It’s been 15 years since the famous incidents of the 1998 FA Cup tie where non-league Stevenage defied the odds to earn a replay against Newcastle- only to be defeated at St. James Park by goal from Alan Shearer that never was.
Fast forward to the modern day and ‘progression’ is the word on the lips of every Boro fans’ lips.
Today Stevenage announced the official plans for their brand new £1.2 million North stand development. It will provide home fans with 1,700 extra seats taking the capacity to 8,000 as the stadium begins to lose its trademark terrace character.
This work, together with facelift to the West Stand and the brand new training centre due to open soon, is a massive statement of intent from chairman Phil Wallace for the future of this growing football club.
£1.2 million for a stand is a massive financial commitment to the Lamex Stadium, and to the elation of most Boro fans suggests that it will be our home for the foreseeable future. Rumours were strong that the club were contemplating pulling up sticks and moving to the edge of town – but Wallace always has this club’s best interests at heart.
Progression is also the theme of on the pitch as well.
No one could even believe the events of the last three years.
Luton had shot gunned the Blue Square Premier title after a 30 point penalty plunged them through the trap door of the football league; and yet Stevenage ran away with Blue Square Premier title to escape the clutches of their nemesis-like non-league status.
Fast forward to the quest for League 2 survival, and despite exorcising the demons of 1998 as Newcastle were humiliated on a cold night at the Lamex, the Boro languished in 18th place in the division.
The good thing about Manager-at-the-time Graham Westley’s attitude was that he always had an ace up his sleeve. 18th place in January became a 6th place finish in April. The play-offs were three jobs well done and back-to-back promotions were completed with an Old Trafford rocked a ‘Dale Cavese’ from the 5,000 Boro faithful. I remember walking back to the tram station with my old man, talking to a fellow fan bawling his eyes out in joy- pure passion on show right there.
No one could have predicted this. We used to be non-league as the song goes, but here we were League 1 and the quest for stability began. The bubble had to pop, Westley left and Gary Smith- who won the MLS cup in 2010, took the reins.
The destiny train derailed at Bramall Lane in the play-offs last season, and the rebuilding process began as players said their farewells with fresh new faces being brought it.
The creases in the squad’s transition are slowly being ironed out and this investment off the pitch is a commitment to the cause- that we will not settle for League 1; the Championship is the dream!
Progression. This is what this club is about. Never sitting still. Always pushing forward.
”We’ve come a long way in the 12 years I’ve been here and we can’t stop now” PHIL WALLACE, Stevenage Chairman