Editorial

By Geoff Wode

People often ask me, after unrelenting hate campaigns against our previous two managers why did you go easy on Dino?  The simple answer is that I believed something positive was going to happen with Dino at the helm.  I also believed in Dino’s ambition and passion for the club.  Yes, these latter traits were also displayed by Darren Sarll, but no manner of fist-pumping, breast-beating and sexy photo shoots in the local paper were ever going to detract from another turgid performance and another incomprehensible after-match interview.  Perhaps, with hindsight, it all came down to personalities, as turgid football has become the norm at Broadhall Way in recent years.  

Not feeling the desire to hobnob with lower division football managers, I’ve never met Sarll or Dino; or Gary Smith or Teddy Sheringham for that matter. But there was something about Dino that made me like him.  There was something about the others that made me dislike them: perhaps irrationally at first. What they all had in common was that they were not good enough.

Which surely raises questions for those higher up the chain of command. Our last five managerial appointments reads SACKED, RELEASED, SACKED, SACKED, SACKED. If Phil Wallace was hoping to form a Henry VIII tribute act, he might need to tone it down a bit.  

Don’t get me wrong; I have no axe to grind with the way in which the, err, axe ultimately fell on our managers:

 Gary Smith – turned a genuinely exciting team into a turgid team with turgid tactics, before dismantling that team and employing a bunch of lacklustre players to continue in a similar vein, but where turgidity came naturally.
 Graham Westley (Mk III) – managed to get us relegated (yeah, ok, he inherited Smith’s undatables, so let’s cut him some slack) before serving us a plate of turgidity. Only a massive improvement got us to the play-offs, by which time everyone had stopped watching.
 Teddy Sheringham – sockless turgidity.
 Darren Sarll – sexy glamour shot turgidity, interspersed with a barmy spell in February 2017 where we actually played football.
 Dino Maamria – honest, hard-working turgidity, interspersed with Ilias Chair.

The axe that I am presently sharpening is aimed firmly at Phil’s recruitment policy.  Or that of the board.  If there is actually a recruitment policy to speak of and it’s not just a case of throwing pasta at a wall until one strand sticks.  Not much has actually stuck since Westley (Mk II) departed seven and a half years ago and successive managers have continued to play football that gives our midfielders, and the paying audience, stiff necks. Imagine that: seven and a half years of the same old stuff, culminating in yet another management experiment gone wrong. Seven and a half fucking years! Yet it’s the (failed) manager who takes the flak and/or best wishes of all concerned as they’re shown the door.  Where’s the culpability of those that employ these underachievers? Probably hiding behind their Key Performance Indicators.

Or maybe there’s something else – or someone else – at play here.  As one renowned punter has been heard to say, “We might as well give the manager’s job to Leon fucking Hunter”.

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Scholes Sacrifices Success for Sick Salford Schadenfreude

It’s the evening of 21 May 2005.  Your team has just lost the FA Cup Final: a match you’ve dominated from start to finish.  Your team has 20 shots on goal compared to your opponent’s 5.  Your team has 12 corners compared to the opposition’s 1.  Your teammates have hit the woodwork and peppered Jens Lehmann’s goal, to the point where the goalkeeper is ready to sign away the future of the German nation in a railway carriage on the outskirts of Paris, but still it remains goalless after 120 minutes.  To rub salt into considerable open wounds, you’re the only player to miss in the resultant penalty shoot-out and the FA Cup – a trophy that people once eulogised and wanted to win – is going to north London.  What should a bitter and aggrieved Paul Scholes do to get his revenge?  

Hex Enduction Hour

According to conspiracy theorist and recovering alcoholic Terry Marbles in his new book “The Class of 92 and Their Role in 9/11”, Scholes immediately made sure his wife wasn’t anywhere near Ryan Giggs before making plans to buy a shit provincial football club that nobody had ever heard of so that 14 years later he would be able to piss off a sizeable number of Arsenal supporters when they beat Stevenage on the opening day of the 2019/20 season.

Live at the Witch Trials

“It makes perfect sense”, says Marbles.  “Scholes was hell bent on revenge and wanted to really annoy a large number of Arsenal supporters.  As we all know, the largest number of Gooners are to be found at The Emirates.  Unable to buy a club that could compete with the Gunners on an equal footing – such as Watford, for example – Scholes needed to identify another pool of Arsenal fans.  It’s a well-known fact that 48% of the Stevenage fan base actually support Arsenal but are too impoverished to go and see them, hence his acquisition of Salford.”

I Am Kurious Oranj

Other claims made within Marbles’s book are equally as credible.  For example, it is alleged that Ruud Van Nistelrooy was created by a mad geneticist in a lab in the Netherlands where they crossed a human boy with a horse.  “You only needed to see him galloping towards goal to realise that Ruud wasn’t 100% human.  And the fact that he had a face like Shergar”, said Marbles when we caught up with him in the pub.  “And Alex Ferguson used to shovel up his manure and use it on his roses”.

The Infotainment Scan

But why wait 14 years to get your revenge?  “It’s obvious” said Marbles.  “Scholes and the rest of the Class of 92 waited until Arsenal’s biggest supporter, Comet Layth, stopped covering Stevenage matches so that he wouldn’t be able to post a selfie with Nicky Butt on Twitter.”

 

 

 

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The Five Grand Sexist Song Scandal

The Daily Stevenage’s work experience investigative equalities reporter Richard Keys gets to the root of the issue

It’s a story that has divided the fanbase right down the middle*, the #SexistSongScandal, as we’ve decided to label it to create a meaningless #hashtag (they’re all the rage even on clothing) and an even more meaningless debate that really shouldn’t exist, so we have despatched our best (gender neutral) reporter into the town to see what the Boro fans on the street, make of it.

 

Using all of our investigative experience we popped out of the office for a fag vape, tracked down a group of average Stevenage lads to JD Wetherspoons just before lunchtime, in 1973.

 

We knew they were lads because they shouted LADS-LADS-LADSquite a lot, made gurning faces and cheered whenever a female walked past. That and the fact most of them had half finished badly drawn generic sleeve tattoos depicting a shit stag-weekend, where they didn’t get any, in Magaluf and wore espadrilles.

 

Roy C. Brown (not his real name) wiped the runny egg yolk off his patchy moustache before launching into a passionate defence of one of the amendments to the American constitution, we cant be arsed to check which one because in all honesty its not that relevant and The Comet wouldn’t bother so why should we.

 

“First off, Lisa Rashid has got tits, she’s fit, I like tits so why shouldn’t I ask for a gander? She can always say no, so I’m respecting her right to free speech as well as my own, and she’s probably foreign with a name like that so we’re not racist either, its equality in action

 

And another thing, why can’t we ask Kenners to get his pocket rocket out if we like, that’s us demonstrating more equality that is, puppies for the ladies, sausage for the blokes…. not that we like willies, we’re not gay – make sure you print that  we’re normal geezers with a high sex drive and no outlet for it just having a laugh and not hurting anybody, especially not lefty types like you get on Twitter sticking up for nooftersand snowflakes

 

Not afraid to push the envelope our intrepid reporter suggested that they wouldn’t like their mothers or sisters or aunties being subject to public abuse.

 

Bernie Manning (not his real name either) veritably frothed out the mouth at this suggestion and stood up to his full 5’6” height, almost lifting his knuckles clear of the floor, sucked in his baby pot belly and bellowed; “No-one disrespects my sister! No-one, she sacrificed every under 18 party night at Pulse and Vogue to breast feed me for nearly 6years while my real mum was doing time for twatting Lindsey De Paul at a Eurovision song contest tribute gig in Brighton

 

It was suggested that perhaps they could just sing about football, this was met by a chorus of ‘LADS LADS LADS’ before Stevie Bannon (not his real name) shushed his mates, picked a piece of bacon rind out of the sizeable gap between his front teeth, dabbed his cold-sore and responded;

“Look, its just a laugh, they, the stuffed shirts at the FA, and the girls, especially the girls, need a sense of humour, first they stopped us blacking up, then they started wearing rainbow laces and had a whole month to themselves, did they stop to think how emasculating that is for us, where’s our Pride day? As if that wasn’t bad enough they stopped us bringing incendiary devices into football, but this is the last straw, its political correctness gone mad, no-one moaned when we asked Andy Drury and Ronnie Henry if they wanted a go on our sister-wife

 

At that point the shift manager, doubtless working his arse off on a zero hours contract, brought the interview to a close by age-checking the group (because he’d caught them pulling wheelies on a scooter upstairs earlier it transpired) and asked them to leave despite Bernie pulling out a fake Hawaiian state driving licence in the name of Christopher Charles Mintz-Plasse with a photo of Lenworth Henry on it.

 

*When we say divided down the middle, what we mean is about 99% of the social media responses think such language and behaviour rightly belongs in Mansfield, in the seventies,alongside (Neil?) Morrisey, Nigel Fuhrerage and Andrew Gray, but hey, lets stir the pot and sensationalise it, we’re serious journalists but clickbait is clickbait, just look at that targeted advert at the bottom of the page for bored Latvian housewives, it pays our wages and reflects your search history not mine

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Terrace Culture

Drackers and Ben Nugent, purveyors of sartorial elegance, pictured in TK Max yesterday

By Gianni Von Scrotum, Daily Stevenage Fashion Editor and newly appointed Baldock Neighbourhood watch style guru

Terrace culture? Not a laboratory analysis of the crust that steadily builds around the lid of the ketchup on the East Terrace burger bar between July and May like a tangy stalagmite, but a dive into the petri dish of sartorial elegance that is the East Terrace, peering into its frankly disturbing roots to prove definitively that Boro fans have a style all of their own. A style that the club have paid a stunning tribute to with the latest psychedelic away shirt offering.

As a ‘new’ town, Stevenage has always had a touch of the slum about it, (just ask Lewis), but through the football club a new, classier identity has been formed, its not the usual terrace uniform of knock-off Burberry and smoke-bomb stained Stone Island, finished off with a dash of Eau de Cannabis, but something a bit more informed.

Look back into the washing baskets from the past 10-15 yearsand you can see where the unique Boro style might have first established its roots, nourishing itself on the diaspora of mix and mismatch casual wear seeping into the consciousness of the discerning football fan.

Was it the shiny silver ankle boots first spotted at an away ground on a diminutive (but in all honesty quite gobby) young man with quite an odd taste in hats? Was it Robbo’s ‘Shirley from Eastenders’ experiment? Was it the first time our Graham decided to own the Miami-vice T shirt/suit combo? 

Or is it perhaps a hangover from even earlier, the nineties? Indeed you can still find a few examples of the bucket hat and anything with 3 stripes must be cool brigade.

In truth all of these, as well as the vests, Staffordshire bull terriers on strings and fatty vapers in leggings from the cultural vacuum that is the town centre, informed the style choices on the terraces of today in Stevenage, encouraging us all to squeeze a pot belly into a muscle t shirt bearing the name of a band we don’t even like.

You can see how the cool kids have influenced our fanbase, there’s that bloke who dons a frankly quite nice pair of well-cut drainpipe jeans of exactly the right leg length, but styles them by putting pointless turn-ups on them so that you can see he’s not wearing bloody socks, finishing the look with turn-ups on his T shirt. Hes even too cool to come to footballanymore, perhaps it’s the new sponsor tweaking his vegan conscience? It was that or the fact he got himself a life and realised his Saturdays would be better spent decluttering the garage before returning to work on a Monday to manufacture WMDs at BAE for the Saudi’s to drop on schools and hospitals.

So turn up the collar on your Hackett Polo shirt, get a shit tattoo or 3, grow an embarrassing beard, wear things a size too small, designed for people half your age, don brown socks with your blue Crocs (its comfier than you’d think) and strut your stuff, safe in the knowledge that whatever you wear, it’s better than anything any Mansfield fan has ever put on, even that time they had to appear as a character witness in a Steve Evans court case.  

Barry Webber was asked to contribute to this article but we couldn’t hear him over his shirt and tie.

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Hitchin Town – the A602 Derby

World exclusive preview by our resident northerner, Ivor Whippet

As an immigrant to Stevenage (please don’t kill me with sticks) I  find our relationship with Hitchin very confusing. During my time in the town the two clubs have never been closer than two divisions apart and have barely played each apart from the odd friendly.

Hitchin frequent the levels of non-league where you need a logarithm book to work out quite where they are in the pyramid and a telephone directory to look up who the hell the sponsors are (unless of course you are younger than me and thus can remember that google exists). They currently sit the division below the division below the conference which is where they have been for most of the last 20 years.

The club was formed in 1928, so I guess must have been our big, established local rivals at one point until we got confident enough in ourselves to decide that was now Luton. I wonder if their fans ever treated that derby as Luton fans do (i.e. disdainfully without any seriousness what-so-ever because we’re just some tin-pot new town side with no history what-so-ever). If so I bet the periodwe were pulling past them was a fun time for our fans!

Hitchin itself is a quaint, over-priced market town with a high opinion of itself. Like Stevenage its house prices are artificially inflated by commuters, but this effect is doubled by the concentration of hipster drinking establishments the town had to offer. Douglas Adams was almost on the money with the “shoe event horizon” but it turns out it was the “civet-macchiato double IPA event horizon”.

A lot of my colleagues moved to Hitchin because “it’s so much nicer than Stevenage” and as I make my way to visit them past the sloping park fields covered in 100 15 years olds getting off their tits on cheap cider I can see their point. At least Hitchin keeps its reprobates in a few concentrated spaces and doesn’t sprinkle them a few at a time throughout the town’s many underpasses like we do. 

Hitchin play at Top Field, which on my first visit appeared the have approximately 17 parking spaces (although that may be because Lock’s giant beamer was taking up 6 of them…). Thus I’d advise public transport (well of course I would, I’m a lefty, liberal traitor). Although be warned, the bus to Hitchin cost a ridiculous amount of money for a five minute tootle down the A602, it’s more than twice as much as an hours train ride cost me in Berlin! The train to Hitchin is cheaper, and it bloody should be because Hitchin station is only about half-way between Hitchin and Stevenage and you still have about a 45 minute walk to get to the town itself. I assume it modelled itself on Cambridge in this regard, or possibly “London” Stansted airport.

Top Field itself is a nice ground. It feels like a park with some benches and a shed in it. Someone’s mum sells hot-dogs out of the back window of their house, whilst their dad flogs the programmes he’s just printed on his old laser-jet. Trees scenically frame proceedings and the fans watch in polite silence occasionally clapping lightly when something spectacular occurs. It has a very village green cricket feel to it, which I definitely prefer to #SmokebombWankers.

I saw Blair Turgott score a goal at Top Field that excited me so much I picked him in my BoroFives team at the start of the season. I saw a game that was 0-0 after an hour without either keeper having to even wake up at any point which finished 4-0 to Hitchin after they subbed on a man I can only assume was Pele’s great grandson or something the way the opposition defence handled him. Even at 4-0 a man with bronchitis could have drowned out the applause with his coughing. It is a place which generates much confusion.

I look forwards to our pre-season trip to Hitchin. I look forwards to getting no closer to understanding why some people love the place. I look forwards to getting no closer to understanding why some people hate the club. Most of all I look forwards to football. I wonder if we’ll have a squad together by then…

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Your Guide to our Visitors – Cheltenham Town

On a recent episode of BBC1 quiz show Pointless, Cheltenham Town FC was the only answer in the show’s history to receive a negative score.  Explaining this, smug arrogant dental disaster Richard Osman said that not only did none of the 100 people that were surveyed name Cheltenham Town as a current League 2 side, but 57 people steadfastly refused to believe that Cheltenham Town FC actually existed as an entity.  Osman then went on to talk about the world cup of biscuits that he routinely oversees on Twitter which, despite being interminably boring, is nowhere near as boring as the fact that Cheltenham hosts a current Football League team.

Nobody knows anything about Cheltenham Town.  We couldn’t name any of their squad or the name of their manager.  Having been informed that their manager is somebody called Michael Duff, we’ve instantly forgotten his name and had to go back to Google to remind ourselves of his name.  And we’ve instantly forgotten it again, even though we’ve typed it out in the last sentence.  

We’ve actually played Cheltenham a grand total of 16 times, yet we don’t remember anything about any of these encounters.  We’ve tried but we honestly can’t.  It’s like trying to remember pi to the 99th decimal point.  It’s like trying to remember the plot of an episode of pretentious wanky detective show Sherlock after you’ve drunk a pint of lighter fuel.   It’s like trying to remember any one of Westlife’s 24 top 10 singles other than Uptown Girl.  Much like Steve Evans’s diet, it’s a fruitless exercise.

One can only conclude that Cheltenham Town is the single-most boring football club in the Football League.  And this in a league that includes Crawley Town, Rochdale and Stevenage.  In all likelihood their away kit will be beige, with magnolia shorts and socks.  They’ll be sponsored by a building society or financial institute that will have T&Cs in small print below the name of the sponsor on their shirts advising how investments are liable to go up or down.  They’ll play in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, leaving one man up front when defending corners.   They’ll grind out a 0-0 draw that will be devoid of any talking point whatsoever.  They’ll take the scenic route back home along the A40.  They’ll have an end-of-season meal at Cheltenham’s 3rd best curry house and all order the chicken korma or omelette and chips.  They’ll then vanish off the face of everybody’s consciousness for the next 12 months until we realise that we have to play them again.  And then we’ll say to ourselves “I didn’t realise there was a football club in Cheltenham.  I wonder who their manager is”.

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Bountiful Beer Bonus for Boro Boxing Buffs

Hot on the heels of its £99 season ticket promotion, Stevenage Football Club has today announced the latest range of benefits for its most loyal supporters.

Those fans that have bought tickets to the Billy Joe Saunders boxing match at The Lamex will be rewarded with cheap craft beer next season. A club spokesman confirmed that “we will be reducing the price of Boro Beer from £4 a pint to £3.50 a pint, valid for one drink during a match of your choosing. If you are a lady, a similar reduction will be applied to Carlsberg.

“The promotion is available to the first 10 supporters that have purchased £250 front row seats for the boxing.”

The club’s spokesman continued by confirming that “to allow for this promotion to take place, we will be raising the price of all drinks by £2. Although it’s only a £1.50 rise if you buy your drink in advance of the day of the match. And so long as you’re a member of the Supporters Association.”

It’s understood that Stevenage FC was due to announce this remarkable supporters’ offer straight after the 3-0 defeat to Notts County, but then thought it best to do it after a 5 game unbeaten run. “We’re not fucking stupid” said Phil Wallace. Allegedly.

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