Next up in our review of next season’s opponents we take at look at the fifth side to visit Brunton Park in the new campaign - Stevenage.
Nickname: The Boro
Club Colours: White & Red
Who are they?
A relatively young club, Stevenage were founded in 1976 after the bankruptcy of Stevenage Athletic. The club swiftly rose through the non-league system and reached the Conference in 1994.
They won the Conference in 1995/96, but were denied promotion to the Football League due to insufficient ground facilities. They later became the first team to win a competitive final at the new Wembley Stadium after beating Kidderminster Harriers 3-2 in the 2007 FA Trophy Final.
Promotion to the Football League was finally secured in 2010, with the club then leaping into League One after a play-off victory the following season. Their stay in League Two lasted only a couple of seasons, with the club now residing in the fourth tier.
Did You Know?
+ In May 2015, 56-year-old goalkeeper Dave Beasant was named on the bench for Stevenage’s play-off semi-final against Southend, making him the oldest individual to be selected in a squad in Football League history.
+ The club dropped ‘Borough’ from their name in June 2010 after gaining promotion to the Football League.
+The Boro have signed two players from Jamie Vardy’s V9 academy, with Blair Turgott and Danny Newton signing this summer.
How did they get on last season?
It was another strong campaign for Stevenage, who only narrowly missed out on the play-offs having flirted with the top seven for the vast majority of the season. They eventually finished in 10th, only three points off the play-off places.
Who’s in charge?
Darren Sarll has been in charge at the Lamex Stadium since the departure of Teddy Sheringham in 2016. The former non-league midfielder began his coaching career at Stevenage in a variety of youth and reserve roles, before moving on to Brentford as youth team manager in 2008.
He followed Andy Scott when he left London to move to Rotherham, before he returned to Stevenage as Head of Youth. He was named caretaker manager after Sheringham departed in February of last year, before being handed the job on a permanent basis.
How has their summer transfer business looked?
Six players were released by the Boro at the end of last season, with Charlie Lee, Andrew Fox, Dean Wells, Nathan Kerr, Michael Tonge and Jake Hyde all leaving the Lamex Stadium.
But they have been replaced by four new additions. Simon Ferry joined from Brentford for an undisclosed fee with Alex Samuel, Harry Beautyman, Blair Turgott and Danny Newton all also making the move to Hertfordshire.
They’ve Played For Both
A fans’ favourite at both clubs, Francois Zoko initially came to England when signed by Greg Abbott in 2010. He made 88 appearances for the Cumbrians during his two-year spell at Brunton Park and scored 19 times. He joined Stevenage in 2013, initially on a short-term deal. He made 40 appearances during his time at the Boro, netting 16 goals before moving to Blackpool.
Memorable Meeting - Stevenage 0-1 Carlisle (14 May 2005)
What else could it be? United clinched promotion back to the Football League after a narrow victory over Stevenage in this play-off final at the Britannia Stadium. Peter Murphy’s first-half header proved enough to seal victory and an immediate return to League Two.
When Did We Last Meet?
We last faced Stevenage on Easter Monday of this year, with the two sides playing out a 1-1 draw at Brunton Park. Steven Schumacher’s penalty handed the visitors the lead on 50 minutes, but Jabo Ibehre’s powerful strike levelled things up with just under twenty minutes remaining.
Highlights of our 2-1 away win in October last season are here:
Highlights of our 1-1 home draw in April last season are here:
When Do We Meet Next?
Stevenage visit Brunton Park on 26 September in our first home midweek fixture of the new campaign, with the return trip to the Lamex Stadium coming on 20 January.