To start, games against Crewe Alexandra would usually mean a point or three for Boro’. And then it went quite a bit wrong. You see, we were unbeaten in our first six meetings with the Railwaymen – spanning Leagues One and Two. Even when we were relegated from League One in 2013-4, we completed a league double over them. That’s pretty much where the watershed is. After they joined us down in League Two a couple of years later, we’d win just one of the eight encounters that would follow. And the less said about our December 2019 disaster at the Lamex, the better…
If you think that we’re about to dive into a long ol’ odyssey, then… you’re right. Crewe Alexandra is a club with a lot of mileage in its legs; dating back to 1877 when it formed as a division of Crewe Alexandra Cricket Club. If you’re keen to know where the name derives from, it’s Princess Alexandra by the way. Now, we haven’t got much time to spare, so we’re going to crack on with things.
In 1889, the Railwaymen were founder members of the Football Alliance – or the delightfully shortened “F All” as the Football Club History Database lists it. To be fair, it sums up the club’s honours list over the years. And we’d welcome any challenge to that assertion. Two years later, the club were founder members of the Football League’s new Division Two. And the rest is history, right?
Actually, the Railwaymen failed in their 1896 re-election bid and ended up being consigned to the non-league wilderness. It wasn’t until 1921 and their status as founder members of Division Three North that their exile ended. Before that, the club had come close to winning the Birmingham & District and Central Leagues. But close isn’t actually doing.
Fresh into life as a Football League club, they picked up two Welsh Cup titles in the 1930s. But that’s about it for the decades that followed. There was a bit of yo-yoing between the third and fourth tiers in the 1960s and 1980s. And there would be a promotion “back” to the second tier in the 1990s under the famed leadership of Dario Gradi.
None of the club’s promotions were earned by coming top of the pile, though. Now, that’s not a bad thing. But it means the club’s only ‘major’ honours were those Welsh Cup titles. Be that as it may, the Railwaymen would eventually lose their status as a second tier side in 2006. Three years later, it was back down to the basement division. And that’s where little ol’ us enter from stage left…
How do we know the Railwaymen?
After a less-than-inspiring 2009-10 campaign, the Railwaymen were ready to roll again in 2010-1. Up against them was a new face in town: ours. It was just one example of how little old Stevenage Borough were now taking on some of the Football League’s oldest names. And the rest, now, really is history…
How to get to Crewe Alexandra – Travel Information – Distance: 149 miles
At nearly three hours, this journey isn’t too demanding. First thing is to get yourself on the northbound M1 as you will be wanting the M6 at its source north of Daventry. Once on the M6, continue north – either via the Toll or not – until Junction 16 for the A500.
This has become a familiar part of the world to Boro’ fans. But, instead of opting for Stoke, you want the Crewe-bound A500. Continue until you hit a roundabout just before Weston; taking the third exit for the A5020.
Nearly a mile after joining the northbound A5020, take the first exit at the roundabout and stay on the Weston Road. After nearly two miles, take the first exit at the roundabout for Nantwich on the A534; crossing the railway. Shortly after, you will find yourself with a left turn for Gresty Road.
Just before you reach the final roundabout on Weston Road, you’ll come across a sign that points you towards ‘Away Supporters On Street Parking’. This takes you into an industrial estate near a VW dealership. It’s about 15 minutes to walk it in from here. So, you might want to try the pay and display behind the Main Stand if you arrive in decent time. It’ll cost you £3.50.
Services to: LONDON EUSTON
One of the easier connections, Crewe railway station is a mere five-minute walk from Gresty Road. Be sure to turn left as you exit the station, mind. It’s not hard to get from Stevenage to Euston either.
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