If you want a leading candidate for most unusual nickname anywhere in football, Stamford (or the Daniels) are right up there. Of course, we’re more fussed about our record against them. And so should you. For a long time, this story was exclusively about our time in the United Counties League. We left the competition in 1984, but it wasn’t until 1998 that they decided to move onto to new pastures; joining the Southern League and later the Northern Premier League.
Our record against them? Not great. We failed to score in five of our six league games with Stamford. Mind you, we did win the other encounter 5-0. Now that’s odd, don’t you think. We’d fancy our chances against them nowadays. But it’s unlikely we’ll get a time to redress the full head-to-head balance between us any time soon. Unless something amazing happens to them… or disastrous to us. We’d obviously pick the former – and through no great love of the Daniels.
Stamford: The Facts
Borderville Sports Centre
Ryhall Road, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 1US
Formed in 1896, Stamford Association Football Club have a long enough story to tell. But it’s also one you could call, let’s say, “stable”. Well, OK. That much is true after their early years. To start, everything reads back a bit hectic. The Daniels went straight into the East Midlands League. For one season. Then came some time in the footballing wilderness. It wasn’t until 1909 that a new home was found: the Northamptonshire League.
In 1933, this competition took on a brand-new name; one that we’d know it better as. By the time it was christened the United Counties League, the Daniels had already claimed their first title. That was in 1912. By 1939, however, they hadn’t added to that crown and – in an acute sense of good timing – left to join the Peterborough & District League. World War Two came along and, by the time it was over, the Daniels were back in the UCL.
For whatever reason, they still weren’t comfortable in the UCL; opting to leave again in 1955. By that point, they’d come out on top in the league’s own cup competition and the Lincolnshire Senior B Cup in the same year (1952). Still, 1955 saw them up and leave; this time switching to the Central Alliance; then moving onto the Midland League in 1961. But we’re well aware we still haven’t touched on the all-important question on your lips.
Why the Daniels?
Well, that’s all down to a chap called Daniel Lambert. He wasn’t a former player. He isn’t a successful ex-boss. And he wasn’t chairman. In fact, he had nothing to do with them. He is, however, believed to be the heaviest British man ever; a resident of Stamford who died in 1809 at the ripe old weight of 52ish stone. He lies in rest in St Martin’s churchyard; totally unaware of the ‘athletic’ legacy he’d leave his hometown.
Why do we know Stamford?
Anyway, on we go.
The Daniels came back to the UCL in 1972 and went on a hot streak; reaching the FA Vase semi finals in 1975 and then reaching the final in the following season. While they ultimately fell short in the final, they did claim their first UCL league crown since 1912. The club almost made a successful defence too; finishing second in the 1976-7 season, before reclaiming the title a year later. Oh, and they added the FA Vase to their trophy cabinet (at last) in 1980 – together with the UCL league cup.
The Daniels were on a roll and they kept it going into the 1980s; claiming the 1980-1 UCL Premier Division title and crowning themselves champions for the second year on the hop. It’s at this time that Boro’ enter the equation; ourselves champions in 1981 with our senior football story starting with the UCL Division One title. For the 1981-2 season and our first-ever crack at the Premier Division, the Daniels were the standard we needed to match.
How to get to Stamford – Travel Information – Distance: 62 miles
For Stamford, head north on the A1(M) and A1 and keep going until you are on the north side of Peterborough. Upon reaching the B1081 exit (58 miles down the road), leave the A1 and turn left onto London Road. After about a mile, keep going onto High Street St Martin’s (A43), before going right as soon as you cross the river for Wharf Road (A1175).
Turn left onto Brazenose Lane after a third of a mile, before right onto St Paul’s Street. At the roundabout, you want the first exit for Ryhall Road (A6121) and the ground will be on your left nearly a mile up the road.
This comes on the advice of Stamford’s website, which says the town centre can be busy on Saturdays. To avoid this, remain on the A1 until you reach the A606 exit for Oakham. Leave the A1, turning right and then left as if you were heading straight back down. But take the first right before the southbound carriageway and continue along for half a mile.
Here, turn left for Great Casterton. When you see the sign directing you towards Ryhall, turn right here and continue for two-and-a-half miles. Turn right at the end of the road, and then right again. After a further 1.5 miles, the ground will be on the right.
You’ll find 110 spaces at the ground’s own car park, which should be more than sufficient. If not, try the Travis Perkins car park. This is a two-minute walk away.
Services to: PETERBOROUGH
The station is 1.7 miles from the ground, so it’s just about walkable if you’re up to it.
Exit the station on Gresley Drive and continue on this road until you reach a crossroads. Head straight over into Station Road, before turning left to cross the river. Once on the other side of the Welland, turn right into Wharf Road. From here, you’ll be following the car directions – St Leonard’s Street, Brazenose Lane, St Paul’s Street and Ryhall Road.
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