Finally I’ve got sat down in our holiday cottage and have decided to do a bit of a catch up of the latest news and events. There will be two pages to this, on page one we’ll deal with some opinion on the latest news, page two will look at some of the latest rumours doing the rounds.
To start though, even though I’m on holiday don’t think about breaking into my house. My next door neighbour, a survivalist who makes crossbows and medieval weapons as a hobby, is just praying someone tries so he can take a prisoner. Just a polite warning!
So, on with some Stacey West opinion on the latest news coming out of the Bank.
Is there ever any news quite like hearing about a new signing? Toffolo has been rumoured for a while and although I chose to ignore the first rumblings on the Ex Agent Twitter account, I’ve had to concede he got this one spot on.
This is a huge signing. I wrote a bit about him yesterday, but the short version is we’ve signed a League One quality left back at the very least. This boy played England U20 football not so long ago and how he’s slipped into League Two will baffle many. It seems the lure of playing in front of 10,000 fans is one huge attraction, I wouldn’t mind betting that the words of Sean Raggett is another. Danny and Nicky are well thought of in the football world and Toffolo will have done his homework.
It seems incomprehensible that a player who joined a play off chasing Championship team just six months ago is now an Imp, but along with Bruno Andrade it shows the level at which Danny is recruiting. I commented at the time of Andrade’s transfer that Elliott Whitehouse might be a bit upset, I would imagine Sam Habergham might just be the same. When we were National League, Danny tried to lure League Two quality players to the team. Now, he’s aiming higher than that and one by one, the 2016/17 side are finding themselves out of chances. Is Sam going to rise to the challenge?
— Stevenage FC 🔴⚪ (@StevenageFC) June 12, 2018
It’s one in, one out today and Paul Farman’s departure is one that I wasn’t looking forward to writing about. Farms (main picture) has always been a friend of the blog, a regular reader and often interviewed. It seemed inevitable he’d go if there was first team football on the cards and that has proven to be the case.
One thing that delights me about this is Stevenage seem to be handing him the number one jersey and I firmly feel he is capable of holding his own at this level. Josh Vickers is a superb keeper and Farms chances were always going to be limited, especially after losing a very small section of the support after a couple of small mistakes. He fought as hard as anyone to become a Football League player and having spoken to him it is clear that in doing so he achieved a childhood dream. Now, he’s simply moving to keep that dream alive.
I could write a gushing paragraph or two about his achievements over the years, his dedication and character at coming back from a Boston loan and of course, his excellent 2016/17 season, but there’s been plenty written already. Paul Farman will go down in Lincoln City folklore, not only for the number of outings he had but also for that cup run, his Emirates display and his wonderful attitude towards fans and staff. His celebrations on the field after the Checkatrade Trophy win proved everything you need to know about the man, despite being ousted from the side he was as delighted as anyone.
There’s no hiding though, this was the right move for the player as his chances were going to be limited once more. After Danny brought in Ryan Allsop to cover Josh’s injury, it became apparent that perhaps Farms was out of favour, especially as he was dropped for the Chelsea semi final. Luckily, time will diminish the negativity surrounding him this season, but it will only add shine to his reputation as a servant of the club.
Points are not lost or gained for having big crowds, which is lucky for the rest of League Two, wouldn’t you say? It is quite astounding that we’ve shifted 6,000 season tickets, perhaps not so surprising we had a 94% uptake.
I understand some people have been displaced, but overall I think the sales figures represent not only our progress under Danny and Nicky, but also as a club. Logistically the club have to find more ways to cram people in, but also how to increase revenue without putting in extra seats. The numbers suggest the Legend’s Bar has been a success, which may not please all of the Junior Imps members but sadly, had to be done.
I hope that the families and Junior Imps have renewed too, albeit in a different area of the ground. As a child I was always behind the goal, I only ever got hit with a ball at an away game and I was so influenced by my place in the stands I named the blog after it. Genuinely, whilst the initial move might not be ideal, it is for the greater good and numbers suggest the club is as strong as ever.
The other thing to consider is the impact this has on signing new players. As I’ve already mentioned, Harry Toffolo has cited playing in front of 10,000 as a factor in him deciding his move. How many others will feel the same? Any League One player looking to move might just be swayed by playing in League Two if the home crowd is twice as big as what they are used to.
There’s been movement on the training ground too, the approval of planning. I personally wasn’t too concerned, I doubt the club would have made announcements if they weren’t sure that they’d get it anyway, but the news was greeted enthusiastically anyway.
Darren Curtis, head of stadium and operations, said: “We are pleased to have reached this stage of the project and I would like to thank West Lindsey District Council and their Planning and Development Manager, Oliver Fytche-Taylor, for their support on behalf of the football club and we now look forward to seeing things taking shape over the coming weeks and months.”
I think that pretty much sums up everything I feel too. The training ground is a huge boost, not only for the current players but also in attracting new ones. I’m sure Danny and Nicky have shown player’s the plans this pre-season as they’ve tried to lure them to the club and the likes of Harry Toffolo will be convinced far easier than they would be if they were training at the barracks.
Season Review Book
Okay it’s a bit of in house business, but the order has gone in for the season review book today. As suspected it won’t make Father’s Day, but I expect to despatch in the middle of next week. I’ve over ordered on purpose too, so there is a copy or two left if you want to order from me. If not, it’ll be on Amazon middle of next week.
World Cup Prediction League
I had loads of you message saying what a good idea it was and how you’d love to be involved, but not so much take up which is disappointing. So far the prize fund remains stuck at £25, to be split between the FPS and the winner. Thanks to those players who have donated to the cause, remember you can only win a cash prize if you’ve donated.
The date for donations ends this Friday, I wouldn’t want anyone getting off to a good start and sticking their money in then, so please, if you’re thinking of playing and want to stand a chance of a cash prize as well as helping the FPS, use the donate button on this page. The minimum donation is £2.50 and it’s going to a great cause as well as adding to the prize fund.
Next page – the latest rumours looked at