Not for the first time and (hopefully) not for the last, we’ve been trawling through the British Library archives. Our aim, obviously, is to join up yet more dots in Stevenage Football Club’s history. And what better excuse is there than Boro’s big four-zero? After ploughing through copies of The Comet, here’s the second in a series of articles from Boro’s early days. The story here? “Trench Warfare Ruins Pitch”.
Once again, we’re not aiming to take rightful credit from our local rags and their writers. It’s also worth mentioning that, due to the nature of the bound copies of The Comet, there’s a boo-boo. Near the end of the main piece, photos we took of the article don’t clearly show the full text. So, we filled them in to the best of our knowledge. We italicised those parts so you can see where they are too.
Article: Trench Warfare Ruins Pitch
Digger rips up drainage pipes and goalposts
The story history of Stevenage Athletic FC took its most bizarre twist yet at lunchtime last Thursday as chairman Javier Reveulta set about proving a point to the people of the town.
An earth-moving machine gouged a foot-deep trench down the centre of the Broadhall Way pitch, smashing a drainage system to stop a youth match taking place.
Both sets of goalposts were smashed and four large holes also dug in the playing surface.
The exercise cost the Bournemouth millionaire £250 – and he may ultimately pay out several thousands more to put right the damage done on his instructions.
The incident followed a fortnight of confrontation with the newly-formed Stevenage Football Club over the use of the Broadhall Way pitch.
The new club had prepared the pitch with the intention of playing a youth team match against Hitchin Town last Saturday.
“I am not against football in Stevenage, but this was forced on me by the actions of others,” Mr Reveulta said afterwards.
“I will not have people taking the law into their own hands. No-one asked my permission to stage this match – had they done so, the answer may well have been ‘yes’.”
An official of Stevenage Football Club was in fact informed of Mr Reveulta’s intended action last week by The Comet.
Secretary and team manager Vic Folbigg’s response was: “I see no reason to change our plans.” Mr Folbigg stated later that requests for youth team matches to be played at the ground had existed for 15 days and no communication had been received from Mr Reveulta or any official of a limited company related to them.
“It is the childish act of a childish man,” said one committee member.
• A group of local businessmen are still hopeful of gaining control of Stevenage Athletic and will resume discussions when Mr Reveulta returns from a trip to America in two weeks’ time.
They issued a statement at the weekend disassociating themselves from the chairman’s actions.
• Stevenage Development Corporation are still determined to regain control of the lease of Broadhall Way from Mr Reveulta.
A spokesman reaffirmed his statement of a week ago that the corporation would be prepared to wipe off the rent arrears in exchange for the lease being returned.
However, Mr Reveulta told The Comet before departing for America that he had instructed his solicitors to pay the rent in full on demand.
John Sellers, The Comet – 11 November 1976
Article: Club Will Not Fail Traders
Last week’s Comet story on Stevenage Athletic FC included a quote from Mr Bill Coldwell that “it would be deplorable if yet another club was allowed to exist in Stevenage with the sole intention of leaving creditors, particularly local tradesmen, stranded yet again.”
It has been suggested to us that this could have caused embarrassment to the newly-formed Stevenage FC, and we wish to make clear that there was no intention whatever to imply that the new club was formed with any such intention.
The Comet – 11 November 1976
Our work at the British Library has also thrown up some results from pre-United Counties League days. We’ll make sure we get them onto the site as soon as we can. Well, once we work out how we fit them in. For the time being, the 1980-1 season remains our starting place. We’ll be back to the British Library soon enough to dig out much more of our 1976-1980 history. Meanwhile, we’re still aiming to fill in the missing gaps between 1980 and 1992. If you think you can help, check out our missing match data page. Until next time…