In Praise of the CheckATrade Trophy


Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley. Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner. Mark E Smith. Steven Morrissey. All names that will be familiar to readers of a certain age, as well as to Liam Govey. So what’s the link? Well they were all allegedly in an audience of two dozen that witnessed The Sex Pistols play the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1976, and they all were thus inspired to form bands of their own. 

The Daily Stevenage predicts that a large percentage of the crowd at Tuesday night’s CheckATrade Trophy match between Stevenage and Southend Utd will be similarly inspired. Out of a total attendance of 209, we estimate that as many as 70 supporters will go on to pursue a career in football bureaucracy. 

Harry Gustav-Klimt, a 19 year old student, told us “When I finish my degree in applied astrophysics, I want to be a faceless pen-pusher, just like Shaun Harvey. Before the CheckATrade Trophy match I would have probably become an astrophysicist. I don’t even know what one of them does. But now I want to save the future of the England national team by coming up with increasingly bonkers schemes and cup competitions.”

12 year old Sally Duckworth-Lewis told The Daily Stevenage that she was planning to redecorate her bedroom with official English Football League wallpaper and put up posters of Mr Harvey. “He’s my hero. I want to be him, or Sepp Blatter, when I’m older. What Shaun has done for the England football team is indescribable. He deserves a medal.”

Hugo Wall-Eye, 37, told us that the  CheckATrade Trophy match had made him re-evaluate his career. “I’m a little fed up of being a commodity broker in the City,” said Hugo. “I want a desk job at the EFL. Or, if that’s not possible, maybe I could become an environmental health officer at the council. It’s the faceless bureaucracy that appeals.”

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Corruption, Chaos and Corruption in Club’s Chaotic Corruption Conundrum


Working hand in hand with our sister rag The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Stevenage today brings you a world exclusive exposé of corruption at the very bottom of English football. Bypassing some of the toughest security measures ever seen at a Hertfordshire League 2 club, we have managed to install an undercover agent (employed in a high up role within Darren Sarll’s management team) within the hallowed halls of the Lamex Stadium to bring you the following revelations, which we plan to serialise over the coming weeks. Some of the following abuses go back many years:

  • The appointment of Teddy Sheringham was a sham, bypassing FA regulations, with the FIFA video game legend being plied with pints of Liebfraumilch before signing a contract to deliver what he believed to be keynote speeches to Far Eastern audiences on the subject of online poker and the dating of models. It was only upon sobering up that the dark realisation hit him that he had to spend the next two years of his life in Stevenage; something he ultimately managed to get himself out of a short time later. The FA are understood to be investigating whether any offence was committed. 
  • All but one player (believed to be Tom Conlon) have failed to declare their half time cup of tea and free match day programme on their tax returns. Inspectors from the HMRC – a Government organisation tasked with snooping on, and ruining the lives of, ordinary people – are known to be on the case, with the fraud estimated to amount to close to £100. 
  • Illicit gambling is rife at the club. It is a well known fact that several high profile players are members of a lottery syndicate – a secretive cartel that places high stakes on the outcome of a game of chance – although they’ve never actually won anything. And Charlie Lee once bought a fifty fifty ticket at a match he was playing in. We’re not sure if any of this is illegal, but we’re certain that it’s immoral, indefensible, and illegal. 
  • The HMRC are known to be looking very closely at the way that Jack Jebb was able to sign a contract at Stevenage Football Club when he had already shown his potential during a prior loan spell. A HMRC official has told The Daily Stevenage in confidence that “there’s no explanation for it other than money must have changed hands, probably in a toilet cubicle in the Shell garage on the A405 at Bricket Wood. You know, the one next to the Starbucks, that years ago used to be a Little Chef.” 
  • The club has constantly flouted rules surrounding the third party ownership of players, with it being revealed that former player Patrick Agyemang is jointly owned by the Burger King corporation and former Stevenage manager Gary Smith. And former midfield scouser Greg Tansey is wholly owned by Peter Stringfellow. And vice versa. 
  • Even the half time entertainment at the ground is rotten to the core, with the tyre challenge being rigged in the club’s favour. “I see the same faces doing it every week,” said our inside source, “but they never win the bloody thing. The club gives them free entry and a cup of Bovril, just for missing the target on purpose. If both contestants won the £50,000 jackpot every week, it would cost the club and its sponsors £2.3 million a season. Where does that money go instead? It’s certainly not on the catering facilities. In the meantime, I’ve seen evidence of club officials driving top end cars. Such as Golfs and Mondeos.” It is thought that this corruption goes way back to when the half time challenge was to kick a football into a garden shed from the halfway line, which immediately aroused suspicions due to the impossibility of this happening, as well as allegations of insider trading with Wickes. 
  • The corruption also goes back to the days of Graham Westley, with the club regularly making payments to off-shore bank accounts in his name believed to be registered on the Isle of Wight. It is certainly no coincidence that Westley has chosen Newport as his new abode. 
  • The tax returns of many previous employees of the club are also under investigation, with a number of them listing their profession as ‘professional footballer’. Our source at the HMRC said “what a fucking joke.” Under particular suspicion are the tax returns of Lee Hills, Marcus Haber and Anthony Grant. 

We have passed hours of secret recordings carried out by our mole to the FA for its consideration. But, when we tried to contact them, they were all down The Ivy having lunch, bought for them by Harry Redknapp’s dog. 

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Club Convinced by Cash Connivance Controversy


Stevenage Football Club has today explained its ticket pricing strategy in the wake of the Exeter City game being classified as Category A. Club spokesman Harry Flannel said “It’s clear to anyone that came today that there was an enormous gulf between us and Exeter. It was as if Barcelona, or maybe even Stoke City, had come to entertain the home crowds. Stevenage supporters went away having enjoyed a footballing feast of football, which we consider to represent great value for money. It would cost you almost double that to watch a West End show, such as School of Rock: The Musical. I also understand that Jack Black isn’t even in it. We’re definitely going to be introducing a Category AA category to matches next season, but only when the calibre of the opposition merits it. Such as when we play Yeovil. Or Accrington. ”

Game of Life

George Jelly, a lifelong supporter, told The Daily Stevenage that “the extra few quid I paid today was well worth it, even though it means I won’t be able to feed my kids tonight. I would happily pay upwards of £40 to watch us be totally outclassed by Crewe Alexandra on a freezing cold afternoon in January next season.”

Totopoly 

Brian Chuff told The Daily Stevenage that he purposely avoided Category B matches. “I’m not a fucking pikey you know” said the Metropolitan Police officer. “I want to be entertained at the football. Category B means that some really shit team will turn up. Who wants to watch two shit teams.”

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Limerick corner – in praise of Darren Sarll

There was a young fellow named Sarlly,

Who rides to work on his Harley,

He’d joyfully sing,

“We all love Jack King”,

To the song ‘Jamming’ by Bob Marley

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Poetry corner – homage to Jack King


I remember it well,

The day that Bostwick left,

‘Twas a living hell,

I was alone and bereft.

But everyone’s replaceable, right?

And through the revolving door,

Came a succession of Bossie-lite

Midfield journeymen, all with a flaw.

Tansey, with more tattoos than ability, 

Jimmy Smith, he of the fist pump,

Anthony Grant, no less than a liability, 

And Jack Jebb, who gave me the right raving hump.

James Dunne with his pigeon chest,

And somehow our player of the year,

Which perhaps shows we weren’t the best, 

And that the end was getting near.

But wait, it’s transfer window deadline day,

And who’s that signing on the dotted line?

Sure to keep the blues at bay, 

It’s a lad from Scunnie with the vintage of fine wine. 

Jack King’s his name, 

Or, if you like, just Jack,

And I’d rather Jack, 

Than David Mac,

Or Tansey, Shroot, Grant or Risser,

Heslop, Walton, or Andrew Bond,

And I can’t think of anything that rhymes with Risser, 

Which makes me think we were always conned. 

But at last, at number 4,

It’s our midfield saviour, Jack King,

And there’s no longer need to be sore, 

Just cos Bostwick fucked off to the Posh.

Pam Ayres, 2016

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Match report: Bishop’s Stortford v Stevenage 


It’s the summer. When Terry Jacks sang Seasons in the Sun, he wasn’t singing about watching meaningless football matches played out in non-descript non-league football stadia in leafy middle-class England. He was singing about dipping your toes in a babbling brook and chewing on an ear of wheat, whilst gently caressing your true love’s golden locks. Sadly, the editorial team of The Daily Stevenage are past the age of slipping off their sandals and letting icy cold waters lap at their feet, not least because of ongoing issues with arthritic toes. And when their true loves have bolted for a day on the lash in the sun, there’s nothing else for it other than to go to a car show. Which is what we did. And it was bloody good too. We ate freshly baked pizza, sat under the bough of a mighty oak tree and saw a few Ferraris and Lamborghinis. And if we weren’t driving we’d have availed ourselves of the refreshments in the beer tent. 

At the same time, considerably more footballers than would ordinarily be allowed to play football on a Saturday featured for Stevenage in a win over non-league opposition in a non-descript stadium in a non-entity middle-class English town. Some of these footballers will never get to wear the red and white diagonals of Stevenage FC again. 

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Match report – Stevenage v Yeovil Town

  
In a performance reminiscent of watching a documentary about the painting of The Forth Bridge, Stevenage FC out battled their fellow strugglers from Somerset and moved one point nearer to League 2 safety. 

Titbits

Three games undefeated. Two clean sheets in a row. These are halcyon days for the Boro. The East Terrace at times reminded us of an indie disco. One where the only track that gets played is by The Fratellis and you’re forced to listen to it play in a loop for 27 hours. 

Mayfair 

Fans, more used to seeing Stevenage lose than grind out goalless draws with mediocre opposition, were buoyed by the fact that Stevenage didn’t lose but ground out a goalless draw with mediocre opposition. 

Had Stevenage had a shot on target it would have maintained Boro’s one shot on target per game average that they have maintained this season. 

Men Only

The only real issue for Boro was an over-inflated ball that made controlling it incredibly difficult. And Dean Parrett’s over-inflated ego, which prevented him from working too hard. 

The highlight of the match was the final whistle, which was followed by a group huddle where, it is rumoured, Darren Sarll talked about the weather and what he was going to eat when he got home. 

Razzle

We caught up with Billy Prophelactic, a 39 year old postman from Stevenage enjoying his first match at The Lamex. “I came because the club said it would be better than watching Barcelona on telly” he said. “Watching teams pass the ball is overrated. I’ll be coming back for sure. And it gets me away from the wife and kids.”

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