Now and then, you might see us put a call out for old Stevenage Borough programmes and anyone who has some lying around somewhere. Up in the loft, out in the shed, down in the cellar or lined up nice and neatly on your shelf – they’ve stood the test of time in your care. But why are we asking about them? Well, here’s the main reason – we think they’ll tell us a few things we’ve (so far) been unable to work/find out. And that’s why we need your help.
What can old Stevenage Borough programmes tell us?
If you don’t know already, we’re close to having Boro’ line-ups for every single game played since August 1980. But there’s a problem. We’re still around 150 games short and hopes of using old newspapers to fill in our missing data are fading. We’ve been back and forth to the British Library in London and Yorkshire; going through archive copies of the Comet, Herald, Gazette and anything else that looks like it’s a local newspaper with sports coverage.
The trouble is that we’re now at the end of that particular line. And there are no more local newspapers to look at. There are various reasons why we couldn’t get the info we’d hoped from those newspapers, including:
- Match reports not featuring Boro’s line-up
- Midweek matches missing print deadlines
- Issues missing from the archives
- Issues not published due to strike action
- Christmas issues being light on content
Now that route is all but exhausted, we’re looking to old Stevenage Borough programmes to pick up the slack. It’s not a perfect route either. Some older programmes aren’t that reliable or helpful. But some definitely are. They might contain a match report with a line-up that we still need. Or they could have something even better – a rollcall of matches from a season.
So, what do we need? First, we’re not trying to liberate you of your collection. We just want the juicy info. And we have a full list of Missing Stevenage Match Information that you can check. There are three ways it could work…
1. Hand-Written Changes
Did you (or the person who first bought your old Stevenage Borough programmes) like to keep on top of any changes to printed line-ups? If you have a programme from any of the games we don’t have all or any data for, we can use any hand-written changes to see who turned out for us that day. After all, you were there – we weren’t.
2. Programme Match Reports
We know this is a bit tough to work out as it means using our Missing Data list – and then checking it against the full fixture list from the seasons in question. But hopefully it makes sense. Ultimately, we’re looking for programmes from the next home game after one that we don’t have data for. Here’s an example:
- We don’t have the full line-up for our match against Enfield on Monday 12 April 1993.
- The programme from our match against Basingstoke Town on Saturday 17 April 1993 surely going to have a report with those details.
This is the dream option – especially if it comes late on in a season. A rollcall with every single line-up that we can take info from wasn’t as common as we’d like. But it did happen from time to time. All it then needs to be is a programme from any point after a match we don’t have data for.
So, old Stevenage Borough programmes – can you help?
We’ve so far been able to use the old Stevenage Borough programmes available through the excellent Stevenage Football Archive. And, when we get our pocket money, there are times when a programme of interest comes up on eBay. But that isn’t often, and there are only so many people with programmes to sell. So, maybe you can help?
If you do have some old programmes stashed away, we’re asking if you can dig them out to see – first – if they’re from the right point in time. After all, we won’t need data from any programmes from the start of the 1992-3 season (for example). You’ll see the times we’re dealing with on our Missing Data page. If you have programmes that match up, next is to find out if there’s any information inside that could help us.
We hope this explains why we’re asking to see your old Stevenage Borough programmes – it’s a straight up, legit reason. Ultimately, we really want to find those 148 missing Boro’ line-ups so that we all have the history of our club in full. For us, old programmes may be our last chance to get there. Otherwise, we’ll soon get to a point where we have to admit defeat. And we’ve come so close…