Boro in safe hands

New keeper arrives at Stevenage for the ‘long-term’ and admits he can’t wait to get started

STEVENAGE signed goalkeeper Steve Arnold yesterday, and the former Wycombe man admits he can’t wait to get started next season.

However, the 22-year-old will enjoy a two-week break in Thailand first of all, but in a phone call to the Comet on his way to the airport on Friday morning, Arnold admitted he will be glued to his phone to check who else follows him through the entrance door at the Lamex Stadium in the near future.

The Welham Green-born goalkeeper understands he might have to bide his time for the number one spot behind Chris Day, but insists he came to Boro for the long haul following Gary Smith’s phone call last week.

“I had a couple of calls from Gary who I worked with during my time at Grays, and it was a no-brainer, really,” Arnold told the Comet. “I spoke briefly with Luton but that didn’t come to anything and it is a massive opportunity to be able to come to Stevenage.

“Gary just told me to come down and said I’d love it. I’m not sure who will be coming in next but I know he’s planning on bringing a few players in so I’m looking forward to keeping up with everything on my phone while I’m on holiday.

“It will be great to play alongside and challenge Chris Day. I imagine he will be starting as number one at the start of the season but I’m going there for the long-term so hopefully I will get my chance.”

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Despite playing on loan for relegated Conference side Hayes & Yeading last season, Arnold admits it was hard to discover Wycombe weren’t going to keep him on at Adams Park. But now he is back playing for a League One club, the former Arsenal trainee couldn’t be happier to be given the chance to establish himself at Boro.

“My contract came to an end about three weeks ago, but I sort of already knew my time there was coming to an end,” he said. “The manager told me the club is having a bit of money trouble, so it was a big disappointment to leave because I had been there for three years.

“It’s great for me to be back in the Football League, though, and that was the whole point of me going out on loan to Hayes & Yeading, as people would be able to see me play, rather than me being on the bench. I’ve got good experience and I just can’t wait to get started at Stevenage.”

Arnold says he has been astounded by how well Boro have done in the last few seasons with their rise to League One, and their memorable FA Cup performances against Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, in particular.

“It’s mental how well Stevenage have done with their back-to-back promotions,” he said. “I remember when I was at Grays when Stevenage were back in the Conference and you could tell they were a club that was going places.

“They’ve got a great fan-base and they get good support at their games – you only had to see that with the FA Cup games against Tottenham last season. Hopefully the club can keep the good times going and go on to bigger and better things.”

When asked if he thinks Stevenage can maintain the well-documented togetherness and spirit of the dressing room after the squad rebuild under Smith this summer, Arnold reckons that, under his new boss, the squad will gel quickly.

“We had a very similar spirit at Wycombe when we got promoted to League 1. We perhaps weren’t the best players, individually, but we had a great bond and we got results.

“And knowing how the gaffer is, I’m sure we will get a great team spirit going at the club next season because Gary is a good man and a good manager.”