1985-1986 early f
1990-1991 a f
1991-1992 a e
1994-1996 b c
1996-1998 b c g
2002-2004 b c
2009-2010 b d g
2010-2011 d g
After just eight years of existence the Hertfordshire towns' only senior club, Stevenage Athletic, became bankrupt in 1976. A group of enthusiasts formed a new club known at the time simply as Stevenage FC to take it's place. Initially the new team played at junior level in the Chiltern Youth League. Athletic's pitch at Broadhall Way had been dug up by its new owner, a local businessman, who bought the ground from the local council and was determined to make it impossible for it to be used for football in the future. Stevenage played on a roped off pitch on the King George V playing fields. Some time later, the team moved up to intermediate level and joined the Wallspan Southern Combination.
By the end of the decade, no development had taken place at the derelict Broadhall Way, which had become such an eyesore that the council decided to repurchase it and return it to use as a football ground. This prompted the board at Stevenage FC to move up to senior level in 1980 and become tenants of the council at the restored ground. At the same time, the club changed its name to Stevenage Borough (giving recognition to the role of the council) and were admitted to the United Counties League First Division.
Success arrived immediately with the UCL Division One championship and League Cup and in 1984 the club stepped up to the Isthmian League, one level below the National Conference. Successive promotions in 1991 and 1992 took the club to the Isthmian Premier League and in 1994 they won the title and with it, promotion to the National Conference.
The crest shown on the left was worn in the 1993-94 season and possibly earlier while that shown on the right appeared in 1994. Neither were particularly distinguished, reflecting perhaps the modest resources at the club's disposal at the time.
Only two years later, in 1996, Boro' won the Conference title but were denied promotion because Broadhall Way did not meet Football League standards.
The following season, the new team strip, a novel affair featuring diagonal stripes was adorned with a very attractive new crest, which featured a helm and decorative banners from the town's coat of arms while the hart appears on both the Stevenage and Hertfordshire coats of arms. The legend "Vauxhall Conference Champions 1996" was embroidered, defiantly, above the badge.
Over the following seasons, the team enjoyed good runs in the FA Cup and in 1998 they took Newcastle United to a replay and were unfortunate to be beaten 1-2 at St James' Park. Despite the revenue generated from these extended FA Cup adventures, the club was in serious financial difficulty and faced closure in 1999 until Phil Wallace, CEO of the Lamex Food Group bought a controlling interest.
Under Wallace's chairmanship, the club's finances steadily improved and, critically, in partnership with the local authority, the stadium was improved until it was recognised as one of the best outside the Football League, with a capacity of 7,100 including a brand new stand costing £600,000 completed in 2001 not to mention a £5m training facility at nearby Shephalbury Park.
In 2002 Stevenage reached the FA Trophy final for the first time (they were beaten 0-2 by Yeovil Town) and in 2005 they reached the play-offs but fell short in the final where they narrowly lost to Carlisle United. In 2007 they were in the final for the second time where they met Kidderminster Harriers in the newly re-opened Wembley Stadium. Borough conceded two goals but triumphed 3-2 in front of a record 53,262 crowd. A second FA Trophy win came in 2009 by which time the team was regularly challenging for play-off places.
After a strong 2009-10 campaign, the Hertfordshire club secured the Conference title and automatic promotion to the Football League with two games to spare, narrowly missing out on a double, losing to Barrow 1-2 in extra-time in the FA Trophy final.
In May 2010 it was announced on the club's website that the name would revert to the original Stevenage FC from 1 June, retaining "The Boro" as official nickname. After a memorable first season in the Football League, Stevenage won promotion to nPower League One. The crest was slightly modified for the 2011-12 season by being placed on a shield but reverted to the former version two seasons later, in 2013.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the club in 2016-17, supporters were consulted about their favourite Boro kit and the result was a re-creation of the dramatic diagonal stripes from 1996-98.
- (a) boroguide.co.uk
- (b) Matthew Kett FC Boro.co.uk
- (c) From Alliance to Conference (John Harman 2004)
- (d) Stevenage Borough FC Official Website
- (e) Darren "Statto" Jones
- (f) Lloyd Briscoe, secretary of the Stevenage Borough Supporters' Association.
- (g) Keith Ellis
- (h) Michael Gluck
Crests are the property of Stevenage Borough Supporters Association for Stevenage Borough FC. Photograph courtesy of boroguide.co.uk.