a brief history of the club
Boreham Wood Football Club will celebrate its 70th Anniversary at the end of the forthcoming 2017/18 season, having been formed in 1948 following the amalgamation of Boreham Rovers and Royal Retournez.
In our formative years the club progressed through the Mid-Herts, Parthenon, Spartan and Athenian Leagues. Under the Chairmanship of local man Bill O’Neill and the management of fellow local man Micky Hunter, the club moved forward by winning back to back promotions at Athenian League level, before being elected to the Isthmian Football League in 1974/75, under the management of another local man Micky Lennon.
In 1976/77 the club won the Isthmian League Division Two Championship by sixteen points and then had a five season spell in the Premier Division during the late seventies and early eighties. It then enjoyed another much more successful spell in the Premier Division during the nineties under the Chairmanship of Phil Wallace and the managerial expertise of Bob Makin.
That sadly ended in relegation at the end of the 1999/2000 season under the then new Chairman Danny Hunter who remains our Chairman to this day. However, the club did bounce back quickly from their disappointment and we once again gained promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division, as Isthmian League Division One Champions in 2000/01.
Over the years our little football club has had many successes in FA Cup competitions, as well as in the Hertfordshire and London FA Senior Challenge Cups. Boreham Wood also reached the final of the Isthmian League Full Members Cup in 1994/95 and 1995/96 and won the Isthmian League Cup in 1996/97.
Following the Football Association restructuring of non-league football in 2004, Boreham Wood competed for the first time in the Southern Football League, playing in Division One East for two seasons. Winning the championship in 2005/06 the club was promoted again and returned to the Isthmian League Premier Division for the 2006/07 season.
In the FA Trophy (the Non-League FA Cup), the club went on an incredible cup run to reach the Semi-Finals in 2005/06. We are very proud to say that, at present, we are still the lowest ranked team to have reached the last four of that prestigious tournament.
The 2009/10 season was also a very memorable one for the club, as it saw us finish 4th in our Isthmian League Premier Division campaign and take part in a league Play-Off for the very first time. After defeating Aveley 1-0 away in the Semi-Final, the club went on to beat Kingstonian 2-0 at home in the final of the Premier Division Play-Offs and, under the shrewd management of Ian Allinson, we deservedly took our place in the Football Conference South.
After our promotion, a poor start to the inaugural 2010/11 Conference South league campaign saw us initially struggle to compete at that level and we did in fact sit bottom of the league in and around the Christmas period. However, with clear leadership and further investment from our experienced Chairman, our manager Ian Allinson, our dressing room and our supporters all came together. We rallied and in truth recovered well to finish in a very respectful 14th place in the league table.
The 2011/12 season saw us build on our efforts from the first campaign and come the season’s end we had achieved a very respectable 8th place in the Football Conference South, to finish ever closer to achieving one of the coveted Play-Off places.
Unlike the previous season, the 2012/13 campaign saw the club start very well, only to finish poorly. We did in fact slip from occupying a solid play off place in early March to end up in a disappointing 9th place. However, the undoubted story of that season was our glorious FA Cup run and First Round proper appearance that ended in a 2-0 defeat against a very good Brentford side at Meadow Park.
The 2013/14 season ended in cup success, with a Herts Senior Cup triumph after defeating local rivals Bishops Stortford on penalties in the final. Another poor start in our league campaign meant the club had a long relegation battle on its hands for the majority of the season. However, another cup run saw us again reach the first round proper of the FA Cup, and that culminated in us holding Football League One side Carlisle United to a 0-0 draw at Meadow Park.
The replay ended in heartbreak, though, as we led 1-0, only to miss a penalty before two late goals saw us bow out of the competition 2-1. However, that was the catalyst to an improvement in our league form, and it saw the team pull clear of the drop zone and finish the season strongly to end up in 13th place.
In 2013 we received the go ahead to build a brand new 870 seater West Stand. The project was finally completed in May 2014 at a cost of around three quarters of a million pounds. The stand was officially opened by Mr Arsene Wenger in front of a bumper crowd of 3,400, in a specially arranged friendly against an Arsenal First Team on Saturday 19th July 2014.
The 2014/15 season, according to our Chairman, was the most successful season in Boreham Wood Football Club’s 69 year history to date. After leading the Conference South for the majority of the season, we succumbed to the eventual League Champions Bromley and so took our place in the end of season Play-Offs.
After playing magnificently to beat Havant & Waterlooville 2-0 away from home and then drawing 2-2 at home in a two legged Semi-Final we faced the then big spending and strongly fancied Whitehawk Football Club at Meadow Park in front of a partisan 2,200 crowd.
A Lee Angol set piece put us ahead early in the second half before a late Whitehawk penalty levelled proceedings. However, a Junior Morias goal in the first minute of extra time proved to be the winner and sent the club into raptures and the town into delirium. Who could believe it, little Boreham Wood with the lowest average attendance in the league had deservedly achieved promotion to the top tier of Non-League football for the very first time in our then 67 year history!
The 2015/16 season was undoubtedly an historic season for the Wood with us competing at the top table of non-league football for the very first time in the newly named National League.
It was though no fairy-tale opening season at National League level against much stronger opposition. In fact it proved a very difficult one just to remain at the level and, apart from our opening day 3-1 win against Halifax and the odd big win against the likes of Tranmere Rovers, we struggled to compete with the bigger clubs.
By the October we had lost our very successful long standing manager Ian Allinson to his increased work commitments. We had replaced him with Allinson’s experienced, but young, assistant manager Luke Garrard who was just 30 years of age and continued to struggle and adjust to football at that level and faced a relegation battle that took us to the very last game of the season.
The final three league games of the campaign, though, will live long in the memory as they saw us beat Aldershot away 2-1, beat Guiseley at home 1-0 and then beat Welling United 3-0 away. That end of season turnaround finally secured our place in the National League Premier and sent our Chairman, Manager, staff, dressing room and supporters into raptures.
Last season 2016/17 saw the club improve further, with an incredible 11th place National League finish. Our Chairman Danny Hunter can proudly claim that he has overseen our rise through both the Ryman Leagues, through the Conference South and into the National League Premier.
During our Chairman’s tenure, he has continued to invest or raise over £14 million, to greatly modernise our current infrastructure, our current player recruitment, our current ground and facility, which has improved the football club hugely and enhanced every fan’s matchday experience when they visit our Meadow Park home.
The Chairman has secured further investment of £1.8 million this summer, to build a new training facility, lay a new DESSO pitch of Premier League quality, install new floodlights and dugouts.
Our facilities are now 90% utilised on a daily basis, 52 weeks of the year. The club houses the largest sports education programme in the whole country, which has now been established for well over a decade. It is a programme that boasts over 575 scholar/students and we have already registered a possible 600 for the next academic year and 2017/18 season.
Optimism in our future has long returned to Meadow Park and we hope it will now lead to greater home support, greater sponsorship and, of course, further investment as we continue to progress. The Chairman now wants us to establish ourselves as one of the top 24 non-league clubs in the country and push on from there.
So after an incredible infrastructure overhaul and huge facility investment in the last 10 weeks, the club has never looked in better shape. We now have the excitement of a new National League season to look forward to and the future of Boreham Wood Football Club has never looked brighter throughout our 69 year history.