Stevenage, 11th February 2020


Published in the Bradford City AFC match day programme for the above fixture

Stevenage FC was previously known as Stevenage Borough FC but the club’s identity was changed when it secured membership of the EFL in 2010. This is the club’s tenth in the competition and the seventh in the basement division, having been members of the third tier between 2011-14. Thus far there have been five meetings between the sides of which three at this level and honours are even with two wins each and aggregate scores of 6-6.

Our first fixture was at Valley Parade in August, 2010 which resulted in a 1-0 home victory. Our first visit to Stevenage followed in April, 2011 but we did not achieve a win at Broadhall Way until last August. The programmes from the respective fixtures in 2010/11 are featured.

The rise of Stevenage FC has been a fairly recent phenomenon given that the club had only been formed in 1976 and first promoted to the Conference in 1994. To that extent its record is no mean achievement.

I can’t help but think that the emergence of traditionally lower profile sides from the south of England – such as Stevenage and Crawley – has reflected the changing regional balance in the UK economy. For sure, Salford City and even the likes of Morecambe or Macclesfield might suggest otherwise, but it does feel to be the case that southern clubs have become established at the expense of northern rivals. That said, maybe the fact that League football is now played in Stevenage, Crawley and Milton Keynes is the ultimate measure of the success of post war new towns?

Given that our meetings have been fairly recent there are no historic programmes to feature. Whereas much earlier publications tend to reflect the character and personality of individual clubs, the phenomenon of modern match day magazines is such that there is far less variability in the quality and content of what is produced than could be said of programmes from earlier eras.

Going back to the 1980s for example there was considerable difference in programmes between clubs. Unfortunately, it has to be acknowledged that the Bradford City issues were often poor compared to many of those produced by our rivals. Much depended on the enthusiasm of individual club officials to invest the time in compiling a programme. Inevitably, new technology has transformed the process which has become far more professionalised and specialist firms are now involved in their production. The irony of course is that despite standards being at an unprecedented level, readership of match magazines has been undermined by online media and changing habits.

Thanks for visiting my blog. The drop down menu above provides links to archive images of Valley Parade and content on the history of Bradford City as well as book reviews and prior programme features.

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