Boro’ have visited so many teams over the years. Some we can easily find on a map. From places just up the road to some of the best known towns and cities in the land; give us a compass and a bicycle and we’ll be there soon enough. But others are total unknowns – like Cranfield United. In fact, we’d go as far to claim that “Cranfield” sounds more like the sort of made-up place you’ll find in Midsomer Murders or a BBC period drama. But Cranfield is a real place.
Boro’ have been there. And there we found a village with an airport and a university.
Oh, and a football club. That’s the biggie for us…
It’s only thanks to the Knights Floodlit League that we ever played Cranfield United; Boro’ with nine goals in two games. This was during the 1988-9 season, with United playing in the South Midlands League at the time. Now, you’re more likely to find them competing in the Bedfordshire County League; leaving the Spartan South Midlands League in 2013.
At the last government census, there were more than 5,000 people who called this Beds village ‘home’. We’d guess the final count for the 1901 edition came in much lower than that too. And the reason why we’re banging on about this is because we can’t imagine it was a particularly bustling village when United came to life in 1903. Still, that’s how it all started and the club are still going strong today.
After dropping back down to Division One in 1957, United found themselves on their way back to Bedford and District League three seasons later. They had finished rock bottom of Division One; scoring 14 and conceding 104. Ouch. It wasn’t until 16 years later that they were ready to return to the South Midlands League; their exile ending in 1976 – the year it all started for Boro’.
Why do we know Cranfield United?
That’s all very well, isn’t it? But how did our paths come to meet? Was there a jump up in the pyramid? Not quite. They did win promotion to the South Midlands League Premier Division in 1985. We don’t actually know how this happened either; sixth place is where they finished the 1984-5 Division One season. Even so, this wasn’t the reason for our respective stories to entwine themselves.
Nope. The reason was the less glamorous – and just as memorable – Knights Floodlit League. It was the 1988-9 season. We’d been relegated back to Vauxhall Opel League Division Two North. They were also relegated the previous summer; competing in South Midlands League Division One (again). So, you can’t be surprised it took a cup competition to pair us together.
How to get to Cranfield United – Travel Information – Distance: 35 miles
Go north on the A1 until you reach the edge of Sandy; bearing left for the A603 towards Bedford. When you get to the edge of Bedford, you then need to take the A421 in the direction of Milton Keynes. After seven miles, take the exit for Cranfield and Marston and the fourth exit when you get to the roundabout for Beancroft Road.
Turn left after 1.2 miles for Marston Hill and continue onto Bedford Road. Keep straight onto Crane Way, and then turn right onto Broad Green before continuing onto Crawley Road.
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