Finchley. Chris Finch. Bloody good rep. No one is saying otherwise. But we’d rather know how we fared against this north London football club. It’s a part of the smoke that gave us Baby Spice; is the setting for The Funniest Joke of the World; and sent Margaret Thatcher to the House of Commons nine times. So, a little something for everyone to enjoy. For us? Well, let’s take a look and see what Finchley gave us over the years.
Who are Finchley?
One of the oldest clubs in the land, Finchley were formed by N L “Pa” Jackson in 1874. It actually made ’em the sixth oldest. After competing in the North London League, the club joined the London League in 1902 for the next 10 years; becoming a founder member of the Athenian League in 1912. There was some back and forth between the competitions during the inter-war years, but they settled down in the Athenian League after WWII.
The 1950s turned out to be quite successful for them, relatively speaking. After reaching the 1952-3 FA Cup Third Round, the following campaign saw the club claim the Athenian League crown. Two dud seasons passed before coming close to the title again; having to settle for second in 1956-7 on goal average. It happened twice more in the 1960s too. In 1973, however, it was time for change and Finchley joined the Isthmian League.
Why do we know Finchley?
The club was a member of the Isthmian League’s new Division Two. But they seemed to find the competition a bit of a struggle; often found towards the bottom of the table. It was not until the 1981-2 season that they hit the dizzying heights of 12th in the table. And that came a season after ending up rock bottom. But, with nowhere to go, they remained part of the Isthmian League. And, in 1984, we arrived on the scene as the competition grew.
What is our record against Finchley?
For some reason, the 1984-5 season is when it all clicked for Finchley. After propping up the table for so long, they burst into life and finished second; storming up to Division One as a result. Six of their points that season came from us; 3-1 at theirs in December 1984, then 3-0 at ours in March 1985. Of course, their promotion meant our time together was short. But we followed ’em up a year later and it started all over again for us and them.
This time, it wouldn’t be such a gimme for Finchley. We won the first meeting of the 1986-7 season at theirs – and comfortably so. By the time they came to ours, however, we had started to struggle badly. The North London side were well on course for relegation – but even they were picking up points against us; winning 2-0 at Broadhall Way and extending our winless run to seven. We didn’t win again that season.
We stayed up and they went down. Of course, then we went down at the end of the 1988-9 campaign. But they were moved into Division Two South at the same time. So, it wasn’t until they were switched back in summer 1989 that we were back in the same league yet again. We picked up where we left off too; putting four past them at Summers Lane at the start of December, before winning 2-0 indoors before the month was out.
Finchley: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 8 — W 5 — D 0 — L 3 — F 24 — A 9 — Pts 15 — WR 63%
Our last tango: Stevenage Borough 7-0 Finchley, 06 April 1991
What happened to Finchley?
The 1990-1 Vauxhall League Division Two North season was the last time we’d ever play Finchley. First, the north London club were in a spot of bother with their finances. Second, Paul Fairclough was now in charge at Boro’ and we were only going in one direction – up.
Colin Cardines scored three and Jimmy Hughes added a couple as we smashed Finchley for six at Summers Lane in mid-December. Duncan Hardy got the other, if you were stood there wondering. For good measure, however, Boro’ went one better in the reverse at our place; storming to a seven-goal win in early April – Shaun Marshall being the hattrick hero this time around.
We still had six league matches to go. But this was a result that saw us clear the 100-goal mark for the season.
Of course, our title success meant promotion at the end of the season. Finchley, however, came to the end of the road. At least, as a club in their own right. Due to the cash worries they had, it was confirmed that a merger with Wingate was going to happen. Wingate and Finchley would remain at Summers Lane. But, despite the latter being the higher-placed of the two, the new club would start in the South Midlands League Premier Division.
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Finchley club profile