses in May 2008.

The real beauty of football is that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and (generally) has an opinion to express.

How does the average club supporter have his or her say in how their Club is operated?

It’s a national debate, which will run and run.

The fans of Stevenage Borough Football Club are in the comfortable position of knowing that their club is well run, with a pro-active board and a dedicated back-room staff.

A combination of the professional stance which the Club adopts, as well as the passion which emanates from the supporters who make those turnstiles click, stands for a potent mixture, – and a recipe for ultimate success.

The Supporters Association, your Supporters Association, is the conduit which provides that vital link.

Ten years ago, the SA’s President, Jim Briscoe, came up with the idea of “Baby Boro”. His philosophy then, as it is now, was to get youngsters into supporting the Boro at an early age, and in doing so, the chances are that they’ll probably stay supporters for the rest of their lives.

The initiative has since been closely watched with interest by several other clubs, (Norwich City, – to name but one).

In May 2000, Leo Blair, the son of the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, became a member. Leo’s mum, Cherie, wrote to the SA expressing her delight and appreciation at the scheme.

It is with enormous pride and pleasure that I am able to welcome Baby Boro’s 2000th member. Congratulations to Jack Deeble who was born on December 29th.

The Supporters Association recognises and values the Club’s position in the Community, and as a family Club we welcome new-born children as members of the Association. There is absolutely no cost to the parent. The child will enjoy associate membership up to and including their fifth birthday and thereafter you may enrol them for full membership should you so desire.

Membership forms are available from the Stevenage Register Office, or you can download one from our website.

What a great night we had the other week. Chris Day did a fantastic job as the MC, and we thank him for a job well done. Our new Social Secretary, Paul Lyme, now has two successful events for which he can be justifiably proud.

Well done Paul. We’re all looking forward to the next one.

Jimmy used to play for the Boro in the early 1980’s, when this Club once plied its trade in the United Counties League, – along with other memorable characters as Danny Dance, Johnny Downes, Paul Peterson, Tim Jolly, etc..

I was sorry to learn that Jimmy suffered a serious stroke toward the end of last year.
I understand that he is now at home and recuperating. Jimmy, on behalf of the SA, I wish you well and a speedy recovery.

Some of you will be aware of the fact that I am compiling a history of football in Stevenage, going back to the inception of organised football in 1884.
A number of individuals have allowed me access to their own collections of ephemera, either to inspect or copy. Others have actually given me artefacts from times gone by. A red & white Stevenage Town rattle from the 1950’s is a particular favourite of mine.

A few weeks ago, I was absolutely delighted to receive a clock, the property of an old school-mate, Colin Armitage. Colin’s father was the Stevenage Town FC Supporters’ Club social organiser from 1945, and the clock was a gift from the supporters, on the occasion of his wedding.

The objective of this initiative is to document a history so that future generations might be able to appreciate the efforts made by Stevenage Borough’s predecessors, in times gone by.

Ultimately, the plan is that the collection will be offered to the Stevenage Museum.

If anyone has anything, anything at all, that they might be able to contribute, or loan for the purposes of copying, then please get in touch with me. A sincere and sensitive response is guaranteed.

Lloyd Briscoe
Chairman of Stevenage Borough Supporters Association

2,254 thoughts on “Chairman’s Blog – Issue 9

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