From up here in North Herts, it’s easy to look down on our southern county counterparts. And Boreham Wood are one of ’em. But it ain’t personal, y’know. It’s actually quite literal when you think about it; sitting down there at the arse end of the A1. Unlike another side starting with the letter B from that part of the world, our history with the Wood stretches back further than the Bees.
Based on their 2019-20 showing, we might be picking it back up sooner too.
Who are Boreham Wood?
Let’s ditch what might happen in the future for the time being. As we write it, it’s tough to make plans for anything. So, we’ll go back to the past for a bit. Things are more sure there. Such as the start of the story for the Wood. The year is 1948 and two teams decide it’s the time to merge: Boreham Rovers and Royal Retournez. After starting the adventure in the Mid Herts League, they’d join the Parthenon League three years later.
It was a successful time during their four years in the competition; finishing second twice, winning the title and then coming second once more. After that, the Wood moved to the Spartan League in 1957. But they couldn’t quite repeat the title-winning feat, finishing in second on two separate occasions – before opting for another change of scenery in 1966 with a switch to the Athenian League‘s Division Two.
It took one attempt for the Wood to gain promotion to Division One; winning the Division Two title in their first season. It was so close to being a double success too; just missing out on the 1969-70 Division One title on goal average. It did, however, win another promotion; this time to the Premier Division. Three years later, that division was binned – and so it was ‘back’ to Division One. The Wood won the title… and then moved on again.
Why do we know Boreham Wood?
1974 saw the Wood join the Isthmian League Division Two; gaining promotion to Division One as champions in 1977. Division One then became the Premier Division one year later; the result of a name change, rather than promotion. In 1982, however, came a rare event. The club were relegated for the first; at least since joining the Spartan League. The 1982-3 season saw them back in Division One (formerly Two).
But the reason we first came to know the Wood has nothing to do with their league plight. Nope – it was the 1984-5 Hitachi Cup draw instead.
Not that we wouldn’t have our league battles to come…
What is our record against the Wood?
Boro’ kicked off the head-to-head record with a 4-2 win after extra time. And it’d rank as a shock in the grand scheme of things. That was in November 1984. We played them again in both of the next two Novembers; 1985 in the Herts Charity Cup and 1986 at the Second Qualifying Round stage of the FA Trophy. Sadly, this also came at a time when our record against them turned sour. In that FAT tie, we got a draw at their place – only to lose in the replay at ours.
If it wasn’t for that draw, we’d have lost five straight games to the Wood.
That run of five games included our first league meetings too, starting with a 5-1 reverse at their gaff on New Year’s Day 1987. A 1-0 defeat indoors in March 1987 completed the league double for them. Weirdly, however, what comes next is a run of five unbeaten for us; despite the fact we were relegated at the end of the 1987-8 campaign. We took four points off the Wood that term, before relegation meant that our next two meetings would be in the Herts Senior Cup.
We made it back to Diadora Leauge Division One in 1991, which meant we’d spend one more season as equals with the Wood. And, while we were comfortable winners in both league encounters, the Wood managed to squeeze in a county cup win that season too. As Division One champions that season, went up and left them behind.
Boreham Wood: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head:P 17 — W 7 — D 4 — L 6 — F 20 — A 17 — Pts 10 — WR 41%
Our last tango: Boreham Wood 0-1 Stevenage Borough, 08 February 1997
What happened to them?
Of course, that isn’t the end of the tale. At the time of writing, there are four more games between us since our 1991-2 title success. We needed a replay to beat them in our 1993-4 Herts Senior Cup Round Two tie. We then lost to them on penalties in the 1994-5 Herts Charity Cup; a season in which the Wood won promotion to the Diadora League Premier Division. It came a season after we achieved the feat. But we’d made it a back-to-back promotion ourselves to keep one step ahead of them.
Wood’s path afterwards wasn’t a straightforward one. They came third in their first season in the Icis League Premier Division, followed up two years later with a second-place finish. But the Conference was beyond them and, in 2000, the Wood were relegated back to Div One. OK, so that was only for one season. Their return to the Premier Division wasn’t as successful as their first spell. Another relegation in 2003 saw them down again. One year later, they left the Ryman League completely; transferred to the Southern League.
After two seasons in the Southern League, they won Division One East; returning to the Ryman League Premier Division in 2006 and started to build again. In four years, they’d made it into Conference South. Five years on from that, promotion to the Conference – finally – was theirs. That first campaign was a nerve-wracking affair. But they kicked on; avoiding the drop by a point and then making the playoffs within two seasons.
It’s been an up-and-down time, to be fair. After missing out in the 2017-8 playoffs, Wood were nearly relegated the following season. And the season after that? Well, they made the playoffs once again in the 2019-20 season. Did the aborted campaign interrupt their flow? We’ll never know. But the Wood are well-positioned to catch up with Boro’ in the Football League… if they don’t carry on the pattern and have another duff season.
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Boreham Wood club profile