It shows you how football is so engrained in the lifeblood when even small villages have their own football team to speak of – such as Pirton. If you believe the 2011 census, just shy of 1,300 people live in this civil parish. And, yet, for long enough the village had their own team representin’. And the fact that we’re writing (and you’re now reading) about ’em can be taken as a clue that our paths crossed once. Or more. We’ll tell you in a sec…
Who are Pirton?
It’s now a question of who were they – and it’s not an easy one to answer. According to one North Herts District Council resource we found, the club dated back to at least before the First World War. But any talk of them being a “successful side who played in the Southern League” is something we aren’t able to back up. What we do know for sure is that, between 1972 and 1993, Pirton competed in the South Midlands League. And the period from 1976 to 1984 was a particularly bright one for the club.
Why do we know Pirton?
Now, you know full well that Boro’ never played in the South Midlands League ourselves. It means that our only reason for knowing them would be a cup tie. Or a friendly. We’re only about competitive encounters, however, so we’re going to be talking about cup ties. Not the FA Cup, though. Pirton never (it seems) took part. Nor the FA Trophy. And nor is it the FA Vase either. So, ever decreasing circles mean that we’re left with just one possible reason.
Boom, boom, boom – let us hear you say ‘Herts Charity Shield’…
What is our record against Pirton?
Ideal. Perfect. Flawless. We got one shot at it and we got it right. By the time we met for the first and only time in August 1984, Pirton had come to the end of a run that had seen them win the South Midlands League twice and finished second on four other occasions; the most recent runners-up medal coming out of the 1983-4 season. For us, we’d taken a leap up from the United Counties League into the Isthmian League.
Our 1984-5 opener saw us welcome our North Herts neighbours to Broadhall Way for the first round of the Herts Charity Shield. Steve Armsby got the first of his 30 goals, while Lee Jacobs also found the back of the net as Boro’ ran out 2-1 winners. And that’s about the long and the short of it. In a wider context, however, it was the first of nine straight wins for Boro’ in all competitions. Some way to start a new season, huh?
Pirton: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 1 — W 1 — D 0 — L 0 — F 2 — A 1 — Pts 0 — WR 100%
Our last tango: Stevenage Borough 2-1 Pirton, 11 August 1984
What happened to Pirton?
For the record, that win put Boro’ on the path to the Herts Charity Shield… Second Round – where we lost at Berkhamsted Town. And Pirton? Well, ninth position in the league and the first round of the FA Vase added up to a “meh” season for them. They’d only finish in the top half of the table once more (8th, 1986-7). In the late 1980s, things got worse and worse ’til the 1991-2 campaign saw them end up second bottom; conceding 115 goals while doing so.
It turned out to be the club’s last season; folding in summer 1993 and disappearing from the local football scene. Lea Sports PSG, a club founded in the 1970s, moved from Luton to the village in 1995. So, you can at least still watch football there on a Saturday afternoon – even if it’s not the same level that older fans remember from the South Midlands League days.
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Pirton club profile