Followers of Stevenage will be used to riding the rollercoaster by now. Having found themselves knocking on the Football League door for many years, it finally swung open in 2009/10. Since then, theirs has been a tale of mind-blowing highs and gut-wrenching lows. A rapid rise from the non-league ranks took them to within touching distance of the Championship in the space of 36 memorable months.
But, as the old saying goes, what goes up, must come down.
Having narrowly avoided tumbling through the League One trapdoor in 2012/3, the next 12 months took the Boro’ to the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. Now back in the fourth tier, Graham Westley is endeavouring to get them upwardly mobile again.
It should come as no surprise to find that there is plenty riding on the current campaign; after all, Stevenage do not do things by halves. They sit on the fringes of the play-off places at present, with three points separating them from the promotion-chasing pack. With there still being 57 points to play for, anything is possible.
There are issues to be addressed, with only one rival in the top half of the table (Exeter City) having shipped more goals than Westley’s leaky back line. The Boro’ would, however, appear to be right where they want to be. Automatic promotion, it seems, takes away part of the fun. It may have taken title success to get them moving five years ago, but Stevenage tend to do things the hard way.
In fact, their recent history suggests that a sixth-place finish should be backed by those contemplating a flutter on the Betfair exchanges. In four of the last eight seasons, Boro’ have ended the campaign in that position. It has not always served them well, but did the last time – and the only previous time to date – that they found themselves in League Two.
There are plenty of similarities between that season and this, with the Boro’ adjusting to life in a new division with Westley at the helm. He has shown himself to be the man with the Midas touch – in his third stint at Broadhall Way – and would probably snap your hand off for a guaranteed play-off spot at this stage.
Were he to hit that target, possibly back on a favoured sixth rung of the ladder, few would bet against him and Stevenage ensuring that their yo-yo existence bounces them back in the right direction.