Mark's pick of the managerial bunch

PUBLISHED: 11:12 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:20 06 May 2010

Mark Stimson

Mark Stimson

EVEN his predecessor at Stevenage Boro reckoned he was the best manager in the Conference. And now it s official - the new man in the Boro hotseat is the best boss in non-league circles. Mark Stimson, who took charge at Broadhall Way three weeks ago, has

EVEN his predecessor at Stevenage Boro reckoned he was the best manager in the Conference.

And now it's official - the new man in the Boro hotseat is the best boss in non-league circles.

Mark Stimson, who took charge at Broadhall Way three weeks ago, has won the National Game Awards manager of the year for his achievements at Grays Athletic last season.

The award, voted for by readers of the national Non-League Paper, was reward for Grays reaching the Conference play-offs in their debut season at that level as well as retaining the FA Trophy.

Previous boss Graham Westley, speaking at the end of the season, admitted: "I think Mark Stimson is the best manager in the league and all the other managers have to face that fact."

Stimson himself said: "It was really good news as it's usually the guy that wins the league that gets the award.

"Another award like that one this year will be great for me and of course for Stevenage.

"It was down to the players and I will be asking the boys here to work as hard as the Grays players did for me."

The manager is waiting to hear back from two players this week, one a left-footed defender and the other one a utility man (right-back or central midfield).

"You are never sure until players actually sign but I'm especially confident about the first one," continued Stimson.

Pre-season training starts next Thursday (June 29) with the contracted players left from last season joined by the likes of new signings John Nutter, Danny Potter and Dale Binns.

Stimson's managerial reign will start with the visit of three Championship sides to Broadhall Way followed by the return of Premiership Spurs.

Crystal Palace will provide the first pre-season opposition on Tuesday, July 11, with Luton Town the visitors four days later on Saturday, July 15, and then QPR are at Boro on Wednesday, July 19.

The annual fixture against Spurs is on Tuesday, July 25.

Their planned game at home to League One new boys Leyton Orient on Saturday, July 29, has been cancelled.

Stimson continued: "They're going to be very tough, especially the ones at home.

"You need a mixture of pre-season games and we've got that."

* Boro's reserves will meet some new opposition in the Pontin's Holidays Football Combination this season.

East Anglian duo Ipswich Town and Norwich City have joined the Eastern Division of the league.

Boro and Oxford United are the only two non-league teams in the 10-team division which will also contain Colchester United, Leyton Orient, Luton Town, Milton Keynes Dons, Northampton Town and Southend United.

All clubs play each other on a home and away basis.

The games at Broadhall Way will kick-off at 2pm unless otherwise agreed but the away games at Ipswich and Norwich are likely to start at 7pm.

Stimson added: "It's a fantastic league with just one other Conference side and it's a place for players to impress me in.

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