Record Attendance at Broadhall Way

 

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

The highest attendance recorded at the Broadhall Way stadium was 8,040 for an FA Cup fourth round match against Newcastle United on Sunday 25th January 1998.

A temporary stand was erected behind the South Stand to increase the stadium capacity to 8,100.

The pre-match was  marred with controversy as Newcastle United insisted that “a ground of this size” would be “totally unsuitable bearing in mind the immense interest in the tie and the anticipated level of support from Newcastle fans for this match.”  (Independent, 1998¹).

The Geordies, led by manager Kenny Dalglish, were pushing the FA to order the match to be played at an alternative ground – and the weeks leading up to the match consisted of plenty of rhetoric and counter accusations between the Newcastle contingent and then Stevenage Borough chairman Victor Green.

The matter was finally resolved when Jonathan Brown, chairman of the safety advisory group which took the decision to allow the match to go ahead, maintained that “we are clearly satisfied that the ground is safe, providing that certain conditions are met. We looked at the issue in depth and it is obviously not something we take lightly. We can assure people that our prime consideration is safety, as is the club’s.” (Independent, 1998¹).

The FA rejected Newcastle’s appeal for the game to be played elsewhere, and the historic match duly took place at Broadhall way in front of a record crowd.

¹  Quoted in The Independent, published on Friday 9th January, 1998