New look Boro ‘mean business’ - Westley

New signings Simon Walton, Chris Whelpdale and Andy Bond

New signings Simon Walton, Chris Whelpdale and Andy Bond - Credit: Archant

“The fans have a team back in town that means business.”

That was Stevenage boss Graham Westley’s assessment of his squad ahead of the start of pre-season. Boro are due to travel to the Armadillo Stadium tomorrow (Wednesday) to play Arlesey Town before welcoming West Ham to the Lamex Stadium on Saturday.

The club has seen wholesale changes since it was relegated to League Two. In fact, only a handful of players remain of the 2013/14 campaign as Westley cleaned house in order to bring in his targets.

All in all, the manager is feeling optimistic and he believes the fan base is too after Saturday’s meet and greet with the players.

“I think the home fan base is probably going to be out in number for the West Ham game because there is a sense that this group of player means business,” said Westley during his first press conference of the season.

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“It must have been very difficult to be a Stevenage fan for the last couple of years.

The football on show has lacked a lot of things: energy, work rate, commitment and a sense of desire and ambition.

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“But talking to the fans at the weekend – it was great to see so many of them – there is a sense of belief. They have a team back in town that means business. Proof of the pudding will be in the eating but working with the boys on the training ground I can tell that the atmosphere is completely different and back where it ought to be.”

Westley is not getting too far ahead of himself as to the season’s aim, though. He knows a new team needs time to gel but that’s not stopping him from brimming with confidence.

“When you bring new people put them under too much pressure is naïve,” he explained.

“They need time to forge themselves as a team and find their feet. But, and I truly believe this, it wouldn’t worry me who and where we had to play on the opening day, I feel we can win.”

It’s stark contrast to last year. Outwardly, Westley said what was expected, but he knew the squad wasn’t good enough.

“Last year, I knew in my heart of hearts that there wasn’t enough going into the shirts to win,” he conceded.

“It was a fearful time putting a team out because I knew there wasn’t enough in the shirts to guarantee victory. But I believe in these players, they have the ingredients to win football games.”

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