Boro’ named Mark Stimson as manager in summer 2006; one of the most highly-regarded gaffers plying his trade in the Conference at that time. A key reason was because he’d come close to leading Grays Athletic to two successive promotions; first into the Nationwide Conference and then so nearly into the Football League.
After failing to clear the first hurdle in the 2005-6 playoffs, however, Stimson left Grays by mutual consent. That loss for the Essex club was to be Boro’s gain. Not until holding off reported competition from a number of League sides, though. We chose Stimmo, Stimmo chose us. And that’s all that needed to be said at the time.
Stimmo’s appeal was because of the style of play he’d become known for. In contrast to a pragmatic approach taken by Graham Westley before him, a more attacking approach was on the cards. It wasn’t unreasonable to think that his achievements prior to joining us put him in a good place to lead us to the Football League.
The problem with a sought after manager, however, is that they are – well – sought after. A flurry of League managers lost their jobs during the 2007-8 campaign. That meant our gaffer was hot property. The chairman stood firm, resisting approaches made for Stimmo. He could do little to stop the manager, however; he quit when Gillingham called.
Off Stimmo went, then. But it wasn’t before he led us to our first major honour in 10 years; the FA Trophy success of 2007 also writing our name into the history books as the winner of the first silverware at the new Wembley Stadium. It’s not so new any more, of course…