12:32 15 February 2012
By Mitchell Jones
Graham Westley – Manager
Graham Westley entered his third managerial spell with Stevenage Football Club in March 2013, hoping to emulate the success he had enjoyed in both spells previous.
Westley will go down in Stevenage FC history, and it was actually ten years before beginning his third reign that he first came into contact with the club.
Back in 2003 he took over as manager of then-named Stevenage Borough, who languished at the lower reaches of the Conference and were six points adrift of safety – relegation to the Conference South loomed. His appointment sparked a remarkable turn in fortunes though, and a string of good results – including six consecutive victories – helped Borough to a 12th placed finish. The positive progress continued and within two season they made the Play-off Final, but were beaten by Carlisle United at the Britannia Stadium and missed out on a Football League place.
He left the club in 2006 and had spells with Rushden & Diamonds and Kettering Town before being re-appointed in May 2008. If his last spell with the club could be described as ‘remarkable’, then this would be nothing short of meteoric. On his arrival he stated that he had returned to “finish the job he started”, by which he meant gaining promotion to the Football League.
He made the Play-offs in his first season, but every Stevenage fan will try to forget the events of the Semi-Final against Cambridge United, which ended in devastating defeat. A positive note to the end of season came at the Wembley Stadium though, as Boro won their second FA Trophy in three seasons.
The following season brought the dream that had been long-awaited. Stevenage were Champions of the Blue Square Premier League. Alongside league success Boro made it to Wembley again but were defeated in the FA Trophy Final.
The following season the fairytale continued – not only did Westley guide Boro to victory over Newcastle United in the FA Cup, but a late surge into the Play-offs ended with victory at Old Trafford and consecutives promotions. Boro reached League One.
In the club’s first League One campaign the successful momentum seemed to continue and memorable nights for the Boro faithful were summed up by a fantastic 5-1 win over Sheffield United at the Lamex Stadium. In January 2012 Westley was offered the chance to replace Phil Brown at Preston North End and moved onto Deepdale with his management team.
His time with North End had ups and downs and tasked with the job of drastically slashing the wage bill, as well as managing the side proved difficult. The season began well but after injuries to key players it slipped away in the middle third. Westley parted company with the club and soon after was reappointed Stevenage boss after Gary Smith’s sacking.
Dino Maamria – Assistant Manager / Coach
Dino Maamria returned to Stevenage in March 2013 after the reappointment of Graham Westley as manager.
Maamria and Stevenage go way back, the Tunisian born coach was a striker for the side in their non-league days, first joining Stevenage Borough in 2003.
In total he made over 100 appearances as a player and scored more than 30 goals in that time, his passion for the shirt was clear and he was loved by the Boro faithful.
When Westley began his second spell in charge of the club he brought in Maamria to his coaching staff, whilst also registering him as a player. He made only one first team appearance alongside his coaching duties but was a key players in the club’s Herts Senior Cup success.
Under Westley and Maamria, Stevenage were crowned Champions of the Blue Square Premier League and the following season won the League Two Play offs to secure a League One place.
In January 2012 Maamria moved to Preston North End with Westley but even at the time spoke of his difficulty in leaving the club where he had spent such a long period of his career.
These sentiments were echoed in an honest and passionate interview with the club’s official website upon his return to Stevenage in 2013 – a club he explained had his heart.
Paul Dando - Physiotherapist
Paul Dando first began working with Stevenage in September 2008.
He graduated from Chichester University in 2005 with a BSC in Sports Theraphy. His previous work in football include spells with Hitchin Town and Northampton Town.
Did you know: When Paul was a youngster he had a trial with Arsenal Under 12s side!
Neil Withington - Fitness Coach
Neil Withington first worked with Stevenage during Graham Westley's first spell as manager.
When the former boss left, his work with the club came to a close however upon Westley's return in 2008 Neil was invited back to the Stevenage.
Outside of football Neil owns his own gym and has worked with many top footballers in England as well as those outside of the sport, such as winners of the famous X Factor series.
Did you know: Neil has represented England ad GB in volleyball.
Simon Woodman - Masseur
Simon Woodman joined up with the Stevenage FC backroom staff towards the end of the 2011/12 season.
He had previously worked with Barnet for four seasons and in that time also worked with former Boro boss Paul Fairclough. He is a qualified masseur and works directly with the first team.
Did you know: Simon once came third in an all-London long jump competition!
Rob Robertson - Kit Manager
Rob Robertson began working with Stevenage prior to the start of the 2012/13 season.
He is qualified in Sport and Recreation Management and was given the chance to step up to League One after spending 8 years as kit man at Barnet.
Did you know: Rob has represented London in both Javelin and Shot Put.