This lot almost sound like they could be a firm of chartered accountants or lawyers – but, trust us, Brook House are a team we once played

This lot almost sound like they could be a firm of chartered accountants or perhaps even lawyers. Y’know. The sort who use a smooth-talking actor with fake empathy for ads that get shown during This Morning and whatever else ITV bangs out before Corrie. But, trust us – Brook House are actually a football team. And Boro’ once played ’em. We gotta use the present tense with a bit of caution, however. And we’ll explain why…

Who are Brook House?

Formed just a couple of years before Boro’, the Brooks originally started out as a Sunday League side; created when Saturday sides Charville and Hayes North needed even more football in their weekend. It turns out they were quite good at the Sunday malarkey. So, in 1982, the powers that be decided to switch to Saturday action. First, they joined the South West Middlesex League. Then, in 1984, came the Middlesex County League.

In 1988, however, the Brooks turned to the Spartan League. Like all newcomers, they had to start in Division One – with its two promotion spots. Now, you’d be right in assuming the club would have to finish first or second to go up. But no. After finishing sixth in their debut Spartan League campaign, up they went into the Premier Division. We can’t tell you why – and we can’t seem to find anyone else who can.

Why do we know Brook House?

So, this happened at the end of the 1988-9 season and the Brooks made themselves feel right at home in the Premier Division. Here at Boro’, however, we were busy going further ahead of them in the pyramid with each passing season. It’s obvious we’d never do battle with them in the league, right? Right. It took our first involvement in the 1995-6 FA Cup to put us on the same pitch as each other. Surely, for a strong Boro’ side, it’d be a formality?

What is our record against Brook House?

Not so much, no. On home turf, we recorded what our next matchday programme called “perhaps the most unthinkable result of the season”; Boro’ drawing a blank against a side who were five divisions below us. Some epic saves from ‘keeper Bill Oliver kept a potent home attack at bay to earn them a replay. It’s even worse for us that Brook House ended the game with 10 men.

To Farm Park three days later, then. And we couldn’t have made a worse start as our cup run looked doomed; the Brooks taking the lead on 23 seconds.

It took nearly 23 minutes for us to get back level thanks to Shaun Marshall. Cloughie said the magic words at half time and brought Gary Crawshaw on for Efe Sodje to finally get a grip of the tie. After the break, we came out and flexed our muscles. Two goals from Paul Barrowcliff ended the resistance, with Richard Nugent and Crawshaw also chipping in. It might’ve been more too, but for yet more heroics from Oliver in the Brooks’ goal.

And, after all that , our cup run took us to the First Round proper for the first time ever.

Brook House: Boro’s Record

Our head-to-head: P 1 — W 1 — D 1 — L 0 — F 5 — A 1 — Pts 0 — WR 50%
Our last tango: Brook House 1-5 Stevenage Borough, 12 September 1995

What happened to Brook House?

The Brooks kept up their run of mid-table finishes in the Spartan League Premier Division in 1995-6. And again the next season too. In 1997, however, they were founder members of the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division South and won the title at the first crack. It took them into the Premier Division, where they had a good run of things up until 2005. At this point, the Ryman League beckoned.

For the next two seasons, the Brooks came third in Ryman League Division Two. But they weren’t able to build on that; opting to join Southern League Division One South and West in time for the 2006-7 campaign. A year later, the club changed name to AFC Hayes – and continued in the Southern League, though not with much success at all. After ending up at the foot of the table in 2015, they joined the Combined Counties League.

For four seasons, they flirted with the foot of the Premier Division. After losing the fight for survival in 2019, the Brooks were chugging around mid-table in Division One – before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the premature end to that campaign.

• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Brook House club profile

Previous articleAnd That Should Be That. But It Isn’t…
Next articleMichael Bostwick
Pete H is the head of the BoroGuide team; helping to keep the show on the road for the best part of two decades – all because of his love of Boro'. He was relatively late to the scene; first rocking up at Broadhall Way during the 1995-6 season. But that's mainly because he was too young to pledge allegiance before then. There have been more than enough highs (Easter Monday '96) and lows (Kettering '02) since then, however, to keep him occupied. Yes, and the 2010 title win...