dr martens 1460 cherry red Dismal chapter in Nuneaton Boro history
Dismal chapter in Nuneaton Boro historyTWENTY one years ago, virtually to the week, Nuneaton Borough were relegated from non league football’s top flight.08:12, 22 MAY 2008Updated00:39, 26 APR 2013Over recent weeks Boro have battled to stave off demotion from the Blue Square North division of the Football Conference but debts amounting to more than mean administrators are about to be called in.
With that comes an end to Blue Square North football at Liberty Way for the time being.
Yet again the supporters are left to mull over another dismal chapter in Boro’s topsy turvy history that was on a more positive footing just 18 months ago with a Football League place being spoken of by former major shareholder Ted Stocker.
But that dream has become a nightmare for the club as a drop down to either the Southern League or Unibond PremierThat’s a sad reflection on a club which in January 2006 faced up to Premiership Middlesbrough at The Riverside in an FA Cup third round replay in front of a crowd of a 26,255 crowd following a 1 1 draw at Manor Park where a 6,000 full house witnessed one of the club’s greatest achievements.
A pay day of around was banked by Boro for their
exploits and with another million made from the sale of Manor Park, Boro’s future seemed to be on a solid footing as the move to Liberty Way got under way.
But the cash drained away as the new ground was developed and yet again Nuneaton’s most senior football club is set to slumber again in the non league pyramid’s third tier.
CLUB’S UPS AND DOWNS THROUGH THE YEARS
HISTORY points to many ups and down during the history of Boro, a club formed in 1937 after Nuneaton Town folded.
In the late 50s, Boro first savoured Southern League football and the following year became founder members of its new Premier flight.
In 1979 Boro joined the Alliance League (now Football Conference) and, after successive seasons of relegation then promotion, finished runners up twice in a row (1984 and 1985) only to be demoted back to the Southern League in 1987 due to off the pitch problems, despite finishing in mid table.
Three years on and they avoided the threat of closure as money again was in short supply and dark clouds circled Manor Park,
but the club managed to stave off insolvency and eased through another period of roller coasting before taking the Dr Martens (Southern League) Premier Division championship in 1999, finishing 23 points in front of second placed Boston United.
This put them back in the Conference the following season and many of Nuneaton’s supporters believe this is when Boro began to lose its way off the pitch as the team’s budget
increased beyond it’s resources as manager Brendan Phillips and then Steve Burr built squads that consolidated in the Nationwide sponsored top division.
However, a disastrous 2002 03 saw Boro lose 2 0 at home to Farnborough on the last day of the season and with results elsewhere conspiring against them they were relegated with Burr throwing in the towel, and Southern League soccer beckoned again.
During that short stay in the Conference, money was spent employing players on long contracts but gate receipts and attendances dropped while it became evident Manor Park was no longer the place to play if the club was to achieve its ambition of getting into the Football League.
Finally, after almost two decades of debating a ground move where hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent on plans, schemes and publicity campaigns such as ‘Follow The Bear’, the move finally came to fruition and Nuneaton welcomed the move to Liberty Way last August and a successful future.
Alas, it was not to be, and as the team lost its impetus out on the pitch, failing to make the play offs, funds dried up off it forcing Ian Neale, who took on the role of major shareholder from Stocker in mid March,
to accept earlier this week that the club would be entering administration.