Graham Westley: Stevenage reappoint former manager for fourth spell in charge

Graham Westley
Graham Westley has not managed in the English Football League since leaving Newport in March 2017

Stevenage have reappointed former manager Graham Westley for his fourth spell in charge of the League Two club.

Westley, 51, takes over with the struggling Hertfordshire side in 23rd place in the fourth tier, to become Boro's third man in charge this season.

Mark Sampson was appointed as caretaker manager following previous boss Dino Maamria's sacking in September.

But Sampson, who had expected to get the job on a permanent basis, is to revert to a first-team coach role.

Former England Women manager Sampson, 37, is currently facing a charge of using racist language by the Football Association.

He had been the subject of an FA investigation since September after an allegation by a former coach at the League Two club.

"Given our current league position, this is not the time for us to experiment with managers," said chairman Phil Wallace. "I need someone I trust and I trust Graham.

"Mark has made us hard to beat, but we have not won the points needed to climb the table, so it is time to introduce someone with experience into the mix.

"I obviously have a high regard for Graham, having employed him three times before. I am banking that his maturity and evolution has continued over the four years since he was here last and we can establish a formidable partnership again."

Westley will come in and meet the Stevenage players on Monday, before next Saturday's home game with high-flying Crewe Alexandra.

But he will not officially take charge until Monday, 23 December, when he will help prepare the team for the Boxing Day home game with Forest Green.

Westley's illustrious Stevenage past

Westley first became Stevenage boss in their non-league days in January 2003, succeeding Wayne Turner.

He then returned to Broadhall Way in June 2008, taking over from Peter Taylor, before leading Boro into the Football League at the end of his second season.

Stevenage then won a second successive promotion a season later, via the play-offs, having finished sixth in League Two.

Just five months into their first season in the third tier, Westley was lured to Lancashire to manage fellow League One side Preston North End.

Stevenage finished sixth again in their first season in League One - just missing out in the play-offs this time - nine places higher than North End, who were still struggling when they sacked Westley after 13 months in charge in February 2013.

Westley returned to Stevenage a month later, in March 2013, to take over once more from the man who had replaced him, Gary Smith. He kept Boro up but could not prevent relegation back to League Two a year later. And his third spell came to an end in May 2015 after Stevenage had lost in the League Two play-off semi-finals.

Since then, he has spent eight months in League One at Peterborough United and five months at Newport, during which his side won just five times in 29 games.

His most recent managerial appointment was with National League side Barnet, winning two of 11 matches in early 2018.

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