Boro Memories Day: Gittings and Berry

Club legends recall their favourite Stevenage memories ahead of Boro Memories Day

The Comet has teamed up with the University of Hertfordshire for Boro Memories Day - a project which aims to record favourite Stevenage Borough memories of players and fans for prosperity. The project will see a recording session take place at the Lamex Stadium on October 29. Here, Boro legends Steve Berry and Martin Gittings give their lasting memories

Steve Berry:

“It was a privilege to captain the team which was so full of energy and hunger and spawned the likes of Barry Hayles, Peter Sodje etc who all went on to have great professional careers,” says Steve Berry, pictured right lifting up the 1996 Conference trophy.

“This was my first step out of the professional game and I like to think that my experience, maturity and ability helped to gel the raw talent we had in this team.

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“The most memorable game for me was the home win against Woking, who were pushing us hard for the title. For me this was the game that sealed the title and with the confidence gained from this emphatic victory, we never looked back and ran out worthy champions.

“Another memorable day was the 8-0 rout away at Runcorn [in which Berry scored]. We were unstoppable that day and you could sense that this was a special team.

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“Lifting the trophy as captain at our home in Broadhall Way was a special moment for me and one I shall always treasure, as well is my abiding memory of the fans who were always so supportive of me as a player even when returning as player/manager for the opposition...”

Martin Gittings:

In almost 400 games for Boro Martin Gittings knocked in 209 league goals and despite having spells at other clubs, he started, and ended, his career on the same pitch - Broadhall Way.

Gittings made his debut for the club against Sharnbrook in 1980 and went on to become the club’s highest ever scorer over four spells at the club. He was also named the Player of the Year twice.

He names Paul Peterson as his best football coach, and Derek Montgomery, Frank Cornwell and Paul Fairclough as his his three most memorable and successful managers.

Gittings lists is highlights as: Playing against Leeds United in 1982-83, the opening of the new floodlights against a team which included famous legends such as Frank and Eddie Grey, Kenny Burns, John Lukic, Paul Hart and Gwyn Thomas; the two Player of the Year titles, 1985-86 and 1993-94; the Golden Boot Award in the Vauxhall League for scoring 44 goals during 1991-92; his testimonial match against Tottenham Hotspur in August 1994; having the first Fanzine programme named after him. Called Gitts is Up, it ran for the season 1993-94.

Gittings’ most memorable events, for a number of reasons, include:

“The 1984-85 season. We played an evening away league match against Billericay Town. The team included me and two brothers, Peter in midfield and Alan who came off the substitute’s bench in the second half.

“The FA Vase Cup run in the 1985-86 season which ended with a quarter-final 2-0 defeat at Southport.

“Stevenage took 1,000 supporters to the game but ended disappointedly following a lacklustre performance.

“Les Ferdinand (future Tottenham striker) and Andy Impey (QPR) were playing in the Southport team that day.”

Among his disappointments, Gittings lists representing the league select side in 1991 in a game against the non-league England team at Enfield because he was suspended for the next trial game against Aldershot.

“This cost me my chance of getting in the non-league England squad.

“However, Dave Venables went on to represent the country and earn his England cap.”

And another regret? “Never playing at Wembley,” he says.

Gitts’ My Best Boro XI (plus subs!)

Des Gallagher; Denny Tyler, Paul Bowgett, Mark Smith, Graham Roberts; Dave Venables, Ian Adcroft, Peter Gittings, Phil Driver; Martin Gittings, Barry Hayles. Subs: Richard Wilmot, Danny Dance, Neil Trebble, Steve Berry, Efe Sodje, Ricky Marshall.

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