You can safely assume that, when BoroGuide started in July 2002, we didn’t know how we’d go down – let alone how long we’d last. We had no idea if we’d be popping up and fading out in the time it took you to say Stevenage Borough Football Club. But here we still are; 20 years young and no signs (yet) of properly packing it in. Yeah, of course we’ve had wobbles along the way. We weren’t so hot on the return of GW in 2008 (and were proved grossly wrong). And we ran out of puff for a bit when things were at their most grim during the 2021-2 season. Not that we went anywhere of course. The stats were still ticking over in the background.
For the most part, we’ve enjoyed the last 20 years.
Sure, it’s not without its sacrifice. There have been late nights and early mornings to pull site revamps together after we accidentally hit a go-live button. We’ve cracked out the laptop in Sydney, Phnom Penh, and Hanoi to keep all things Boro’ up to date; our reward for booking holibobs during the season. And we’ve been hammering the refresh function on the Livescore app when we ended up at a rainy England v Sri Lanka Test match at Cardiff instead of the League Two playoff final in Manchester. But we’ve always tried to make sure that we kept pace with Boro’. We’ve been a godsend, a nuisance, an oddity, and a stats machine. For 20 years. 20.
Looking back over 20 years…
You don’t need us to tell you that things have changed a lot in SG2 since 2002. When we were first sticking the hamster into the wheel that was our web server in July 2002, Boro’ had just been to a first FA Trophy final; matching a strong Yeovil side for… about 15 minutes. Oh, ‘not too bad’ we thought. Maybe this Wayne Turner chap could do something in his first full season. Oof, that went about as well as a turkey on an all-expenses paid trip to a Bernard Matthews factory. But things started to happen. We made the playoffs in 2005, won the FA Trophy in 2007 (and 2009), clinched the Conference title in 2010, and almost made it three straight promotions in 2012.
Of course, we aren’t claiming credit for all those moments. But what exactly have we done in the past 20 years? BoroGuide has…
- Charted all of Ronnie Henry‘s 1.5 million Stevenage appearances
- Got to within just 86 line-ups of having all of Boro’s match data in one place. We’re still searching for those missing ones…
- Been to the British Library dozens of times to get that point above.
- Run our annual awards for three years in the early days. All we can remember is that Dannie Bulman was our 2004-5 POTS.
- Created more than 1,000 player profiles and in excess of 300 club profiles
- Hosted and supported the A Load of Old Toffee podcast
- Got our name – and that of ‘Freeman’s on Fire’ – onto The Sun‘s website.
- Joined ‘The 86 Club‘ – and took part in an FA Trophy Final record under that name in 2010
- Sponsored our first player in 2021 with Jamie Reid flying the flag for BoroGuide
We’ve done more too. And we’ve done less than some other independent websites from other clubs. So what? We did it on our own terms – but in a way we hope was giving you what you wanted.
… and the future of BoroGuide?
Nowadays, we’re slowing down a bit. And still BoroGuide goes. The story of Stevenage FC is an ongoing one and that means we almost feel as if we can’t just stop. Who will keep the stats updated. Other people can give you Boro’ flavoured podcasts and up-to-the-minute social reels. We’ll focus on the stats and the stories behind them. One day – hopefully – we may even be able to say that we now have EVERY Boro’ line-up from competitive fixtures in place. We’re starting to feel as if that point is slowly becoming impossible, unfortunately. But we aren’t just ready to chuck in the towel. After all, we’ve come this far.
Now, that brings us on to an awkward point. We’ve never been one to make a song and dance about our existence. Nor have we run around with the begging bowl. We’ve kept this place going out of the love of our club and the memories it gives us. Even the rubbish ones like how we lost at Tamworth in February 2010 with two men sent off. But making something available for free means that someone is picking up the tab somewhere. And, while we’re not exactly skint or debating whether we stay live, we’d be forever grateful to anyone who feels compelled to chuck us a couple of quid via PayPal. If only for a cup of coffee that’ll power us through our next blog.
Another 20 years? Well, by then we’ll no doubt have information telepathically injected into our consciousness. But we’re still standing. We don’t know what the next year will bring, let alone two decades. This isn’t a journey we’re quite ready to get off yet, however…