When the final whistle sounded at the Lamex Stadium last night, the roar which soon followed was for the first time in years not of expectant delight, but of relief.
A second half goal from Marcus Haber gave Stevenage the win over high-flying Brentford and more importantly, edged the Hertfordshire side away from a relegation zone they had been hurtling towards over the past couple of months.
The Boro faithful have not been accustomed to looking over their shoulders in recent years, with the club going from strength to strength and hitting its peak last season by finishing in the League One play-off places. Not bad for a team who only won the Conference in 2010.
Yet their club’s recent run of poor form – culminating in what was a six-match losing streak before last night’s victory – has led to the prospect of relegation being seriously considered and some fans to make their feelings known.
Last time out Stevenage fell to defeat at home to Colchester United, a team who at the time found themselves in the relegation zone. That defeat was not received well by many members of the crowd who booed the players and manager Gary Smith as they departed down the tunnel.
During that game, the mood at the Lamex dropped noticeably as Colchester took the lead, there appeared to be little support or belief that the home side could turn it around – this was confirmed by the booing that accompanied the final whistle.
But their home game with Brentford was a different matter entirely.
Stevenage managed to strike the post twice in the opening 20 minutes and were much the better team throughout the game. This created a different atmosphere to the weekend’s match, as a home support filled with belief rallied behind their side.
The players responded: Canadian forward Haber prodded home when the ball was headed back into the Brentford box and the team defended well for the remaining minutes to see out the game with little trouble.
The win should serve as a wake-up call for Stevenage, but not just for the players to start believing in themselves.
What was emphasised so clearly during the course of this game was that the best way to support your team is to do just that – support your team.
The relationship between players and fans may be pretty distant off the pitch, but come match-day, they should find themselves working very closely together.
Yes, the players performing well will get the best out of the fans, but when the results aren’t coming it's up to the fans to lend a hand in turning it around.
This doesn’t just apply to Stevenage fans, anyone attending a football game should know that only when the boo-boys are silenced and encouragement rings around the stands can the team perform at its best.
Just like your mother almost certainly told you at some point, if you don’t have anything nice to say (or in this case chant), don’t say anything at all.
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