Now absorbed by the great big beast that is London, the small Essex town of Aveley has a lot of prehistoric significance. And, if you like that sort of thing, it has even given its name to an interglacial period of history dating back around 200,000 years; Neanderthal man’s time on this planet. But Boro’ were only formed in 1976. So, that means we’re going to ignore around 199,980 years of human evolution and cut straight to the chase. That good with you?
Who are Aveley?
Better late than never, the Millers made themselves a part of Aveley’s long story in 1927. It was a quiet start to life for the club; playing their football in local leagues until World War II. After that, they made their way to the London League via the Thurrock Combination League and tasted success with their 1954-5 title win. Soon after, they were on the move once more; competing in the Delphian and Athenian Leagues during the late 1950s and 1960s.
Why do we know Aveley?
The 1973-4 season saw the formation of the Isthmian League’s new Division Two. And that’s something the Millers got in on. For the next decade-or-so, the club spent most of its life in the lower half of the table; both before and after a decision to re-badge it as Division One. In 1986, however, they came bottom and were relegated to Division Two North. And that’s why we know ’em, right?
Er, no. At the end of the 1985-6 campaign, we were promoted up into Division One. So, we’d end up missing each other for another couple of seasons. Until we too were relegated…
What is our record against Aveley?
It started well enough for us; two Martin Gittings goals (who else?) powering us on to a 3-0 win in our first-ever meeting in December 1988. But the return game at Mill Field ended up being a much quieter affair; us and them bringing our season to a close with a 0-0 draw. It meant no instant return back to Division One for us. In fact, we only fell five points short in fourth. The Millers, meanwhile, were a little further back in ninth.
It was surely enough to make us believe that we could do better in the 1989-90 campaign. And, yet, things didn’t work out that way. A 1-1 draw at their gaff in November 1989 shows you how level things were between us. By the time the return fixture came around in April, it was a promotion six-pointer. We collapsed to a 3-0 home defeat; ensuring Aveley would go up (well, all but). In the end, three points would’ve seen us end a point behind Hertford – but above the Millers.
So, up they went. And, one season later, so did we. It meant we were only kept apart for a single season. But much had changed by then. We’d galloped to the 1990-1 Division Two North title. It hadn’t been a bad season for the Millers either. But we were on very different trajectories in the 1991-2 campaign; Boro’ running out 4-0 winners at Mill Field, then 5-0 at Broadhall Way. It was another title-winning season for us. But, for Aveley, it was a disaster as they finished bottom of the table. They were, however, spared relegation.
Aveley: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 6 — W 3 — D 2 — L 1 — F 13 — A 4 — Pts 11 — WR 50%
Our last tango: Stevenage Borough 5-0 Aveley, 25 January 1992
What happened to Aveley?
After a stay of execution in 1992, it appears the Millers did not learn their lesson. The next year, they ended up bottom of the table again. But, this time, they did go down. And down they went again two years later to wind up in Division Three; seeing out the 1990s with an inconsistent record in the division. After promotion to Division One North in 2002 when the Isthmian League was reorganised, the club left the competition two years later.
For the first time since the early 1970s, the Millers started the 2004-5 campaign in a fresh competition – the Southern League. Not that they stayed there for long; switching back to the Isthmian League after two unsuccessful seasons. The move back sparked a revival in fortunes; winning the 2008-9 Division One North title and then ending third in the 2009-10 Premier Division season.
A defeat to Boreham Wood in the playoffs stopped them going up further. Two years later, they were relegated again; back to Division One North – the level they remain at after two more playoff defeats (2013 and 2019).
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Aveley club profile