COMETH THE HOUR

Stevenage Borough’s chairman, Phil Wallace, has made a passionate rallying call to the people of Stevenage, (and beyond), for their support in the run-in to the conclusion of this year’s campaign in the Conference.

Stevenage are challenging for honours against the likes of Luton Town and Oxford United. Both of these clubs have a considerably bigger fan-base than ours, which is reflected in their average home attendances. This means that they are taking in much more money at their turnstiles than we are, and are, arguably, better resourced.

Why should this be?

Time and again, I’ve said that within a 20 minute car drive of Stevenage, there live over 1 million people. ONE MILLION.

We have the “catchment”.

When Peter Taylor joined the Club a couple of season’s ago, I remember him saying that one of his reasons for joining us was the number of ‘chimney-pots’ in the town. We are the second largest town in Hertfordshire, with a population almost as large as Burnley (a Premier League outfit). We should be getting more people in to see the Boro.

In the season 1995-96, we were averaging a home gate of about 3,000, so it can be done.

A number of you used to say to me “when that lot on the pitch perform, then we’ll see more people come to watch”.

Well, “that lot” ARE performing, yet still the gate appears to be a lot less than it should.
Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man.

The Hour is now. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Boro.

Get out there. Spread the word.

Let’s do it, – for our Club…

COMMITTEE MEETING

T’ committee met last Wednesday evening. Agenda items included such things as the Player of the Year Award, Social Events for the coming months, Away Travel, Membership, (and benefits), SA Finances, Baby Boro, and Future Initiatives.

For this meeting, I also invited along a supporter (and member) who had recently registered an interest in what we do and how we go about doing it.

Steve Rackham listened to what we had to say, and contributed objectively to the debate. So much so, that Steve had come prepared with a few ideas of his own.

I find it very gratifying when a new face comes along and offers good ideas, because it affords us the opportunity to engage in something “refreshing”. A new initiative is often greeted with enthusiasm, as was the case last week.

We’ve now got much to think about.

Having spoken with most of my counter-parts in the Conference, I’m confident that the Stevenage Boro SA are doing just as much as any other Club in the Conference.

I am also satisfied in the knowledge that our members do get value for their money as a member of the SA.

PERSONAL APPEAL

Mark Wright is an SA member who lives in Ware. Mark is 21 years old, and absolutely loves this Club.

Sadly, Mark’s sight is deteriorating, to the extent that he’s experiencing difficulties in getting to the Lamex to watch the games.

If there are any Boro supporters who might live in the Ware area, and would be willing to bring Mark to the games (and take him home again), then my gratitude to you would be eternal.

Mark is prepared to contribute to his journey, it’s just the hassle of getting over here and back again. Can anyone help?

If you can, then please get in touch with me, either through the Club, or direct via the contact page of our website (http://www.sa4sbfc.co.uk/) and I will personally give you Mark’s details.

Thank you, – in anticipation.

MATCH DAY STEWARDING

As a regular subscriber to the Football Supporters Federation’s (FSF) newsletter, I read with interest an article regarding the over-zealousness of stewards at some club stadiums. The report states that supporters who pay good money through the turnstiles deserve better treatment from those who purport to represent the Club. Common courtesy, after all, costs nothing.

A major altercation in the FA Cup quarter-final at West Bromwich Albion the other week, between Reading’s players and The Hawthorns stewards, has resulted in an FA investigation being launched. The Daily Mail quotes Reading’s mid-fielder, Brian Howard, as saying that “the power of wearing one of those bright orange jackets seems to go straight to their heads”.

The FSF adds to the debate by saying that “Clubs are often far too willing to dismiss fans’ concerns about aggressive stewarding, but if players are beginning to protest, then surely it’s about time they listened”.

Personally, I have no issue with our stewarding here at Stevenage. I think it well organised. I know that most of our stewards are regular stalwarts who do a good job in, sometimes, demanding circumstances. However, I too have often-times witnessed “over-zealous” stewarding at some of our opponents venues, and yes, it does tend to spoil an otherwise pleasant outing. As a qualified occupational safety practitioner myself, I often hear myself saying “why, oh why, doesn’t common-sense prevail?”

CLUB ANTHEMS

I was reading last week that Notts County fans have chosen a new club anthem in an online vote. Almost 1,000 fans took part, and a majority elected to go for Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. There were nine other songs on the shortlist which included “Take me out” by Franz Ferdinand, and “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses.

BBC (Anglia) recently ran an item in a programme which looked at Club anthems in the Region.

Peterborough Utd – used to be the “Post Horn Gallop”, but have since renewed it with the theme from “The Great Escape”

MK Dons – they play “She Sells Sanctuary” by the Cult. It should be noted though that MK’s chairman (Pete Winkleman) has installed a highly sophisticated state-of-the-art sound system at the impressive Stadium MK, just to emphasise the output…

Northampton – the Cobblers play “Liquidator” by Harry J Allstars, – the same as Chelsea

Southend Utd – run out to “Put Your Hands Up” by Fedde le Gande

Ipswich – well, they prefer something more classical, with Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” (you know, the Old Spice Advert, – or the X-Factor intro)

Question: What would you have as the Stevenage Borough anthem? Do let me know

FINANCIAL PROFLIGACY

Listening to a programme on BBC’s Radio 4 the other week, I became captivated when listening to a discussion concerning West Ham United, and the fact that the playing staff will be asked to take a cut in their salaries next season. I was astonished to learn that despite West Ham having paid £7m for Kieran Dyer, he’s only started for the Club on five occasions in the past two years.

The discussion then went on to include football debt in general, and cited clubs like Portsmouth and Crystal Palace as examples of financial profligacy.

Author and journalist, David Conn, was a contributor to the debate. Conn made a very good point when he said that whilst the multi-millionaires on the pitch were earning tens of thousands of pounds a week, (every week), some clubs were actually reneging on commitments to their essential suppliers. At one Premier League club, the St. John’s Ambulance hadn’t been paid in over nine months. Personally, I find this to be absolutely outrageous.

I’d love to hear what SA members views are on this. You know where to contact me.

I WANT…

The run-in for the Conference title is as tight now as I can ever remember it. Now is the time for Stevenage fans to get behind the Club, – and Graham’s team.

After 16 years in the Conference, getting into the Football League is the challenge.

I really want the fans to get behind the Boro and to buy into what we’re trying to achieve here at the football club.

I want everyone in the area to be proud of supporting Stevenage. I don’t want to see people walking round the town with Arsenal, Chelsea, or Spurs shirts on. I want to see them walking round with Stevenage shirts on. That’s what I want…

Lloyd Briscoe
Chairman of Stevenage Borough Supporters Association

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