Stevenage Football Club are not one of the heavy hitters of English football. But that does not mean that we’ve not had top players showcase their talents at the Lamex Stadium in the past. Deadly goalscorers, tough tacklers and creative technicians; Boro’ have had it all, but who were the most prolific forwards in our history? Some broke records and others delivered trophies before going on to play at English football’s highest level.
Steve Morison: from non-league to Premier League
Steve Morison was a lethal frontman; playing for Stevenage between 2006 and 2009 while we were in the Conference. Best known in English football for his time at the likes of Norwich City in the Premier League, Stevenage was one of the few places in which he earned legendary status. Norwich themselves are no longer a Premier League outfit. But they are bidding to return to the top flight this season. In the Championship football odds, they are offered at 6/1 to yet again return to England’s top division. They may struggle to even finish in the top six, however; numerous teams are tightly congested together in the fight to finish in the playoffs.
Morison maintained a stunning goal record at Stevenage with 89 goals in 152 appearances. He was adored at the Lamex ever since his debut fixture in which he netted against Crawley Town. He had his first hat trick in his second appearance for the club against Morecambe; the first of many triples for us. Morison was one of the leading stars as we won the FA Trophy in his debut season. He finished as the leading goalscorer in the competition having netted eight times; the most vital goal coming in the final against Kidderminster Harriers to crown a stunning comeback victory from two goals down.
The fixture was one of the greatest in competition history and the first to take place at Wembley in seven years.
Over the following seasons, Moro’ came incredibly close to guiding Stevenage to the Football League. On consecutive occasions, we narrowly missed out in the playoffs. That shortcoming eventually led to him leaving the club for the higher divisions. That wasn’t before he delivered another FA Trophy triumph in his final season at the club; often wearing the captain’s armband throughout the season. He demonstrated immense loyalty to Stevenage. In truth he had the ability to play at a significantly higher level.
A number of clubs were interested in him; Moro’ eventually opting to join Millwall in League One. One of Stevenage’s most prolific forwards ever departed; the club unable to necessarily match his ambitions. Ironically, we sealed our path to the Football League in the first season after his departure.
Martin Gittings: all-time leading goalscorer
Martin Gittings is undoubtedly the greatest player and biggest legend in Stevenage’s history. He had four stints with the club in its early periods of existence; all of which were successful. He is the only player to score more than 100 goals for the club; finishing with 217 goals. So, his record as the club’s record goalscorer is unlikely to ever be surpassed. Gittings’ goals were the main factor in our race through the lower non-league divisions.
In truth, his efforts laid the foundations for the future success of the club. The race up the football pyramid that he spearheaded allowed the club to reach the Conference. That was just one step away from the Football League. Without his goals, we could never have recorded our FA Trophy victories in the 21st century. Nor would we establish ourselves as a stable League club later on.
Aside from being the all-time leading goalscorer at the club, Gittings had a number of exceptional individual seasons. This ultimately led to the accumulation of his overall tally. In 1993-4, he scored 40 goals in a single season. It remains a club record to this day; leading the club to promotion from the Isthmian League Premier Division. He stands alone and sits rather comfortably as the greatest player to ever wear the Stevenage shirt. Gittings remains one of the most influential figures in our entire history to this day. And his goalscoring heroics paved the way for future generations to thrive and earn further success for the club.
We’ve had many impressive goalscorers star at the Lamex Stadium throughout our 47-year history. Morison and Gittings are by far the greatest of all, however. One established himself as a top player in the English game and even made it to the top flight. The other, meanwhile, made contributions that shaped our future pathway up the English pyramid. Gittings’ place in Stevenage history will surely never be matched. But future players can certainly attempt to emulate Morison’s journey from non-league to Premier League; becoming one of our most prolific forwards in the process.