Boro heading in right direction says Wallace
Chairman says future is bright irrespective of Saturday’s outcome
STEVENAGE chairman Phil Wallace says it has been a joy to witness the success of his football club during its first season in the Football League.
He also insists that, regardless of the result against Torquay United in Saturday’s League 2 play-off final, the club is heading firmly in the right direction and has a bright future ahead.
“When I first took over the club the ambition was to stop it going into bankruptcy,” Wallace told The Comet.
“The dream was always to get it through to the Football League and once we were there, to progress as much as we possibly can.
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“Anybody that said we would have been happy to finish mid-table would have been crazy. You’ve always got a desire to finish as high as you can and get into the play-offs and then get promotion – but to say it was an expectation to do that in our first season I think it would be a way off.
“We’ve been doing a great job all across the club. In terms of the results it’s been fantastic – going to Wembley playing in finals, winning the Conference championship, being in this final – it’s been absolutely brilliant and you couldn’t ask for any more.”
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Wallace says victory on Saturday and earning a place in League 1 will hopefully speed up plans to build the proposed new North Stand – something he has been canvassing for a long time – but he also insists that failure to do so will not be the end of the world for the club.
He added: “It’s still been a fantastic season regardless. To be in the fourth round of the FA Cup, being on TV, getting into the play-off final – it will still be a fantastic achievement.
“It would help (promotion), but we’ve got a plan to improve the infrastructure as we go which we’ve been doing. We’re probably a League 1 club mentally anyway, so it’s the Championship that would be a problem to us if we got into that because that involves having an all-seater stadium, etc.”
Meanwhile, Wallace has criticised the Football League for failing to make provisions for the possibility of two southern teams making it to the final.
Supporters of both clubs have expressed frustrations that holding the final at Old Trafford – a 76,000-seater stadium – was a poor decision by the governing body given the distance supporters will have to travel.
There has also been criticism of ticket prices for the match, with some costing as much as �56 – a figure Wallace says is neither practical nor fair to supporters having to make their way up from the south.
And it seems a combination of those two factors will have a considerable impact on Saturday’s attendance with Boro having sold only around 3,500 tickets so far, while Torquay are thought to have sold around 5,000.
He added: “Torquay and Stevenage (playing in the North West) is fairly ridiculous and I don’t see why it wouldn’t have been possible to have a north and a south venue.
“It’s not difficult to put a game on at seven days notice if you know about it in advance which would have been more sensible. A lower based pricing policy would have also been good.”