Stevenage appoint Westley for fourth spell as Boro boss

Graham Westley

Graham Westley - Credit: Archant

Stevenage have appointed Graham Westley as new first-team manager for his fourth spell at the club, with interim boss Mark Sampson returning to his role as coach as Boro aim to turn their League Two season around.

Graham Westley on the sidelines

Graham Westley on the sidelines - Credit: Archant

Westley managed the club from 2003 to 2006 before returning in 2008, guiding Boro to back-to-back promotions from the Conference to League One before leaving again to join Preston North End in 2012.

The 51-year-old returned again in 2013, taking Stevenage to the League Two play-offs before being replaced in the summer of 2015.

His somewhat surprise return comes after more than four years away, with Boro chairman Phil Wallace explaining the decision in an official club statement.

"Graham got us into the Football League almost 10 years ago and I can't think of anyone better equipped to reinvigorate the team and start winning matches," said Wallace.

Graham Westley

Graham Westley - Credit: Archant

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"Graham knows the club inside out, we know each other inside out and he is desperate to put his career back on track.

"We need a manager with extensive experience, someone motivated to win and someone who knows how to win in this league.

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"We started this season four months ago thinking we would be promotion candidates and the season so far has been a rude awakening for us all."

Stevenage currently sit 23rd in League Two having won just twice all season, scoring a league-low 13 goals.

Graham Westley

Graham Westley - Credit: Archant

Westley will take charge of the team from December 23rd, meaning interim boss Sampson will lead the team for one final time against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

Sampson will stay with the club, returning to his role as first-team coach, and Wallace believes he should be proud of his time in charge.

"Mark has made us hard to beat and there are 10 teams below us in the last six form table, but we have not won the points needed to climb the table, so it is time to introduce someone with experience into the mix," said the Stevenage chairman.

"Given our current league position, this is not the time for us to experiment with managers. I need someone I trust and I trust Graham.

"The opportunity exists now for him to again create a team that is great to watch and delivers results that make our fans proud to support us.

"I obviously have a high regard for him, having employed him three times before and each time he has evolved and matured.

"I am banking that this maturity and evolution has continued over the four years since he was here last and we can establish a formidable partnership again.

"We are coming into a window and every game is important, not only to maintain our league status, but to build a side that challenges for honours.

"Our mindset is very much on providing our fans with an exciting and successful team.

"We know we have got to start winning quickly and we know we have to start winning our fans back with a style of football that excites and entertains."

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