The world (of football, at least) looks better after you’ve put five goals past someone, don’t you think? It’s the type of glow you can’t help but bask in; one that almost has you breaking out into song. Almost, we say; just in case you were thinking of channeling your inner (And much less talented? Ed.) Gene Kelly or Debbie Reynolds. Ever hopeful of finding yet more cause for cheer, however, we’re opening up the history book again. So gather ye round fine folk and ears at the ready please for the tale of us and St Neots Town. A ‘local’ one this week…
St Neots Town: Who Are They?
If we hadn’t looked, we’d never have known. Technically, we probably should view the St Neots Town of today as a different club to the one originally formed in 1879. This is because The Saints disbanded at the end of the 1987-8 season; a dramatic step taken in order to clear some substantial outstanding debt. Back from the ashes, the club reformed in 1990 after a two-season break. It is a technicality that we’ve largely ignored; treating the current and the previous incarnations as one club and the same. It’s just extra paperwork otherwise.
So, let’s get started for real.
After forming, St Neots Town competed in the Biggleswade & District League and the Bedfordshire & District League. The latter changed its name in 1929 to the South Midlands League, with the title clinched in 1933. In 1936, they joined the United Counties League for the first time. Once the Second World War Two was all done with, however, it was back to the South Midlands League. It wasn’t for long, though. In 1949, the Metropolitan League came a-calling; the league and cup double claimed in their first season.
The Saints are down in the history books as the first-ever winners of the Metropolitan League as a result. Not that the competition held their attention. Just two years later, it was back to the United Counties League for a second stint. And still the merry-go-round didn’t stop. There was *ready for it* Division One South of the Central Alliance (1956); Metropolitan League Part Deux (1960); the United Counties League Part Trois (1966); and the Eastern Counties League (1969). In 1973, the club picked the UCL a fourth time… and stuck with it!
It’s worth pointing out for no real reason that St Neots Town reached the FA Cup First Round Pwopa in 1966 for the first and only time, before losing at Walsall. It wasn’t a bad showing, either, eventually going down 2-0.
St Neots Town: Us And Them…
The decision to stick with the United Counties League is what laid the foundations for us and them to meet for the first time. In 1981-2, we’d just been promoted to the Premier Division, where the Saints had been for the eight previous seasons since rejoining the UCL. We were both kept waiting, mind. The first of our two league fixtures that season came on 10 April. APRIL! It was at our gaff and we came out on the wrong end of a seven-goal ding-dong. The return fixture, barely a month later, saw us run out 3-1 winners at their place.
Now, a 4-3 home defeat doesn’t seem all that shabby. Right? Well, let’s put it in wider context for you. St Neots Town were relegated that campaign after finishing rock bottom of the table. And that win at Broadhall Way? That was half of their total number of league wins all season. Of course, this meant a one-season break until we could meet again. After the Saints were back in the top flight, it was honours even indoors in October 1983. Much like the first season we went head-to-head, we won the return at Shortstands – this time it was 4-2.
And much like that first season we went head-to-head, St Neots finished bottom of the table.
St Neots Town: And Then What?
In spite of propping up the Premier Division for the second time in three seasons, St Neots Town were spared relegation. It didn’t get much better for them after Boro’ swapped the UCL for the Isthmian League, however. In each of the next four campaigns, the Saints finished no higher than third bottom. And this takes us up to the point in time when the club disbanded. After reforming in 1990, it took four years in the Huntingdonshire Junior League (and four titles) before they were back in the UCL; Division One won at the first attempt too.
For the next 17 years, the Saints competed in the Premier Division and started to show increasing ambition. No more was that underlined than with the 2009 signings of Steve Lomas, Michael Hughes and Sylvain Legwinski. It was, admittedly, a short stay – but laid foundations for a dominant title win in 2011. St Neots lost just one that season, scoring 160 goals and amassing 105 points in the process. Now, you can find them in the Southern Premier League – mixing it with the likes of Hitchin, Kettering, Slough and Farnborough! Not bad at all, really.
St Neots Town: Boro’s Record
P4 W2 D1 L1 F11 A8 – League Points: 7, Cup Meetings: 0, Win Rate: 50%
• BoroGuide’s St Neots Town club profile – for old time’s sake…