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Phil Wallace's inside story on the January Transfer Window

1 February 2018

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From the Boardroom...

Chairman Phil Wallace has today revealed the inside story to all 13 deals concluded by Stevenage FC in the January Transfer window.

Four deals were confirmed on Deadline Day itself, including the sale of Tom Pett to Lincoln City, whilst Dean Bowditch, Johnny Goddard and Joe White all joined the club on the final day of business.

Speaking to StevenageFC.com, Phil Wallace offered some fascinating insight into the work done.

“We started planning early. Our October and November performances had revealed serious shortcomings in the squad, which did not improve in December.

“First, we had to make room for new spending. This was the key to the strategy; Blair Turgott was released after being watched constantly in training games and on loan.

“Rowan Liburd was sold for 3 times the fee we paid for him and Harry Beautyman was sold to his old club for a profit we didn’t expect.

“At the same time, James Ferry and Ryan Johnson were sent out on long term loans to release their wages and give them match experience.

“First in was Tom King. We had to be realistic and admit that Daisy in his 40’s was unfortunately not a viable option in League Two and we needed a keeper to push Joe Fryer. Tom was selected from several options we had identified and a loan until the end of the season was arranged.

“Our plan to bring some quality and energy to midfield was next, so in came Ben Sheaf and Luke Amos from Arsenal and Spurs - players we had watched and studied carefully.

“The quality of these lads is beyond doubt, but it is how they react mentally and physically to a competitive environment that determines how well they do with us.

“Most importantly, we have always needed a big, experienced striker at Stevenage so when we heard Alex Revell may be available; we worked hard to secure his signature, against very strong interest from Lincoln and Mansfield, as well some northern League One clubs.

“Alex didn’t want to relocate so that helped us win the race, but Stevenage hasn’t had this type of striker for a long time and we were determined to bring him to Boro so our fans can enjoy a big number 9 in the team again.

“The lack of creativity was then addressed. Tom Pett told us he was leaving in June when his contract ended so the chance to secure a significant 5 figure fee from Lincoln, share in his future with a sell-on and release his wages, was too good to miss.

“We set our fee to Lincoln, Tom agreed personal terms quickly and the deal was done.

“We had already been in talks with Swindon about Johnny Goddard after his transfer to Lincoln fell through, but the fee was too rich for us.

“However, once Petty’s move was on the table we had something to bargain with and after days of negotiation, we agreed a fee for Johnny and he joined us on a 2.5 year deal.

“Yesterday, Dean Bowditch became available on loan. He had other clubs in but didn’t want to move from his MK base and we couldn’t pass up the chance to benefit from his experience and quality on the ball.

“We could see that some of our lads - Ben Kennedy, Danny Newton and Matt Godden, to name a few - have been run into the ground as the options to replace them weren’t good enough to win the points we needed.

“Now we have those options and Darren Sarll can select from a far wider base of quality players.

"Finally, there is always one last twist and that presented itself when we heard that Dagenham were hoping to do some business before the window closed.

"We had always liked Joe White in their Academy – he is a big lad for 19, a throwback to the old number 9’s.

"He had been at Daggers for five years and we had tried on several occasions to buy him. This time we made an immediate cash offer – using the balance of the money from Lincoln - late in the evening, which was accepted and we secured him for 2.5 years.

“He has got to learn his trade but there will be nobody better to learn from than Alex Revell. This deal also gave us the opportunity to recall Kevin Lokko to integrate into the squad on a daily basis ready for next season, after spending the first half of the season on loan at Daggers.   

“Finally, we declined three bids from Premier League clubs for Ben Wilmot in the window and discouraged bids for Mark McKee.

“We believe that both Ben and Mark will develop faster playing in our First Team than being lost in the U23 environment of a Premier League club, along with scores of others.

“There is no substitute for competitive football and the pressure cooker of an EFL dressing room.”

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