Plan It Stevenage!

World exclusive by our roving reporter, Reg Grundies

In a shock twist at the club’s training ground this morning the press conference was held by ‘Head of Catering and Tuck Shop for the Midfielders’, Phylis Swallet. Ms Swallet announced that Glenys Raider, Tea Shop Managerial Advisor, had left the club and been replaced by Hip Hop Artist Plan B.

Plan B will assume responsibilities of picking up the broken tea cups from the changing room floor; assisting the new centre back with his home work;  providing Tom Pett with a drink at the end of the game; and writing a new away anthem for the team, which we can exclusively reveal will be entitled Ground Hog Day.

A 90 minute video will accompany the track, rumoured to be a rock classic showing a series of matches where exactly the same thing happens in every single one of them. Brian May will have a 2 minute guitar break 24 minutes in sitting in the middle of the pitch pretending his banjo string is broken. Anita Dobson is said to be unavailable.

It is believed the move will quell the noise from players and fans that the manager only has a Plan A.

Proceeds from the new single will go towards funds for the new North Stand, due to be built in 2027.

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Transfer Tittle Tattle

In shock transfer news, it has been confirmed that Darren Sarll has invested the whole of Stevenage Football Club’s transfer kitty on some magic beans.

“I was on my way to the transfer market” said Boro’s highly-valued young manager “when I met an old crone who offered me these beans for a knock-down price.  I’d only waste the money on a handful of midfielders that would never make the first team, so instead I decided to wisely invest in the club’s future”.

It is not thought where the beans will be deployed, although most observers expect to see them fill a void in the centre of midfield.

Chairman, Phil Wallace, said “Darren has got a pedigree of bringing young talent through.  I see a bright future for these magic beans.  Who knows, maybe in 2 to 3 years we might see these mature into a beanstalk.  We would obviously never encourage Premiership teams to come and poach our golden eggs, but if the money was right then we’d be open to offers.”

The magic beans are expected to make their first team debut at home to Swindon next Tuesday night.

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Our Tipster’s Top Tits

For those looking for a cheeky flutter – and frankly lads, who doesn’t? – look no further than our handy tips for this weekend’s fixture, writes The Daily Stevenage gambling correspondent Maurice Chunt.

William Hill are offering even money on the first orchestrated drinks break taking place between the 20 and 25 minute marks, with 11/10 on Tom Pett being the ‘injured’ player.  These aren’t brilliant odds, but this is where my money will be going tomorrow.

For those of you more inclined to take a longer punt, what about Coral offering 13/2 on Alex Samuel coming onto the pitch on the 60 to 65 minute mark?  Personally, I’d be more inclined to play it safe and go for 75 to 80 minutes, but the odds instantly plummet to 9/4.

For fans of spread betting, Bet Fred are quoting even money on Matt Godden to be offside over 12 times during the match, whilst anything less than 12 times is 33/1.

For the less serious gambler, Paddy Power are offering new account holders a free £30 bet on the colour of Darren Sarll’s trackie top.  Blue is 1/3 whereas red is 2/1.  The smart money may go for the navy jumper and white shirt combo at 25/1, although I accept that Sarll normally reserves this for the post-match inquest.

Finally, Bet 365 are offering 10/11 on a Stevenage win tomorrow, with Carlisle at 3/1.  The draw is 9/4.  As Carlisle are above Stevenage in the table I cannot realistically see the home team winning as Carlisle are no doubt the better team, so I will be putting £3.50 on the draw.

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Fishy Flounce from Febrile Fish-faced Fans

Further to the announcement that football fans will boycott Stevenage FC next season, The Daily Stevenage can exclusively reveal that this is the tip of a medium-sized iceberg.

The Mariners Trust – a supporters group named in honour of former Ipswich and Arsenal player Paul Mariner – represents a number of Tyneside-based Grimsby Town’s fans, announcing the boycott as a way of keeping an unfounded non-story in the national papers.

But, after an exhaustive undercover investigation that lasted almost 30 minutes, this newspaper can blow the lid off this secretive organisation, whose blacklist includes:

  • The Little Chef on the northbound carriageway of the A1 for “running out of fried bread, meaning I had to have toast with my Olympic Breakfast”
  • Hardy’s Road Newsagents in Cleethorpes for “overcharging me on my subscription of Top Gear magazine, and ceasing to stock Asian Babes
  • The BBC “for cancelling the soap operas Albion Market and Eldorado
  • Birds Eye fish fingers for “perpetuating a negative racial stereotype of what the captain of a fishing trawler looks and talks like”

A Mariners Trust spokesman wasn’t able to verify any of the above allegations before we went to press, as his mum said it was his model railway night at the community centre.

It is further understood that a small group of bald middle-aged Stevenage supporters are organising their own boycott, until “Conlon, Samuel and Beautyman return to the first team”. A spokesman for the club has said that this particular group “won’t be missed”.

Louis Theroux meets the Mariners Trust will be shown this coming Sunday on BBC2 at 9pm.

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National Poetry Day corner

In honour of National Poetry Day, we have had the following anonymous submission (even though we never asked for one). Take it away:

Things I Like – My Brilliant Poem

“I like drinks breaks,

And the time it takes,

To impart my tactical knowledge,

On players worse than Wayne Bridge.

I like vino,

Especially with Dino,

A lovely glass of red,

In a comfy double bed.

I like my Bentley,

Which heaven sent me,

It’s got a sport mode,

For the wide and open road.

I like attitude,

And sometimes being rude,

To people that have hurt me,

Such as Darragh MacAnthony.

I like grey suits,

And brown lace-up boots,

With a t-shirt underneath,

That sets off my new teeth.

I like Boro,

Let’s be thorough,

Is a fourth term on the bill?

I really must speak with Phil.

But I’m not ready,

To like Teddy,

I’d like to hit,

That little shit.”

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Old Mammories of Stevenage #2: Mark Hughes & Jamie McCombe

Have you ever awoken from a dream and wondered what Ludovic Kennedy, the bastard love child of Marilyn Monroe and John F Kennedy, is up to now? Thanks to the power of the internet, it turns out that he’s working behind the bar of a Brewer’s Fayre in Stoke Poges.  In a similar vein, here’s our resident historian, Dick Cheeseman, with his latest stumble down memory lane.  Take it away, Dick.

“It’s December 28th 2015.  The hinterland between Christmas and New Year.  In a bid to escape their extended families and reruns of turgid situation comedy The Vicar of Dibley, over 3000 hardy souls have turned out at Broadhall Way to see the bottom of the table clash between Stevenage (our heroes) and Dagenham & Redbridge.  The visitors are on a four game losing streak and are rock bottom of English league football.  If you are a Boro fan the match is ‘big’ and ‘winnable’.

Cue Barry and Paul Chuckle.

Signed in a fanfare the previous summer to replace Bira Dembele, who had haughtily asked for a £3.50 a week pay rise, they were soon to prove that two isn’t always greater than one.  Dembele had proven to be a stylish defender, often taking to the field gently puffing on a Gauloises and sipping a Remy Martin.  In contrast, Hughes and McCombe would often demand saveloy, chips and gravy at half time, and a tin of McEwan’s Export.  Probably.

The warning signs had been there from the beginning.  In the warm up before getting tanked 5-1 at home by Oxford, McCombe could be seen, on his own, indulging in heading practice.  Not once did the ball land back at the feet of his trainer.  He was heading the ball like a man with a head shaped like a 50 pence piece.  If the 50 pence piece was shaped like a dodecahedron.  And made out of shit.

In the subsequent routine thrashing of Morecambe, Mark Hughes was brought on late in the match by clueless fuckwit Teddy Sheringham to make a game of it.

So, on to Dagenham (thanks Matt).  It’s the 18th minute.  An innocuous cross from the left wing into the Stevenage box lands on McCombe’s head.  It’s a regulation header, unless you’re a man without a head.  But it skims off the tall centre half’s loaf and ends up on the right flank.  The ball comes back in, but it’s ok: McCombe’s there to make amends.  Except a man 12 inches shorter than him out jumps young Jamie and it’s 1-0 to the Daggers.

A minute later, Dagenham have a throw in on the right wing.  The ball lands at the feet of the heavily marked Chambers.  Except he isn’t heavily marked as McCombe has decided to do some bird spotting or some other recreational endeavour for which he isn’t getting paid.  Chambers has the time to control the ball, turn, scratch his arse, wave to his family in the crowd, and lay the ball off to Joss Labadie, all of this before McCombe even has the opportunity to put his binoculars away.  Labadie is one on one with Hughes but, knowing that if he gets within biting distance of him he’s likely to get bitten, and possibly eaten, Hughes allows Labadie to stroke the ball into the far corner.   McCombe and Hughes have to prevent themselves from celebrating their pivotal role in the second goal for the Essex club.

In a rare moment of tactical intelligence, Sheringham decides to substitute Hughes after just 30 minutes.  Some might argue it’s 29 minutes too late.  Incredibly, McCombe manages to stay on the pitch for the full 90 minutes and allows himself to be outmuscled for Dagenham’s 3rd, showing the strength and agility of a baby giraffe. That had been run over by a tractor.

Post-match Sheringham was quoted as saying we were ‘decidedly shaky at the back’. Fuck sake, Teddy. Not even Shakin’ Stevens operating a kango in a swimming pool full of jelly looked that shaky.

Both were to leave in the next transfer window.  Hughes to Accrington, a town famed for its saveloy, chips and gravy, and McCombe to Lincoln City; a club famed for its ability to win football matches without actually playing football. Sheringham was heard to say that ‘he pushed the boat out’ to keep McCombe. We can only guess it was the Lusitania after the Germans had torpedoed the fuck out of it.

But if it wasn’t for Hughes and McCombe and the precarious league position they had been instrumental in fashioning for the Boro, Stevenage might have persisted with the incompetency and general lack of charm of Sheringham.  And that is how the Chuckle Bothers invented Darren Sarll.”

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Old Mammaries of Stevenage – #1 Simon Walton

In the first of an infrequent series, our history correspondent, Dick Cheesman, takes us down mammary lane:

“They often say that the English are an unrefined, loutish breed, brought up on white bread and instant coffee. If any footballer epitomises this, it’s Simon Walton.

It’s 21 February 2015; a chilly, overcast day in Hertfordshire. Southend United are the opposition. As the players emerge for the second half, with Stevenage a goal to the good through a Rory Deacon strike, it’s obvious that there’s something wrong with Walton. Having spent the entirety of the first half berating his team mates at the loudest possible volume for the slightest indiscretion, he’s now wearing a white bandage around the circumference of his sizeable head. One can only assume that he’s had some sort of injury and/or undefined neurological episode.

Clearly fed up with pinging 60 yard passes to the corner flag, Simon decides to change not only the course of the match, but the history of our fine club as well. Southend score a quick equaliser and then, with ten minutes of the second half on the clock, Walton decides to make a straightforward clearance out of the Boro penalty area. Except that he swings his left peg like a 3 wood, completely misses the ball, and connects full on with a Southend player. It takes close to 20 minutes to retrieve the stricken Shrimper’s severed limb from the away stand. Barry Corr steps up to take the resultant penalty, and it’s 2-1 to United.

68 minutes have elapsed with Boro showing no ability to trouble the scorers, so on comes young Ben Kennedy. Within five minutes he’s won a penalty. To a man, the crowd groans as up steps Simon Walton. But, to Walts’s credit, he bamboozles the opposition goalkeeper with a pea roller as far from the corner of the goal as he can place it. Overcome with emotion, Walton almost catches the ball up before it’s crossed the line, attempting to retrieve it so that he can carry it back to the centre spot. Except his head injury has deprived him of eye/hand coordination and he can’t pick the ball up.

Ben Kennedy goes on to score another goal and assists an injury time fourth from Dean Parrett. The Nidge run out 4-2 winners.

And that is how Simon Walton invented Ben Kennedy, for if none of this had happened, Ben would be starting his third season on loan at St Albans City.”

The highlights of this historic event can be found here.

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