Rough guide to
About this season's guide
'05-06 season index
Rough guide to... Boston United
24 June 2005
Drifting out of the unknown around three years ago, not shy of using their muscle, hanging about not really making their presence known until this summer with some high profile (c-list) appearances. And a mysteriously hoarded wealth. It's Fran Cosgrave! Whether Boston will show their more 'sensitive' side now is unknown at this time.
Sixteenth – two places above us and effectively by scoring 11 more goals at home than Town could muster. Steve Evans returned to the club after suspension for "financial irregularities" (see below) in March 2004 for a late splurge up the table, hinting that Evans's golden touch would see more of the same in 2004-05, finishing the business he claimed was "unfinished". Not so. Inconsistent, wobbly form was – as for so many teams in the bottom tier – the decisive factor, and the season petered out in the final two months: a case of not finishing too close to the relegation places. The football wasn't for an epicure; lots of duff huff and puff stuff.
After seven seasons below it, Boston were promoted back to the Conference from the Southern League in 1999–00. After one season of 'adjustment' at the new level, a switch to full-time professionalism saw them champion the Conference, pipping Dagenham & Redbridge to the title. As the fans looked ahead to the club's first League fixture a tumultuous summer elapsed. Manager Steve Evans, the driving force behind the Pilgrims' rise, was suspended (and later removed) as the Football League conducted an inquiry into the club's approach to contracting players. Make it they did, though, despite a four-point penalty for the actions of Evans and ex-chairman Pat Malkinson. Their first season in the world of professionalism is covered in great detail in Grahame Lloyd's excellent One Hell Of A Season (which we must stick a review up of at some point), but the new kids on the block stayed up and have lurked in the upper bottom half for the three seasons since.
As footnote, they would have made it into the League sooner if inspectors had approved their ground in 1977. Instead the team second in the Alliance was promoted to Division Four: Wigan Athletic.
Jon Sotnick took control of the club in February 2004, ending the involvement of the Malkinson family which dated back to the 1930s. Sotnick promptly promised new investment, slung manager Neil Thompson out on his arse and brought back Evans. The investment bit is interesting: there does seem to have been a lot of money slung around at York Street under Sotnick's reign. A lot. No-one is unsure who runs this club though: even Evans's transfers have to be cleared by the chairman.
Do we like them?
A faux Lincolnshire-based rivalry developed with them last season, driven not by desire but merely the increasingly desperate bragging rights for who was next best behind Lincoln and Scunthorpe. We lost. They save their spite for Lincoln.
Not going all gooey-eyed but I think Dave Gilbert started out with them.
An ex-teammate of the Yeo man at Lincoln, Ben Futcher, joined the Pilgrims in a deal that was motivated by money or new challenges - depending on which club was doing the explaining. Ben, as is common knowledge among Town fans by now, is the son of the last brick wall to play in the Town back line, Mr Paul Futcher. Like father, like son, including that uncanny knack to nick some vital goals and knock others off the ball.
With one of the best goalies in the division, the addition of Futcher will tighten the defence. The departure of Jermaine Easter means extra reliance on more guile in midfield and a striker (who might be named Daryl Clare) to prove his worth at this level. Noel Whelan, ex of Leeds and Coventry, will help on that front. Gavin Johnson's a decent midfielder, but they need a bit more of a spark in the middle if they are to look a good bet for climbing into the top half of the table.
Why don't you just switch off from the football and go out and do something less boring instead?
A tea party? Wrong Boston. This Boston is a town rich in history, and for a while in the Middle Ages until the early modern era was a prosperous centre of trade. Affairs are more modest these days, but local business still relies on the earth's natural treasures. And it promises more than just a pre-match pint for any fan seeking a little culture in their day out. Let's face it: there won't be any on the pitch.
St Boloph's church has, at 271 feet, the tallest tower of any parish church in England. "The Stump", as it is known, is a beautiful 14th-century construction. Ships used to refer to it as a guide when coming into the nearby port on the Boston Deeps – among the most difficult waters on the east coast (so commandeering a boat for a trip isn't recommended unless you've got your sea legs on). Memorials can be found in the church for the five locals who left to become governors of Massachusetts. The state's capital's name? Boston. Fact fans might want to note that the top of the tower is without ornamentation.
Another "England's tallest" title goes to the Maud Foster Windmill, still in operation today nearly 185 years after it first ground local wheat.
And lest I, and you, forget, the Pilgrim Fathers were imprisoned in Boston in 1607. Twenty-three years later they were released and fled to found the United States, and centuries later that nation carries the work ethic torch, strong, bright and relentless. [Bastards – Ed.] Check out the cells at the Guildhall Museum (if it is renovated by then).
Apparently the bittern is native to the local marshes: a bird which "as fame tells us," said Daniel Defoe in one of his many impressed notes on the town, "thrusts its bill into a reed, and then gives the dull, heavy groan or sound, like a sigh, which it does so loud, that with a deep bass like the sound of a gun at a great distance." Must have witnessed last season's pulse-slowing encounter at York Street then.
Anyone seeking examples of local councils doing as they are asked, look no further. "What we are doing about what you told us!" the council's website blurts. "You told us you wanted the public toilets to stay open – so they are staying open." One hopes some smart arse doesn't ask them to close the market on Saturday 24 September.