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21 January 2013

The club continues to progress...

In the second part of our interview with Boro captain Mark Roberts, the former Northwich Victoria man, who has been with the club since November 2008, spoke about just how things have improved since coming in on loan.

With blonde locks aplenty, Roberts burst onto the scene initially on loan from Northwich just a week after playing for the Vics in a 1-1 draw against Boro. The 6ft1” centre half immediately had an impact on the Broadhall Way faithful and by the start of the following season he was named captain. 

Since then there has been a lot of changes at the club, not only in terms of the division we are playing in but off the field as well.

“It’s not until you take a step back and think how the football club was when I first joined to what it is now” said a proud Roberts. “The developments and improvement are there for everyone to see. Some of those are clearer than others, with the improvements to the ground that are already complete and the new training facility, which is hopefully going to be available very shortly.”

The new Main Stand facia at the Lamex Stadium.

Boro are on the brink of moving into their new training complex located at Bragbury End, Stevenage. Just a mile down the road from the current Shepalbury Sports Academy, the 42-acre site was secured by Chairman Phil Wallace and work has been non-stop to take it to the standard it will be upon opening.

Heralded as a training ground fit for a Championship club, it will bring with it many positives and the moving in date edges ever closer. Season Ticket Holders will be invited to a VIP opening day, with the date to be announced soon, as Boro kick off life at Bragbury End in style.

 Mark doesn’t only see the new training ground as a facility that will aid the progress of the side in the build up to matches, but also an attraction for new players. “The football club itself is still moving forward and progressing and that is massively important because you want to attract the best players and those that will continue to take the club forward.”

With 42-acres of space, Bragbury End will be a state-of-the-art complex.

The story needn’t be told in full, those that know the club will already know the meteoric rise that has coincided with Robbo’s transfer to the club and the jump from Blue Square Premier League to League One isn’t the only progression that the 29 year old, who began as a youth player at Crewe Alexandra, has noticed.

“Since my very first day at the football club it has all been about moving forward and being the very best you can be, and to continue that upward momentum you need to be able to provide the facilities. The Chairman has worked tirelessly to provide that and long may it continue.”

Finances in the sport continue to dominate back pages, increasingly larger clubs are falling into debt and points deductions are more common in the game than ever before. 

The news that Stevenage have again posted profits, and higher profits that last season, is another factor that Roberts feels puts the club ahead of others, and he admitted from past experiences that playing for a club who have financial problems can hinder the football on the field.

“The news that the club’s profits had risen was brilliant. Any news like that coming out of a football club is very rare nowadays. To be playing for a team and club that is actually stable financially and is in the black is brilliant. 

“When there are no problems behind the scenes with finances it takes away that stress from the minds of players and fans and that isn’t something that I take for granted. I’ve played for football clubs where I’ve not been paid my wages and when things like that are going on it hangs over people. It’s a very important part of the job and you just want to be concentrating on what to do on the pitch. Being here takes that worry away.”

Boro are without a game this weekend with the clash due against Brentford postponed after the Bees continued their FA Cup run but in the third and final part of our interview with Mark Roberts the captain spoke about the recent weather and it’s affect on a league campaign, as well as the chances of a promotion push.

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