|Full name Graham Neil Westley|
Name Graham Westley
Place of birth Hounslow, England
|Playing position |
Parents Derek Westley
1982–1986 Queens Park Rangers
|Date of birth (1968-03-04) 4 March 1968 (age 47)|
Current team Peterborough United (manager)
Team coached Stevenage F.C. (Manager, 2013–2015)
Similar People Gary Smith, Teddy Sheringham, Dino Maamria, Simon Grayson, Darragh MacAnthony
Graham Neil Westley (born 4 March 1968) is an English former professional footballer and a manager.
- Graham westley peterborough manager drops as ball pops fa cup
- Playing career
- Early management
- Farnborough Town
- Rushden & Diamonds
- Kettering Town
- Return to Stevenage
- Preston North End
- Third spell at Stevenage
- Peterborough United
- Newport County
- Personal life
- Managerial statistics
- Graham westley it was cancerous when i arrived at preston did anyone turn up drunk
He had a short and relatively unsuccessful playing career, spent mostly as a striker in non-league football. He turned out for a wide variety of clubs, including: Gillingham, Barnet, Wycombe Wanderers, Kingstonian, Wealdstone, Farnborough Town, Harlow Town, Enfield, Aylesbury United, Harrow Borough, Tooting & Mitcham United, Molesey and Walton & Hersham. He started his managerial career at the age of 28, managing Kingstonian for five months, before spending a year in charge of Enfield. In 1999, Westley became manager of Farnborough Town, guiding them to the Football Conference in 2002. He left Farnborough the following season, to become manager of Stevenage. He took the club to within one game of promotion to the Football League, but left the club in 2006 when his contract expired. Westley then had a brief, but successful, spell with Rushden & Diamonds, as well as acting as caretaker manager at Kettering Town.
He took a year out of the game, before rejoining Stevenage in May 2008. He guided the club to FA Trophy success in 2009, before securing promotion to the Football League for the first time in the club's history in April 2010, finishing the season as league champions. Westley guided the club to back-to-back promotions in his first season as a Football League manager, following Stevenage's successful 2010–11 League Two play-off campaign. At the start of 2012, Westley left Stevenage to join Preston North End. He was sacked by the club in February 2013. A month later, Westley rejoined Stevenage, his third spell at the club. He managed the club for another two years, before leaving again in May 2015. He took charge at Peterborough United four months later, before being sacked shortly before the end of the 2015–16 season. He was appointed manager at Newport County in October 2016, with the club lying bottom of the English Football League, and was sacked five months later after failing to turn around the club's poor form.
Graham westley peterborough manager drops as ball pops fa cup
Westley was born in Hounslow, London and he started his footballing career as an apprentice with Queens Park Rangers. During his time at QPR, Westley represented England at U18 level. He then joined Gillingham in March 1986. He made two league appearances for the club before joining Barnet. He made three appearances and scored one goal for them in the Football Conference during the 1987–88 season, making his debut for the club in a 2–2 draw against Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose. Westley joined Wycombe Wanderers in the latter stages of 1987 for a fee of £7,500, making a scoring debut in a 2–1 away victory at Telford United. He scored in Wycombe's next two games, and was a first-team regular until manager Peter Suddaby left the club in January 1988. Westley played just once under new manager Jim Kelman and left soon afterwards to sign for Kingstonian. He played 24 times for Wycombe, scoring five goals in all competitions during the club's 1987–88 campaign. He later played for a number of non-League clubs, including Kingstonian, Wealdstone, Farnborough Town, Harlow Town, Enfield, Aylesbury United, Harrow Borough, Tooting & Mitcham United, Molesey and Walton & Hersham – three of which he would later go on to manage. During his time at Kingstonian, he suffered a dislocated ankle and broken leg in three places, which subsequently cut his playing career short after never fully recovering from the injury. On his playing career, Westley said "I felt sorry for myself too often when I should have been leading the team".
While recovering from a broken leg, at the age of 28, Westley was appointed as manager of Kingstonian in December 1996 after approaching the club about their vacant managerial post. His first two games in-charge of the club both ended in 4–4 draws against Walton & Hersham and Harrow Borough respectively, with Westley saying "at the time, there was something raw and exciting about the team that I sent out. Although there was also something evidently missing". His first victory in-charge of the club was a 2–0 win over Wokingham Town in the Isthmian League Cup, before securing his first league win in the following game, a 5–2 win away at Aylesbury United. Kingstonian drew clear of relegation, with Westley recalling a 3–2 victory over champions Yeovil Town at Huish Park as a "memorable victory". Despite securing safety for the club, he was sacked after just five months, being replaced by Geoff Chapple. He managed Kingstonian for 25 games recording nine wins, eight losses, and eight draws.
In September 1997, Westley was appointed as manager of another club he had previously played for in the form of Isthmian League Premier Division outfit Enfield. He appointed Graham Pearce as his assistant, who had also previously played for, and managed, Enfield. He outlined his ambition of ensuring the club returned to the top tier in non-league, despite a host of financial difficulties at the club, he stated "my ambition is to see silverware in the table, and if you can't take the pressure, you shouldn't take big jobs like this one". His first game as manager of Enfield was a 2–0 home defeat to St Albans City. Despite securing a seventh-placed finish for the club, Westley left the club after just nine months in charge. He managed the club for a total of 41 games; winning 19, losing 16, and drawing 6 – with a win percentage of 46.34%.
In 1999, Westley bought a controlling interest in Farnborough Town and appointed himself as manager. He managed the club to a 12th-place finish in his first season in charge, but enjoyed success in the Isthmian Cup; winning the competition in 2000. The following season, Westley guided the club to more success, winning the Isthmian League Premier Division; securing 31 victories out of a possible 42 and amassing a total of 99 points. Westley overhauled the squad shortly after the club's promotion to the Football Conference – something which he now states as a "huge regret". At this point, he also tried to arrange a merger with Kingstonian – citing the club's "Football League rated ground" as the reasoning behind his proposed idea, although it never happened due to "fans resistance". During the 2001–02 season, the club consolidated their position in the first tier of non–league football; with Westley guiding the club to a 7th-place finish in the league. The following season was to be a memorable campaign for Westley, reaching the Third Round of the FA Cup after a 3–0 victory at Southport, where they faced Football League competition in the form of Darlington at Feethams. Westley guided the side to a 3–2 win over Darlington, and the club were rewarded with a Fourth Round tie at home to Arsenal. The tie, however, was controversially moved to Highbury – because the tie stood to make around £600,000 in gate receipts from playing at Highbury, whereas playing at Cherrywood Road would only have generated the club an estimated £50,000. Westley left the club after the sell-out 'home' tie at Highbury, which they lost 5–1. Shortly after his resignation, he became manager at Football Conference rivals Stevenage in January 2003, signing a three-year contract. Westley confirmed he would be leaving his shareholding in Farnborough to other existing shareholders, and would also be withdrawing his financial backing at the club. On moving to Stevenage, Westley said "I've enjoyed my time at Farnborough, but I feel that I need to move on now and that I need to concentrate on football management, which is where my ambitions lie". He went on to state that Stevenage's "long-term potential" was another key factor behind the move.
When Westley took over the Hertfordshire club, Stevenage were sitting 21st in the Football Conference, and were six points adrift of safety. Unlike his position at his previous club, Westley was appointed as first-team manager, with no board involvement. He set about ensuring the club were still in the highest tier in non-league football, signing seven players from his previous club Farnborough, as well as his former assistant Graham Pearce and goalkeeping coach Graham Benstead. His first game in charge of the club was a 1–1 draw at home to Morecambe, before having to wait three games for his first win at the club – a 2–0 victory away at local rivals Barnet, thanks to a Dino Maamria brace. The victory sparked an eight-game unbeaten run, recording six victories on the bounce to ensure the club were safe from relegation. Westley had guided the club from 21st in the table to a respectable 12th-place finish by the end of the season. The 2003–04 season witnessed a much more consistent season under Westley's management, but the club were unable to make the play-offs and finished the campaign in 8th place, despite a positive start to the season.
As was the case in previous seasons, Westley made wholesale changes at the end of the season, releasing several of the players he had originally signed from Farnborough, and replacing them with a mixture of players with Football League experience – in the form of Brian Quailey, Dannie Bulman, and Matt Hocking – as well as players from lower divisions such as Jon Nurse and Craig McAllister. Westley also gave first-team opportunities to players who had progressed through the club's youth system, most notably George Boyd. The squad originally struggled to perform, losing five games in the first eight games of the club's league campaign. However, two victories by wide margins against lowly opposition in the form of Farnborough and Northwich Victoria respectively propelled the club into a mid-table position. However, this was followed by two heavy defeats at the hands of York City and Canvey Island – the latter a 4–1 home defeat against part-time opposition. After the game, with hundreds of Stevenage fans calling for Westley to be sacked, he confronted fans in the East Terrace by saying he "would turn it around". Westley's side responded with four straight wins, and stayed within touching distance of the play-offs for several months. An important double over Carlisle United in March 2005, as well as crucial wins at Aldershot Town, Woking, and Crawley Town meant that Stevenage went into the final day of the season needing to beat already relegated Leigh RMI, and had to rely on Tamworth to hold Morecambe, who were currently occupying the final play-off spot. Stevenage beat Leigh 2–0, while Tamworth held Morecambe to a goalless draw, ultimately meaning Westley's side had reached the play-offs on the final day of the season. Westley engineered two solid displays to ensure Stevenage overcame second-placed Hereford United 2–1 on aggregate, but lost 1–0 to Carlisle United at the Britannia Stadium in the final.
The 2005–06 season marked Westley's third season in charge as manager of the club, and although the club were consistent at Broadhall Way throughout the season, the side struggled for form away from home, winning just four games on the road all season. Stevenage's poor away form was ultimately preventing the club from mounting any serious title challenge, and throughout the campaign Westley's side would often "lose the game before it began" – in away games against Southport, Morecambe, and Burton Albion respectively, Westley's side trailed 3–0 before half-time. Westley had also fallen out with striker Anthony Elding, who was eventually sold to Kettering Town in January 2006. There were also increasingly frequent question marks surrounding the discipline of the squad under Westley's control, as Stevenage received fourteen red cards during the campaign, more than any other club in the league by some distance. A 2–0 defeat away to relegation-threatened Forest Green Rovers on the final day of the season meant that Stevenage failed to reach the play-offs, finishing 6th in the table. After failing to reach the play-offs, Westley confirmed in May 2006 that he would leave the club when his contract expired in June, ending his three and a half year tenure with the Hertfordshire club.
Rushden & Diamonds
He was appointed manager of Rushden & Diamonds in December 2006, with the club sitting 22nd in the table, two points adrift of safety. Westley's first game in charge of Rushden was a 1–0 victory away at Cambridge United, as he set about ensuring safety. Westley secured the signatures of several players who he had previously managed at Stevenage; signing the likes of Jamie Cook, David Perpetuini, and Dino Maamria. Westley also brought in the likes of Michael Bostwick and Chris Beardsley – younger players who he had previously written about in his weekly column in The Non-League Paper when he was out of work. Westley's newly assembled team secured five straight wins in the league, including wins away at the top two teams in the league at the time, Oxford United and Dagenham & Redbridge. Despite managing an upturn in the form of the club, Westley was surprisingly sacked after a 2–2 draw at Aldershot Town in February 2007. He had taken the club from 22nd in the league to 12th in the space of two and a half months, and the club were on a seven-match unbeaten run at the time. In all, he managed Rushden for 13 games; winning seven, drawing three and losing three. The reason behind Westley's sacking is unknown, but he was replaced two days later by Garry Hill.
Shortly after leaving Rushden, Westley was appointed caretaker manager of Conference North outfit Kettering Town for the rest of the 2006–07 season in April 2007. Due to the date he joined, Westley was unable to bring any new players in to bolster the squad, with just two games remaining until the end of the season. His first game in charge was a 0–0 draw away to Stalybridge Celtic, shortly followed by a 1–0 loss to Alfreton Town at Rockingham Road – this was enough to ensure Kettering finished the season in second place. He managed Kettering in the play-offs, as they were beaten on penalties by Farsley Celtic in the semi-final after a 1–1 aggregate scoreline over two legs, he left shortly after when his short-term contract expired in May 2007, managing the club for a total of four games.
Return to Stevenage
After almost a year without work in football, Westley returned as Stevenage manager in May 2008 – two years after he had originally left. On his return, Westley stated he had come to "finish the job he started" – referring to trying to guide the club into the Football League for the first time in its history. He said that "the moment was right" for him to come back into football and that he "had some very good times at Stevenage before". His appointment was met with a fair bit of scepticism by Stevenage fans, but Westley promised to deliver a winning team, playing attractive football. Westley started by completely overhauling the squad in the summer transfer window and brought in no fewer than twelve players in an attempt to mount a serious Conference Premier title challenge. Among those brought in were Gary Mills and David Bridges, who Westley had managed during his short-stint at Kettering. He also signed Michael Bostwick and Mark Albrighton, who he had also signed at Rushden & Diamonds. Westley also secured the signatures of Andy Drury and Eddie Odhiambo respectively, both of which were players Westley had previously earmarked.
Stevenage started the season poorly, losing 3 out of their first 4 games and conceding 13 goals in the process, including a 5–0 loss to Wrexham on the first day of the season. The club secured its first victory under Westley in late August 2008, a 3–1 win away at Barrow, before winning four games on the bounce in September. However, through the first half of the club's 2008–09 campaign, Westley's side were suffering from the same inconsistency that was common in his first spell as manager of the Hertfordshire side, losing three games on the trot in November – the last of which was a 2–1 home defeat to Wrexham, it was to be Stevenage's last defeat at Broadhall Way in the league for 18 months. Westley brought in former player, Dino Maamria as first-team coach at the club. This, coupled with important signings during the campaign, such as Chris Day, Mark Roberts, and Jon Ashton, meant that Stevenage witnessed an up-turn in form halfway through the campaign. A 24-game unbeaten run stretching from December 2008 to April 2009, as well as winning crucial games towards the latter stages of the season, ultimately meant that Westley's men made the Conference Premier play-offs, finishing in the last play-off place. Despite taking a 3–1 lead into the second leg, Stevenage lost 4–3 overall on aggregate to Cambridge United. Westley did, however, enjoy success in the FA Trophy when he led the side out at Wembley Stadium in front of 27,102 as Stevenage beat York City 2–0 in the Final. The win was Westley's first taste of success as manager of Stevenage. After the game, it was announced that Westley was to stay on as manager for another year.
The majority of the squad that performed so well in the second half of the club's 2008–09 campaign were retained, with very little transfer activity in comparison to previous seasons under Westley. Steve Morison, the club's top goalscorer for the past three seasons, moved to Millwall for a fee of £130,000, while both John Martin and Calum Willock were released by Westley in late May 2009. Midfielder Gary Mills was the last departure of the close season; rejecting a contract and instead opting to join fellow Conference Premier rivals Mansfield Town. Five players joined the club during the close season. Charlie Griffin was the first signing of the season, joining Stevenage from Salisbury City on a free transfer. Yemi Odubade, Chris Beardsley, and Joel Byrom signed for the club shortly after; the latter commanding a transfer fee of £15,000. Westley had previously managed Beardsley at Rushden & Diamonds and Kettering Town. The last signing of pre-season was Stacy Long; who joined the club on a free transfer from Ebbsfleet United. No players departed the club during the season, with Tim Sills the only addition – signing for an undisclosed fee from Torquay United in January 2010.
Stevenage's league campaign got off to a typically patchy start; with the side recording just one win from their first five games of the season. Following a 2–1 defeat to Oxford United in August 2009, the team went on a 17-game unbeaten run that stretched four months from August to December 2009, propelling the club into the top two. Unlike in previous seasons, the club were performing strongly away from home, and secured victories at the likes of Luton Town and Mansfield Town. A 4–1 victory against Cambridge United on New Year's Day ultimately meant that Stevenage hit top-spot for the first time in the season. However, two defeats on the road within the space of a week in February meant that rivals Oxford United had an eight–point lead going into March 2010. The team responded well, winning eight games on the bounce; including an important 1–0 victory over Oxford United in late March, subsequently replacing Oxford at the top of the table. Borough brushed aside a late challenge from Luton Town, securing promotion to the Football League with two games to spare following a 2–0 win against Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough. The team won their last six games of the league campaign without conceding a single goal, and recorded 42 points from a possible 45 from their last 15 league fixtures. Stevenage finished the season having amassed a total of 99 points from 44 games, winning the league by 11 points, with Westley winning many plaudits for the way he had secured promotion despite considerably less resources than a lot of the teams in the division. The promotion means Westley has led Stevenage to the Football League for the first time in their history, as well as managing a Football League team for the first time in his managerial career. Westley also guided the club to another FA Trophy Final; this time losing 2–1 after extra-time against Barrow at Wembley Stadium. At the end of the season, Westley signed a new two-year contract; keeping him contracted to the club until 2012. On signing the new deal, Westley said "I am grateful for all the support that we have all been given in the past two years. I am delighted to have the opportunity to manage the launch of the club into the Football League". In his first two seasons back at the club, from May 2008 to May 2010, Westley has been in charge for 114 games, winning a total of 70 games – recording a win percentage of 61.40%.
Similarly to the club's successful campaign the season before, but in complete contrast to his first tenure at the club, the 2010–11 season saw five players joining the club, while roughly five players left the club in the close season. The club started the season inconsistently, with Westley stating the season would be a "massive learning curve" for both himself and the players. Following four defeats in six games in December 2010 and January 2011, Stevenage found themselves in 18th position, just four points above the relegation zone. However, during a congested period throughout February and March 2011, Stevenage won nine games out of eleven, propelling the club up the league table and into the play-off positions. This included winning six games on the trot, a sequence only matched by Bury. A 3–3 draw against Bury on the final day of the season meant that Stevenage finished the season in sixth place. They faced fifth place Accrington Stanley in the 2010–11 League Two play-off semi-finals, winning both legs by a 3–0 aggregate scoreline. They beat Torquay United 1–0 in the Final at Old Trafford on 28 May 2011. The victory meant that Westley had guided the club to back-to-back promotions, playing in League One for the first time in the club's history. On securing promotion, Westley said "It's a fantastic feeling. The players work so hard and they deserve everything they get". During the 2010–11 season, Westley also guided the club to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, where they lost to Reading 2–1. In the previous round, Stevenage beat Premier League side Newcastle United 3–1 at Broadhall Way. After the match, Westley said before the game he had told the players to "go out and win the match 5–0. We established that if we did just 20% of what it would take to win 5–0 then we would still win the game".
At the start of the 2011–12 season, Westley signed a three-year contract extension at Stevenage that kept him contracted to the club until 2014. Westley acquired five players on free transfers, while also releasing five of the existing squad. Stevenage started their first ever League One campaign well, beating the 2010–11 League One play-off semi-finalists, Bournemouth, 3–1 at Dean Court to secure their first victory of the season on 16 August 2011. Stevenage were exceeding expectations in the third tier of English football, sitting just outside the play-off places after securing a notable 5–1 victory against Sheffield Wednesday Broadhall Way in September 2011. The club also inflicted Charlton Athletic's first league defeat of the season after a 1–0 win against the league leaders. The victory against Charlton was to spark a 13-game unbeaten run for Westley's Stevenage, and a 6–1 away victory at Colchester United on Boxing Day 2011 meant the club were sat in sixth place, the final play-off position. After managing Stevenage for three-and-a-half years, Westley left Stevenage in January 2012, joining fellow League One side Preston North End. His final game as manager of Stevenage was a 1–0 away victory at Reading in the FA Cup Third Round.
Preston North End
In January 2012, Preston North End asked for permission to speak to Westley with the view to employing him as their new manager. Though the Hertfordshire club described the approach as "unwelcome", permission was granted. After personal terms and a compensation package were agreed, Westley was announced as Preston's new manager on 13 January. His first game in-charge of the club was a 2–0 home defeat against Leyton Orient on 21 January. After the game, it was revealed that Westley had told players the starting line-up for the game courtesy of a 2am text message on the day of the match. He picked up his first win as Preston manager in his fourth game in-charge, securing a 1–0 home victory over Hartlepool United on 14 February 2012. Following Preston's 2–0 televised defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in March 2012, Westley stated that a Sheffield Wednesday player had informed him that four Preston players had leaked the Preston team and tactics to opposition players ahead of the match. Westley stated — "It doesn't surprise me. When you have got people in your own camp working against you it is tough". Preston won just two games out of the next 17 during the remainder of the campaign, and finished the season in 15th place. At the end of the season, Westley criticised the club's "mediocre" mentality, stating the squad have "not got a clue what it takes to get success".
Westley subsequently went about overhauling the squad ahead of the 2012–13 season. In May 2012, Preston announced that 21 players would be leaving the club; 14 of which were released at the end of their contracts, while a further seven were transfer-listed. Preston signed 18 players during the summer transfer window, including Scott Laird, John Mousinho, Joel Byrom, and Chris Beardsley, four players from Westley's former club, Stevenage. Westley stated a desire for the new group of players to be committed to his ideas — "My job is to develop a plan that would see the club back on an upward curve. The plan is in place. I'm looking forward to working with a group that thinks along the same lines that I do". Preston started the season well, beating Championship side Huddersfield Town 2–0 at Deepdale in the League Cup. Later on in the month, Preston went on to secure consecutive 4–1 home victories, beating Crystal Palace and Swindon Town respectively, as well as defeating Hartlepool United 5–0 a month later. However, the club went on to win just two leagues matches in a four-month period from October 2012 to February 2013. A day after Preston's 3–1 away defeat to Yeovil Town on 12 February 2013, the club released a statement announcing Westley had been sacked. With Preston sitting just five points above the relegation zone, it was revealed that "the board felt that a change of manager was the only way forward". On his time at Preston, Westley stated he had to "slash the wage bill by 60y percent", and as a result the "re-building was well underway but the club lost confidence in me whilst I was doing it. They just want results. Short-term pain is necessary sometimes. It was necessary at Preston. And the fans got restless. I get that. Just as managers have to be brave enough to grit their teeth and face up to that, so owners have to be brave at difficult times. And they have to be able to understand the issues. I knew the answers to problems but I wasn't being allowed to solve all the problems".
Third spell at Stevenage
After a month out of work, Westley rejoined Stevenage on 30 March 2013, his third spell in-charge at the club. On the appointment, Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace stated — "Graham was keen to come back to Stevenage and, although I met some strong candidates, without doubt I think he’s the best man for the job right now. The club enjoyed a great deal of success before he left last year and we moved forwards significantly in his time here on several levels". On his return, Westley said — "I'm really happy to be back, the training ground is fantastic, the club just keeps moving forward. All the facilities keep improving and I hope that I can come back and make another positive difference". In his first game back in-charge of the club, Stevenage secured a 1–0 victory over Hartlepool United on 1 April.
On 21 May 2015, Westley was replaced by ex England striker Teddy Sheringham as manager of Stevenage.
Westley was appointed manager of League One Peterborough United on 21 September 2015.
He was named as League One Manager of the Month for November 2015 after his team secured 12 points and 14 goals from four league games, which him praise for his side's open, attacking play.
Despite lifting Peterborough into the playoff places in January 2016, a very poor run of form saw Peterborough slide down the table and Westley was sacked by Peterborough on 23 April after a 2-0 home defeat to Scunthorpe United left them 14th in the League One table.
Westley was appointed manager of League Two bottom side Newport County on 7 October, officially taking charge of the first-team on 10 October 2016, following the sacking of Warren Feeney with Dino Maamria again appointed as his Assistant Manager. On 9 March 2017 Westley and Maamria were sacked with Newport 11 points adrift at the bottom of League Two. First team coach Mike Flynn was appointed caretaker manager until the end of the 2016-17 season.
Westley wrote a weekly column in The Non-League Paper, sharing his views and experiences on the non-league game. He is also the chief executive of the Aimita Corporation, an organisation that provides performance management consulting. Westley has also gained a Master of Arts degree in company direction.
Managerial statisticsAs of 9 March 2017.