On 29th October 2012, the Stevenage FC History Website was launched by two long standing supporters and main stand season ticket holders – Paul Kennedy and Darren Lampert.
So being a little self indulgent we have decided to celebrate our 1st Birthday by documenting how the site was pulled together and review what we have achieved in our first year.
Origins of the site
The possibilities of a history website had occupied the thoughts of Paul Kennedy for nearly a decade before its eventual launch.
Paul moved away from the town in 2006 but prior to that had been a regular contributor to the Official Match Day Programme and for a short while co-webmaster of the Official Website.
Tentative discussions had started and stopped through the early part of the century, most notably with Steve Watkins but the enormity of the task and the pressures on time meant whilst everyone agreed it would be a worthwhile enterprise nothing really happened.
In January 2012, Paul was talking to fellow supporter Darren Lampert over a drink, discussing how far Boro had come in footballing terms in such a relatively short space of time when the merits of launching a history site were discussed at length.
By May 2012 both Paul and Darren were committed to a website launch and had decided the format of the site would be to “document the rise of Stevenage FC through the footballing pyramid in easy to read articles and images” and thereby compliment Boroguide.
Work started immediately to plan the look and feel of the site and the architecture that would support it. Darren took the lead on this from an IT standpoint. It was also important that we could source images of players, matches and other historical events, so Paul approached the Comet and asked them to become website picture sponsors.
The main website banner was created by a graphic designer, utilising the former Stevenage badges and an image of Stacy Long scoring a memorable, albeit deflected goal against Charlton Athletic in the 2011/12 season.
Whilst the site is unofficial, it was decided early on that Phil Wallace should be advised of our plans, looking for his permission to reproduce the club crest and other images from the official match day programme and to make sure he was aware of, and comfortable with the aims of the site.
By July 2012, the site had a picture sponsor, the support of the Boro chairman and a website architecture agreed by the two founders. Things were moving forward quickly but there was still much to do. Through the rest of the summer until September there were two streams of activity;
1. Building the website structure including the menus, website banner – we had a number of attempts at this including one that looked a little too continental with lots of scarves! And of course the creation of the Twitter account. We now have 270 followers – it would be great to breach 300!
2. Building some core content that would allow us to go live. This sounds easy but when you have no site live and therefore no credibility or track record, you have to work really hard to convince people to undertake interviews.
Mark Beard kindly agreed to do an interview and a skeleton review on each season was created as the basis of our go live position. A task that is ‘easier said then done’. It took literally months to complete.
After a couple of missed targets the launch of the site was finally completed on the 29th October.
The first year…..stat attack!
It was always our intention to post one article a week and we have pretty much achieved that, in fact we have only missed 2 weeks during our first year, although we have had numerous near misses!
We have documented so far includes;
- An honours list
- A stadium picture review
- A player of the season review
- 13 ex player interviews
- 36 season reviews ( 5 in detail)
- 8 games in history
- 10 moments in history
- 2 statistical reviews – the Conference years/ the League years
- 10 reproductions of the managers first notes
- 3 Manager biographies
The site is certainly a labour of love for the two founders, but for it to survive this first year and for it to continue to grow in future years we really must acknowledge the following individuals that have been so supportive of the site in practical ways…this will be a bit like the Oscars!
Phil Wallace for being supportive of the venture from the outset and club officials Mitchell Jones and Dave Toyn.
Matt Ranson and Kevin Coleman for providing and giving permission to reproduce their excellent images.
Damion Roberts from the Comet for arranging the picture sponsorship, for allowing the reproduction of Comet images and for being supportive of the idea from the outset.
Stu Govier for being a fantastic resource of images from the official match day programmes, often at short notice. A great source of information too.
Mervyn Stokes-Geddes and Chris Day for access to historical programme covers and for their willingness to do ad-hoc research at short notice.
Lloyd Briscoe for being an excellent source of information and images especially from the early days of the club.
Steve Watkins for raising awareness of the site on ALOOT
Boroguide for being a fantastic resource site. The history sites preferred supplier!
To all the supporters that have provided their own images for inclusion on the site.
To all our readers
The site has a larger number of articles in the pipeline and we also have a whole host of ideas to work on for 2014, but should any supporter have any feature ideas then it would be great to receive them at Paul@stevenagefchistory.com.
I should say that the only limitation to the site is the available time we have after work and family commitments.
Let’s see where the next year takes us and how we get on!