I moved to Boreham Wood as a child with my parents in 1954 aged six (born in 1948 – the same year as Boreham Wood FC were founded.) Playing football at Cowley Hill Junior School in 1957 I decided to see a proper match in the hope of improving my own performance. I stood in the tin hut (which served as a grandstand) having paid my 3d. entry fee and looked in wonder at a world I had never seen before. I was by far the youngest unaccompanied spectator in a crowd of some fifty or so men shouting instructions/insults at the players. I was hooked and became a fixture at Eldon Avenue for the next six years. Thereafter I followed the team on a regular basis at Meadow Park and while at college attended a few away games as well.
Getting married in 1971 and moving to Tunbridge Wells put a stop to my regular visits to Meadow Park although every visit back to see Mum included a ‘football fix’ to see some, by then, Isthmian football. A new progressive Chairman arrived at the turn of the century and was quite determined to make Boreham Wood FC a force to be reckoned with in Non-League Football. We all know the time and effort (and considerable expense) that Danny Hunter has bestowed on this Club and long after we are all dead and gone his name will be synonymous with Boreham Wood FC.
To be involved in an FA Cup tie is, for most clubs, an honour. Winning the trophy is not a feasible option… It’s the taking part. It is all about going that little bit further in the competition than previously and, hopefully, a bit of giantkilling on the way. Having previously beaten league opposition (albeit Leagues 1 & 2) we now had Championship promotion candidates AFC Bournemouth to contend with… At their place! We trusted in Manager Luke Garrard and we trusted in the players but it was difficult to see how we were to beat a team 74 places above us in the Football Pyramid…
Unable to get to the game we had my son and daughter round, plus their respective wife/husband as they all knew how much this meant to me. They must have been tired hearing all my stories about the early days and how much fortunes have changed for the better. I thought the Wood began the game in a more positive frame of mind than their hosts. Knowing that Everton awaited the winners at Goodison Park in the next round, I started to believe in miracles. Sure enough, one came along when Ricko side-footed the ball into the net during an inspired first half performance. The remaining hour of the contest was, in truth, a masterclass in defensive responsibility and sheer guts.
Having witnessed other Non-League teams having had victory snatched away from them in the dying seconds this game stretched the nerves to breaking point. But end it did and when the smoke cleared from the battlefield it was ‘Wood’ standing victorious.
I confess there were tears running down my cheeks as I was overcome with emotion. These tears of joy were not just for this game but for all the games I have seen over sixty-five years. A joy shared with those players, fans and club officials – some still with us but most departed. Joy for that little club from Hertfordshire, whose result is always the first I look for every week. A joy, like love, which never stops giving.
Bring on Everton, on live TV. I have only been to Goodison Park once before. This was early seventies and an FA Cup game against Millwall, a struggling 2nd Division team. The hosts had the majority of the play, but the visitors scored with their two chances and won the game 2-0. Lightning can strike twice – maybe again this season?
OUR CLUB. OUR TOWN. OUR COMMUNITY.