In replacing Paul Fairclough as the new manager of Stevenage Borough in 1998, Richard Hill didn’t exactly have the easiest of acts to follow. Not only had Cloughie been the gaffer to get us where we were at the time, he left a team that was third in the Conference table. Not that it was enough for then-chairman Victor Green.
This was Hill’s first managerial gig too.
Indeed, Hill couldn’t keep Boro’ in contention for the top spot during the remainder of the 1998-9 campaign. Sixth was as good as it got that term. You can argue, however, that it wouldn’t have been so shabby if the playoffs had existed then. They didn’t, though, and sixth back then was little better than finishing 16th.
Under his management, however, the 1999-00 Nationwide Conference campaign started with a bang. Boro’ won six from six at the start of the season and fuelled high hopes of it being a season to remember. It didn’t last, clearly. And it wasn’t a campaign to remember either. A poor run of form after that initial burst saw us slide down the table.
Two early cup exits also didn’t help his cause. In showing his willingness to fire Cloughie when he did, Green’s patience wasn’t to be tested. Mid-season, Green pulled the trigger and Boro’ were in need of a new manager again.