The Graham Westley column: Team unity's a must
PUBLISHED: 10:37 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010
Anthony Elding left Stevenage Boro this week to join Kettering Town. Anthony has played for us for nearly three seasons now. He was one of my earliest signings for the club and a very successful signing at that. He scored some vital goals and some brillia
Anthony Elding left Stevenage Boro this week to join Kettering Town.
Anthony has played for us for nearly three seasons now.
He was one of my earliest signings for the club and a very successful signing at that. He scored some vital goals and some brilliant ones.
When he joined we were in a relegation fight. He departs as a non-league international player having played in a play-off final and with the team in third place.
Both Stevenage and Anthony have benefited from each other.
There is much for our youngsters to learn in Anthony's departure from the club though.
Although he was under contract to Stevenage, it became clear during last season that other people were putting offers to Anthony to move elsewhere.
Some numbers were quoted publicly. And I was told that he was being offered the chance to treble his money.
I made it clear to Anthony that he would not be leaving Stevenage for a higher level. He had to see out his contract.
Anthony fought for what he wanted. He continued to strive to leave. It became one thing after the next. He became virtually unmanageable.
But I meant what I said. No matter how hard he fought, I refused to allow him to leave Stevenage for the Football League.
Others of us could go it alone in our quest for the League but I came to Stevenage on a three and a bit year contract to earn promotion TOGETHER, and I have always made it clear to my lads that the only way during my reign is as a unit.
Ant finally managed to force me to let him go but I stuck to my guns.
He could have gone to Boston, Lincoln, Barnet, Rushden and others.
But I accepted a deal from Kettering and gave Anthony no other option.
My message to our players is clear. If you want to move upwards, work with me and your club. Together, we can help each other.
Fight for yourself above the team and I will fight tooth and nail to ensue that you do not get what you want. Football is a team game.
I sincerely hope that Anthony learns a lot in this episode about teamwork.
He is not going to improve in Conference North as he would have done in Conference National.
If he plays in League Two next year, perhaps he may have made it to League One. Football is a short career. You shouldn't waste time.
If one youngster learns something about the team ethic from Anthony's situation, then it will have been worthwhile. No one man is bigger than the unit he is a part of. We all need each other when we are one.
May Stevenage Boro FC continue to move from strength to strength. I will have been here for three years shortly. If I am right, then the next three months will be the most exciting yet.