Langford isn't even 20 minutes up the road. But our two football teams are much further apart. So, how did we end up meeting them?
Photo: Rodney Burton (CC-by-SA/2.0)

The village of Langford isn’t even 20 minutes up the A1. But, in footballing terms, the gap between us is much bigger. And it’s been like that since we joined the Isthmian League in 1984. Over the years, Boro’ turned that gap into a chasm – and then again into a canyon. If James Bond taught us one thing, however, it’s that you should never say never (again). And that applies here; the unlikely coming together of us and them on a football pitch.

It happened. And that’s what we’ll come to soon enough…

Who are Langford Football Club?

At the start of the 20th century, the village itself was home to around 1,200 residents. It’s more than double that now – but that growth only really happened in the last 50 years or so. Even so, there were clearly enough people about the place in 1908 to decide that an actual football club was required. So, there we are. Langford Football Club came into the world; competing in local, district, and county competitions to start with.

In 1951, however, the Reds joined the South Midlands League. Little did they know back then, but this was the start of a relationship that endures to this day. OK, so they decided to quit in 1957. Big deal. They came running back in 1958. The lure was real. And they’ve continued on that path ever since. And all they really have to show for it is one single title; the 1988-9 championship brought home to Forde Park for the first time.

Why do we know the Reds?

Today, the South Midlands League feeds into the Southern and Isthmian Leagues. But it’s not a path the Reds have taken. They stayed put. And it’s fair to say their title defence was a shambles; finishing 16th out of 19 teams the following year. So, any possible meeting in the league between us and them was now out of the question.

On top of that, the Reds’ records in cup competitions wasn’t great. And, by this, we mean the FA Cup and FA Vase. They didn’t take part in the FA Cup until 1989, and their rubbish form means it’d have taken a pure fluke to be drawn against them. Being from Beds, they aren’t County Cup candidates for us either.

But there’s one competition now long since forgotten that we haven’t mentioned. The all-signing, all-dancing Southern Combinations Cup. And that’s what brought us together.

What is our record against them?

Our first-ever competitive meeting was actually the final of the tournament. We’d seen off Stotfold, Biggleswade Town, and Hitchin en route to Royston’s Garden Walk stadium. We can’t tell you who they had to get past… because we don’t know. In the end, we beat them 2-1 thanks to goals from Noel Blackwell and Paul Bowgett. After wrapping up the Diadora League Division One title, a second piece of silverware was most welcome.

Langford: 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 Langford, 06 May 1992

What happened to them?

Well, that was that. We both went our separate ways after that; no Southern Combination Cup dates in our 1992-3 diary to start with. And we kept moving upwards in the pyramid, while the Reds went on in the South Midlands League. That became the Spartan South Midlands League when the Spartan and South Midlands league came together in 1997. But nothing much, apart from that, has changed. Well, apart from relegation to Division One in 2011.

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