The season in which it all began; Boro’s young team taking to the field in the Chiltern Premier League for the 1976-7 season. The fledgling side came together that summer; made up of young lads who were on the books of Stevenage Athletic when that club went under. It wasn’t the most salubrious of starting places. After all, Athletic went straight in with Metropolitan League membership. Boro’, however, started off modestly at youth team level.
Oh, one more thing. At this point, the new club was called Stevenage FC. Nah. It’ll never catch on.
Vic Folbigg had the honour of leading the way at the start of our adventure. One of his first acts was to bring in former Leeds United and Bradford City midfielder Derek Montgomery as player-coach. That’d prove to be a big moment. Just three or four years later, Monty would be in charge himself. In 1976, however, he’d be recruited as the only “old” player who could turn out for the new club.
Due to their being no senior team in the town at this point, young players looked elsewhere. Steve Ketteridge and Steve Ratcliffe went to Derby County aged 16. Three more tottered over to Hitchin Town, while another signed for Hoddesdon Town.
For the new club, things weren’t exactly made easy. On 6 November 1976, Boro’ were looking ahead to a match against Hitchin Town at Broadhall Way. The old chairman of Stevenage Athletic, however, had other ideas; Javier Revuelta of the opinion this couldn’t happen. Why? Because Athletic technically still existed! It just didn’t have a football team. Honestly. As the young Boro’ started to find their feet, the club noted the support of the council by adding “Borough” to their name. Nah. It’ll never catch on…
Info from Lloyd Briscoe/matchday programme (2014-5) via stevenagefootballarchive.com
Our thanks to Mark Dell for the league table and Hoddesdon Town results.