Graham Westley has explained the circumstances which led to his departure from Farnborough Town this week to take over as manager of Stevenage Borough.
As both chairman and manager of the Hampshire side, Westley led Farnborough to the fourth round of the FA Cup and last weekend's defeat at Arsenal. But the chance to replace Wayne Turner at Stevenage, despite the Hertfordshire team facing a relegation battle in the Nationwide Conference, was too good to turn down.
Westley confirmed that he was not set to become a director at Stevenage. "I've enjoyed my time at Farnborough, but I feel that I need to move on now and that I need to concentrate on football management, which is where my ambitions lie," he said. "Doing two jobs is unrealistic at this level and above."
Westley is joining a club with greater long-term potential. Unlike Farnborough, Stevenage have a stadium which meets Football League requirements. But the first priority for Westley, who has signed a three-year manager's contract, is to avoid relegation. He has been promised funds by his chairman, Phil Wallace, to strengthen the squad at Broadhall Way.
Westley has also taken his No 2 at Farnborough, the former Brighton defender Graham Pearce, to Stevenage as assistant manager. Graham Benstead, the former Brentford goalkeeper, has assumed caretaker charge of Farnborough's team for tomorrow's FA Trophy fourth-round tie at Telford after Billy Smith, the former Crawley Town manager, rejected an offer to take the job.
Farnborough are in some turmoil on and off the pitch following Westley's departure. Two other directors have left the club this week while five players – Steve Watson, Micky Warner, Barry Laker, Garry Holloway and Justin Gregory – have reportedly had their contracts cancelled. It is believed that Westley's office services company, Aimita, will continue to sponsor the club until the end of the season, but on a reduced basis. He has declared his intention to gift his shares to supporters.
The former Stevenage manager, Paul Fairclough, has named his first squad as England's National Game XI manager. The Conference top scorer, the Barnet striker Junior Agogo, is among the new call-ups for next month's friendly in Belgium. The Dagenham & Redbridge defender Paul Terry has also been summoned for the first time.
ENGLAND NATIONAL GAME XI SQUAD (Friendly v Belgium, Albertparkstadion, Ostend, 11 February): C Mawson (Morecambe), C Weale, A Lockwood, L Johnson, D Way (all Yeovil Town), G Oates (Margate), J Boardman (Woking), M Lancaster (Leigh RMI), M Rose (Hereford Utd), P Terry (Dagenham & Redbridge), W Purser, J Agogo (both Barnet), D Pounder (Scarborough), I Fitzpatrick (Halifax Town), R Sugden (Chester City), R Gill (Doncaster Rovers).
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