How Graham Westley made a man of Peterborough United star George Boyd
Peterborough United star George Boyd credits many people for helping him enjoy a top-notch professional career.
Current Peterborough United boss Darren Ferguson is obviously one of them, but perhaps more surprisingly ex-Posh manager Graham Westley is another.
Tough taskmaster Westley and flamboyant winger George Boyd would, not on the surface at least, be an ideal combination, but the player insisted his old Stevenage boss was a huge influence on the early part of his career.
Boyd, speaking ahead of a happy homecoming in an FA Cup first round tie at Stevenage that he is now expected to miss because of a knee injury tomorrow (November 9), said: “Wayne Turner (another ex-Posh manager) gave me my debut in the Conference at 16 at Stevenage and it was too soon.
“Men’s football was quite scary for me then as I was so small, but Graham came in and he made a man of me quite quickly.
“He could be quite harsh, but he toughened me up. He gave me a lot of self-belief and he encouarged me to play my game.
“I’d gone to Stevenage at 16 after Charlton let me go and stayed there until I left to come to Posh when I was 21.
“I loved it at Stevenage. They looked after me and I got on great with the fans.
“It was just a shame I didn’t experience any real success with them.
“We reached the Conference play-off final once, but lost 1-0 to Carlisle at Stoke City.
“It was actually a wrench to leave as we were challenging for promotion when clubs started showing interest in me.
“We were by then playing great football and scoring loads of goals under Mark Stimson.
“But Posh bid my release fee and I made the move. It’s not one I’ve ever had cause to regret.
“It’s funny how things work out sometimes as Keith Alexander signed me, but he left within a fortnight and Darren came in.
“He turned out to be pretty good for me!”
Boyd was involved in a couple of minor FA Cup shocks while with Stevenage and he’s confident Posh will avoid a banana skin on Saturday, even though one of his great Posh playing mates Craig Mackail-Smith is now with the League Two club.
“It will be good to meet up with Craig again,” Boyd added.
“We’re still in touch through Instagram. but we haven’t spoken since the draw was made. I might send him a text before the game.
“It’s a game we should be confident of winning, although they have been picking up better results since they changed the manager.
“They have become much more solid. They are not letting many goals in so I’m expecting a tough game.
“I’ve been playing a bit deeper this season than I like, but it’s all about doing a job for the team and as long as we’re winning I don’t really care where I play.
“I haven’t managed to score yet, but I’ve got a few assists so it’s been going okay.”