There’s a nice tradition here in Boston after the final home game of the season: the gates are flung open and the faithful are allowed to step – sometimes quickly and jubilantly in times of celebration, sometimes more sedately – onto the hallowed York Street turf, shake hands with the players and watch the end of season player presentations in the Director’s Box at the York Street End.
The last four such occasions nicely exemplify the rapid demise and glorious resurgence of Boston United Football Club:
· 2007: The mood is funereal after a 1-1 draw with Torquay United in what proves to be our final home league match. Steve Evans and his cronies have drained all life from the club, which stands penniless, relegation-haunted and on the brink of death.
· 2008: United ride a tide of emotion to beat Hyde United 2-1, cementing a mid-table place in the Conference North. Chairman David Newton, who had rescued the club at the eleventh hour from his own pocket, announced the club had been saved from a winding-up order and would live to fight another season.
· 2009: Demoted to the Unibond League just after the above announcement, United scrape past Cammell Laird 1-0 to avoid another relegation and almost certain termination. One of the best, if most tense, atmospheres I’ve ever experienced at York Street.
· 2010: In the greatest game I’ve ever witnessed in person, United come from behind in the last 20 minutes to beat FC United of Manchester 4-1 and set up a final day shot at the Unibond League title. It confirms the club’s resurrection.
Given such a legacy of last-day emotion, I think most in the 1600-strong crowd at York Street on Saturday were rather grateful for this quiet, boring win over Vauxhall Motors! Our play-off place already secured, there was little for players and supporters to get excited about as United coasted to victory against the Merseysiders. The only thing left to find out was our opponents this week in the two-legged play-off semi-finals – and it will be Yorkshire, not Warwickshire on Tuesday evening after Guiseley pipped Nuneaton Town.
After Mickey Stones, with a well-taken finish, and Anthony Church, with a superb swirling free-kick, had given the hosts a commanding lead, this game trundled along in the doldrums, which was quite ironic given the blustery wind which rendered the long-ball nigh on impossible.
Neither the players, conscious of injuries and unnecessary energy exertion, nor the Town Enders were willing to get too involved and excitement was rationed. We must preserve our vocal chords for Nethermoor on Tuesday night, of course.
Following the most lackadaisical pitch invasion ever, it came as little surprise when captain Shaun Pearson dominated the player of the year presentations. And deservedly so. There may have been some hyperbole when the Boston Target compared him with John Terry last week but he is undoubtedly Boston’s Lion and has been outstanding all season. It will come as no surprise when a bigger club, possibly from as high as the Championship, swoops in the summer and we should be immensely grateful for the innumerable points Shaun has gained us this season. Just don’t go to Grimsby, ok?
Next Match: Hopefully a Bank Holiday Monday treat when Hallam FC play Sheffield FC in a 150th anniversary match at Sandygate Road tomorrow, then the short hop to Guiseley, for the fourth time in three seasons, for the play-off, first leg on Tuesday.