Stevenage fan Mark tells us his club are solvent and have just appointed a new CEO – perhaps that’s food for thought for the Valiants!
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Mark started supporting Stevenage in a full time capacity the season after they were denied promotion from the Conference in 1995/96. He tells us: “I’d been to a few games over the years before that but the furore surrounding the refusal really sparked something in me to start going more regularly. I missed a couple of seasons through my teenage years due to weekend jobs and the like but I’ve been there more or less ever since! I’m on Twitter as @hollismark if any of your mob want to give me some stick when you inevitably turn us over!”
How are your team doing?
In the space of 15 minutes we went from 19th to 23rd and now I’m left wondering what on earth is going to happen next!
Well, it’s an interesting question. We’ve been woeful for much of the season, found ourselves nine points adrift at the foot of the table and then went on a six game unbeaten run (3W 3D) to drag ourselves out of the relegation zone. A 0-0 draw away at Carlisle put us back in the bottom four and then came our almighty capitulation to MK Dons. From 2-0 up at 80 minutes having had a further two cleared off the line, we lost 3-2 through a mixture of poor defending and a wonder strike. I’ve never seen anything quite like it! So in the space of 15 minutes we went from 19th to 23rd and now I’m left wondering what on earth is going to happen next!
Who should we watch out for?
There are a few who could cause you problems depending on whether the Jekyll or Hyde side of our team turn up! Luke Freeman looks set to move on to bigger things at the end of the season and he has been in sensational form over the last few weeks. Francois Zoko’s goals have almost single handedly ensured we’ve not been relegated already and Jimmy Smith has been a revelation since being moved into his preferred position in central midfield.Generally you need to watch out for Freeman though. If he’s on form we tend to do well.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
We’re all well aware of the reputation that precedes our Graham and it’s that reputation which many of us hold dear. He’s certainly unique.
We’re all well aware of the reputation that precedes our Graham and it’s that reputation which many of us hold dear. He’s certainly unique. Our league position would suggest that his performance has been poor this season and at times, that has almost definitely been the case. However, he came back to us when our squad was in a very poor state and we had no budget to do anything about it. The six game unbeaten run came at a time when he’d just bought in a few new faces and it’s no coincidence that we’ve improved. I think Graham Westley is the only man for the job here and whether we survive the drop or not, I’d back him to have us in far, far better shape next season.
What are your thoughts on the board and off field club activities?
Couldn’t be better as far as I’m concerned. We’re solvent and are run in a completely self sufficient manner. Alright, we’re running a small loss this year I think due to the managerial change and the need to fix the squad but aside from that, Phil Wallace seems to have it all under control. We’ve recently taken on a new CEO in the shape of Barry Webber [Port Vale FC please take note – OVF editor] and he has got stuck in right away in trying to improve our attendances and income streams and hopefully we’ll see the fruits of his labour in the not too distant future. There are already signs that he’s doing good work.
Any views on Port Vale or specific players?
With the greatest of respect, not really! Port Vale are a side we’ve had a mixed bag of results against in the past and the games have often passed off without too much of a fanfare!
Any views and memories of players / managers that have been involved with both teams?
Of course, you have Jennison Myrie-Williams who was with us for a while and had a pretty unremarkable time here before being released by Gary Smith. Daryl McMahon was with us for a while but never held down too much of a regular spot, Steve Guppy had a couple of years and was a fans’ favourite winning the FA Trophy in his final season with us. Of everyone else who has played for both, Justin Richards stands out as he scored a fair few here but other than that, there’s no-one of any real note!
A score prediction?
A very, very optimistic 2-1 to Stevenage. Freeman and Zoko with the goals.