The life and times of Graham Westley
I’ve been thinking about the Stevenage game a lot this week. Google their manager Graham Westley and you can read a lot about his past endeavours. Of a journeyman footballer, who at 28 years old cut his teeth in management at Kingstonian and how he left Farnborough Town in the lurch just days after a much publicised ‘home’ FA Cup game against Arsenal.
Farnborough conceded home advantage in that 4th Round to play at Highbury and Westley was not only manager but also owner. After the 5-1 defeat Westley took his assistant manager, goalkeeping coach, seven players and alleged £500,000 of profit made from the Arsenal game to Stevenage Borough. Search a bit harder on the net and you will come across a “Westley is a c***” website. He has always stirred a lot of passion, and he thrives on it.
He also famously, at least famously in Hampshire circles, tried to merge Farnborough Town and his old club Kingstonian, that was met with understandable backlash. After Westley walked away Farnborough Town later went bankrupt, but thanks to fans reformed and are now in the Conference South.
Westley left Stevenage after the first time around in May 2006 and went on to manage Rushden & Diamonds and Kettering as well running his own business where his is still CEO.
His return two years later was met with a certain amount of scepticism by Stevenage fans. Westley promised to deliver a winning team, playing attractive football and to finish the job he started. Not many who watch Boro regularly will agree with the attractive football, but no one can deny that Westley has been ultra successful at Broadhall Way, with a FA Trophy and two promotions under his belt.
Westley and his teams have a confident and bold attitude, and his dressing rooms are the sort to carry newspaper clippings highlighting teams weaknesses or cocky arrogance.
Fortunately Chris Powell won’t be falling into that trap, and as he said yesterday the key will be to be good enough to dictate play and affect our game on them. It won’t be pretty at Broadhall Way on Saturday, that is for sure but we will be well backed, and hopefully our quality and desire will win through.