Boro’ have taken on their fair share of opponents down the years and some of those teams have simply been no more than passing acquaintances, while there are others that have become – well – annoyingly familiar. For all the many times we’ve faced teams like Woking, there have been rare match-ups too. So, we’re asking, where do Hendon stand in the grand scheme of things?
Hendon: Us And Them
If you rewind the film back far enough, you’ll stumble upon a Hendon side that were a formidable prospect. We’re talking the two-decade-long stretch between the Coronation year of 1953 and the, well, non-Coronation year of 1973 to be as specific as we can get here. But non-league can be a cruel mistress and the Greens’ aura had long faded by the time we first shared a pitch with them.
The first meeting between Stevenage Borough and Hendon took its time in coming round – although that’s mainly our fault, given that we weren’t in a position to get promotion to the Diadora League Premier Division until 1992. By that point, Hendon had been knocking around up there for quarter of a century and, at 25 years, that was pretty much the entire duration of Boro’s existence.
And it was us who made up for lost time. We won that first clash at their gaff, then the next one and the one after that. In fact, our record against the Greens is spotless. Five games, five wins and a potful of goals at our end of the rainbow. Both away jaunts were the closer games looking back on paper, although the return fixtures at our place were both convincing three-goal affairs.
We left Hendon behind on our way up to the Conference in 1994 and we can’t say for absolute certain that our FA Trophy clash in 2004 wasn’t some second-rate 10th anniversary special. The gulf that had opened up between us was very much obvious though – Boro’ romping to a five-goal mauling and, cutely, with five different scorers. Even Rob Quinn.
Not since 1977 and that time Hendon first landed in the Premier Division of the Isthmian/Ryman/Diadora/whatever you want to call it league have the Greens budged. On the pitch, at least. The club said goodbye to their former Claremont Road ground in ’08 and, after a move to Barnet’s Copthall Stadium fell through, they’ve been sharing grounds – most recently at Harrow Borough.
And what about the Hendon heyday we referred to earlier? The 20-year period we spoke about saw the club collect three Athenian League titles, two Isthmian League championships and three FA Amateur Cups in that 20-year period, as well as an appearance in the FA Cup 3rd Round against Newcastle United in 1973-4. Now there’s something that sounds a bit familiar…
The Greens might be hard pushed to replicate those feats in these modern times – and they so nearly managed to bring the curtain down on their Ryman Premier purgatory last season, falling at the last hurdle in the playoffs for Conference South status. Until we see the North Londoners make their own rise up the ladder, they may well remain tucked away in the Boro’ memory banks…
BoroGuide’s Hendon club profile – for old time’s sake…