Stevenage FC North Stand: A look back in history

The North Stand at Stevenage FC, which will now be demolished and replaced. Picture: Danny Loo

The North Stand at Stevenage FC, which will now be demolished and replaced. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

It was the end of an era on Saturday as a relic of Stevenage FC’s non-League heritage saw its last matchday.

Fans look on from the North Terrace on its final matchday. Picture: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo Fans look on from the North Terrace on its final matchday. Picture: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

It is perhaps appropriate that the last hurrah for the terraced North Stand was in the FA Cup, the oldest football competition in the world – before demolition work began to make way for a 21st-century replacement.

Plenty of goals have been scored in front of the endearing old stand, but there was none on Saturday as Stevenage battled out a 0-0 draw with Reading.

The result means the last goal scored in front of the terrace was Tom Pett’s effort two minutes from the end of Boro’s 4-1 New Year’s Day win over Cheltenham.

Stevenage supporter Lloyd Briscoe told the Comet he could remember the Broadhall Way ground’s north end in the 1960s as a “cinder-bedded terrace with some concrete shuttered steps”.

View from Stevenage's North Stand looking toward the east, 1974. Picture: Bob Lilliman View from Stevenage's North Stand looking toward the east, 1974. Picture: Bob Lilliman

The ground was built by the Stevenage Development Corporation in 1961, and was used by Stevenage Borough from the club’s formation in 1976.

An abiding memory of the North Terrace for Lloyd – which he said would always remain with him – is of a photograph of Boro player Danny Dance sitting on the pitch boundary wall in 1978.

“Danny was an amazing player for the fledgling Stevenage Borough,” said Lloyd.

“The picture has him sitting on the wall with a derelict playing surface – with an old bucket in the grass in the background.”

Danny Dance sitting on the wall of the North Stand at Broadhall Way, 1978. Picture: The Comet Danny Dance sitting on the wall of the North Stand at Broadhall Way, 1978. Picture: The Comet

The stand didn’t have a roof at all until 1994. When the South Stand was then redeveloped, its old roof was added to the North Stand, with the whole thing moved along slightly – which is why the stand lacked symmetry.

Comet sports reporter Layth Yousif’s memories of the stand include the 1998 Newcastle match, as well as the night he stood on the terrace to see Boro play Everton in 2014 – a 4-0 win for the Toffees, “sadly remembered for the crack of Bryan Oviedo’s shinbone that reverberated around the stadium”.

Boro fans last year raised more than £600,000 through a mini-bonds scheme to help the club fund the redevelopment.

The new 1,428-capacity stand is set to open for the 2018/19 season.

Stevenage's North Terrace with its pylon floodlights in 1968, with a flag flying from one of the pylons. Picture: Jim Briscoe Stevenage's North Terrace with its pylon floodlights in 1968, with a flag flying from one of the pylons. Picture: Jim Briscoe

• The North Stand had been where wheelchair-using supporters were accommodated for Stevenage home matches. A new wheelchair section will be built as part of the new stand. During the demolition and construction work, there will be a wheelchair section in the south corner of the West Stand. Away fans using wheelchairs will have their own section there.

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