A new book marking 25 years since Stevenage Borough faced Newcastle United in the FA Cup has been published.

In 1998, the part-time Boro team took a star-studded Newcastle side to a replay after a 1-1 draw at Broadhall Way. Up north, Stevenage fell to a 2-1 loss, but debate has raged ever since about Newcastle's first goal, scored by Alan Shearer.

Did it cross the line, or had Boro defender Mark Smith cleared it in time?

That infamous incident provides the title for Paul Fry's new book, 'We Only Lost 1-1: When Stevenage Borough were the talk of the Toon'.

A former reporter for the Comet and the Stevenage Gazette, Paul was heavily involved with the club at the time, serving as programme editor and setting up its first website.

The Comet: The matchday programme from Stevenage Borough's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at Broadhall Way.The matchday programme from Stevenage Borough's 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at Broadhall Way. (Image: Archant)

He says the Newcastle game "was a story [he] should have written years ago and the 25th anniversary was a great time to do it".

"And I just sensed that another cup run would be coming - I had hoped it would be a trilogy with Newcastle, but Aston Villa will do!"

In composing the book, he's interviewed many of the players, officials and others involved in the game, including then-chairman Victor Green, then-manager Paul Fairclough and players including Des Gallagher and Gary Crawshaw.

Crawshaw, who scored Boro's solitary goal in the replay, "had somebody from the Times following him around comparing his life [as a part-time player] to Shearer's £30,000 a week".


Paul says that the chapters on Crawshaw and the other players "take you behind the scenes, telling you what it felt like to be there".

And there's some other remarkable incidents in the book, too. Paul is a particular fan of one story, about a steward who was working in the temporary stand that had been erected for Newcastle fans at Broadhall Way.

Two years after the game, "she went on holiday to Portugal and bumped into a Geordie lad".

"They got talking about football, and it turned out they'd been a few feet away from each other at the game. They ended up getting married!"

That incident and more feature in Paul's new book, available on Amazon now.

You can also purchase a signed copy by emailing Paul at paulmarkfry@gmail.com