If the 1998-9 season tells us anything, it’s that football can be a harsh old beast; one where a gaffer can get the sack for doing little wrong. That’s how things turned out for club legend Paul Fairclough in December 1998, at least. OK, so Boro’ had just been routed in the FA Cup Second Round; Lincoln City brushing us aside 4-1. Victor Green’s decision, however, to axe Cloughie came as a huge shock. We were still third in the division at that point. It’s still a difficult call to explain, even to this day. We are over it, though. Honest.
In his place came Richard Hill. He had a platform on which to build from what he’d been left, but he didn’t. Boro’ ended up finishing sixth. It’s worth noting, however, that we only lost two fewer games than eventual champions Cheltenham Town. And it was them who put us out of the FA Trophy too; Boro’ losing 5-4 on penalties. But a brave new era was dawning at Broadhall Way and a new face would be at the helm.