It was a privilege to be at Aggborough with the 1,000 or so Stevenage fans, to witness our win, and the squad’s on-pitch celebrations afterwards. What a great day..
I have been involved with football in this town for many years. I used to help sell pools tickets with my dad for Stevenage Town. I was involved in a Junior’s section of the Stevenage Athletic club when I was just 15. I now have the honour of being chairman of the Stevenage Borough Supporters Association. In all that time, I have rarely experienced such a feeling as I did on April 17th.
Our Club has come of age. We now live in a Football League town.
I vividly remember the early “Fairclough” years, rising through the ranks of the Isthmian League, with regular promotions. In the 1990-91 season, the club won the League with 107 points, having score 122 goals. Phenomenal at the time. Just three years later, Stevenage won the Diadora League and were promoted into the Conference. In 1996, against all the odds, we won that too. The Club’s supporters were used to success. The expectation was high. The following season we played Birmingham City in the FA Cup at St Andrews. We were on ‘Match of the Day’. The next year we experienced the Newcastle United matches, and the whole world knew who Stevenage Borough were.
Halcyon days indeed.
Sadly however, a hiatus occurred after that. We were always a good ‘top half of the table’ club, but didn’t quite realise the glory we’d always been promising.
We achieved a Conference play-off final at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium, but succumbed to that solitary goal by Carlisle.
We were finalists in the FA Trophy at Villa Park, but were unsuccessful against Yeovil.
Since then however, we’ve won the FA Trophy twice. I honestly never, ever thought I’d see ‘my’ Club play at Wembley. On Saturday May 9th 2007, when Stevenage played Kidderminster Harriers in front of a crowd of over 53,000, – I cried. When Ronnie Henry lifted that Trophy, I blubbed like a baby. Even now, that final comes in at number 23 in Wembley’s top 50 greatest ever finals. Incredible.
It is very reassuring for me, as the Chair of the organisation representing our supporters, to be secure in the knowledge that we have a good, focussed chairman in Phil Wallace, and a strong, determined manager in Graham Westley. Throughout the playing squad and the back-room staff, the chemistry is absolutely right. It is like a well-lubricated machine. It’s taken a while, but the ‘Destiny’ train has finally arrived.
Our mission now must be to promote the Club to further successes, and to get more and more people to come watch Stevenage. If we’re to maintain our status in the Football League, then we must increase our home support. Within a half hour car drive from our town, there live over a million people. We have the catchment. We have the stadium. We have the team. We have the club. More than ever, we need you.
Chairman of Stevenage Borough Supporters Association