Paul Fairclough Manager Profile
Right, where do we start with Paul Fairclough – the teacher who was responsible for turning Boro’ into the finest non-league team in the country. From the bottom rung of the Isthmian League to the top of the Conference; Cloughie was the author of an epic tale spanning eight years at Broadhall Way. A second spell in charge completed his decade too.
Paul Fairclough: The First Spell
So, let’s go back to summer 1990. All eyes were on the World Cup in Italy as Cloughie arrived at Boro’; leaving Hertford Town behind. Under his leadership, success flowed on tap for Boro’; winning the Isthmian League Division Two North, Division One and Premier Division titles in the space of four years.
It’s such an impressive yardstick that leaves the 1992-3 campaign looking like a failure, just because there was no title and no promotion to speak of!
The prospect of taking on the best non-league sides didn’t faze Cloughie’s Boro’ either. Inside two years of arriving in the GM Vauxhall Conference, we were top of the pile; the lords of the manor. And we didn’t half give Woking the right hump too. There, however, that run of promotions stalled; the glass ceiling of the Football League in our way.
Our remarkable rise was over for the time being. Cloughie had offers to manage League clubs regardless, but put he stayed; preferring to continue the job he’d started. Thanks to the archaic ground regulations of the time, we’ll never know how good that Boro’ vintage could have been.
Not that it was a simple journey, you understand. Sure, the rise through the Isthmian was quick enough. Life in the Conference, however, took time to adjust to; the 1994-5 season getting off to a pedestrian start. After winning our opener at Stafford Rangers, we went on a run of eight league games without a win.
Cambridge City dumped us out of the FA Cup, meanwhile, and Chertsey put five past us in the Diadora Charity Shield. It wasn’t a great start, was it?
By the time Cloughie’s first spell at the club came to an inexplicable end, more highlights had been added. Most notable, perhaps, was the epic FA Cup encounter with Newcastle United in 1998; Boro’ going out 1-1 in a replay at Sid James’ Park. Yeah, you read right.
Paul Fairclough: Take Two
Cloughie came home in 2000; Richard Hill and Steve Wignall both failing to replicate his success. By now, however, Phil Wallace was in charge and hopes were high that Cloughie could take Boro’ back to the top of the tree. Success had been thin on the ground during the late 1990s.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Cloughie’s second spell with the club was less glittering. He did, of course, put Boro’ on the path to the 2001-2 FA Trophy final but didn’t have the chance to see it through; Wayne Turner being the man to lead us out at Villa Park.
For Cloughie, life after Boro’ hasn’t been too shabby. It’s somewhat galling that he would eventually realise his managerial destiny; leading Barnet of all sides to promotion from the Conference in 2004. In addition, he’s also been an excellent manager of the England semi-professional side (England C) over the years.
He and his itchy brown jumper, however, will be a part of our club for a long time to come.
HonoursGM Vauxhall Conference (1995/6)
Diadora League Premier Division (1993/4)
Diadora League Division 1 (1991/2)
Vauxhall Football League Division 2 North (1990/1)
1st, GM Vauxhall Conference (1995/6)
Best FA Cup:
Best League Cup:
Best FA Trophy: