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Boston United Football Club News

Here are the news items about the club received in the 1995/6 season, in date order with the latest news at the top.

Ronnie Reid turns down offer

Ronnie Reid has said no to the offer to take over from Mel Sterland as team manager. His reason for rejecting the offer is that he is a loyal friend of Mel and would like to see him reappointed as team manager. John Blackwell, the club secretary and newly appointed general manager, has said that Sterland, who led the team to second place in the league, will not be reinstated.

Pilgrims Unibond future in doubt

Boston United could be moving into the Vauxhall Conference or the Beazer Homes League next season. United have the support of the Unibond League in an appeal made to the Football Association to reconsider their application to join the Vauxhall Conference. This follows the administrative error which meant that their original application did not arrive with the Vauxhall Conference before the necessary deadline. United finished the season in the required promotion slot and also met all the ground and financial requirements for a place in the Conference. If their bid for promotion fails United could be playing in the Beazer Homes League next season. With Runcorn being relegated from the Conference and moving into the Unibond League it means that a team has to move out of the Unibond League into the Beazer Homes League. At a Unibond League Management Committee Meeting last week it was decided that this team would either be Boston United or Alfreton Town who have just been promoted from the Unibond First Division. The league rules allow United to be forced into the move, even though it is against the club's own wishes.

Mel Sterland goes

Boston United manager Mel Sterland has left the club despite leading them to second place in the Unibond League.

Pilgrims cannot progress

Boston United have not progressed their application for membership of the GM Vauxhall Conference. At the Joint Liaison Committee of the Senior Leagues held in London on Wednesday, the GM Vauxhall Conference confirmed details of the clubs who are in contention for promotion to the pinnacle of semi-professional football.

Having met both the ground grading and financial criteria, ICIS League clubs lead the way with four definite contenders; Boreham Wood, Hayes, Kingstonian and Yeovil Town, whilst a final decision is yet to be reached on a fifth Enfield. Qualifying from the Beazer Homes League are Rushden and Diamonds and Halesowen Town but sadly there are no candidates from the Unibond League as Barrow were unable to meet the deadline for the submission of their accounts. The "Bluebirds" are however asking the Conference to reconsider the decision. None of the other initial Unibond aspirants, Boston United, Chorley or Witton Albion progressed their applications whilst title frontrunners Bamber Bridge and Hyde United didn't make applications for Conference membership as they are aware that their stadiums do not yet meet the required standards.

Smith's NPL roots

Saturday saw a big milestone in the life of "Bald Eagle" Jim Smith who was taking charge of a team for the 1,000 time in the football league when Derby County visited Norwich City. His career as a Football League manager spans Colchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Oxford United, QPR, Newcastle United, Portsmouth and Derby. He was the first English manager to sell a player for one million pounds when he transferred Trevor Francis from Birmingham to Nottingham Forest in 1979.

But his managerial roots began in the Northern Premier League with his first appointment in charge of team affairs being at Boston United where he also had to perform the Secretarial duties, running the club lottery, digging new drains, concreting the car park and decorating the Boardroom.

Whilst at Boston, his teams never finished out of the top four, conceded only three home league goals all season in 1969/70 and the side were some forty games into an unbeaten run of 51 league games (a British professional record) when he left the Pilgrims to join Colchester in October 1972.

400 up for Cook

Boston United's veteran striker Chris Cook made his 400th appearance for the Pilgrims in Wednesday evening's 4-0 President's Cup victory over Alfreton Town. Although unable to celebrate by featuring on the scoresheet in midweek, Cook is the club's all time leading goalscorer with 165 goals to his credit after his double on Saturday against Spennymoor United.

When Saturday Comes

Boston United boss Mel Sterland and his players make their film debuts in the Sean Bean film "When Saturday Comes" which was premiered at Sheffield's Meadowhall last Tuesday. Sterland was originally approached to coach the star for the "rags to riches" story of a semi-professional footballer who gets the chance to play for his boyhood heroes, Sheffield United. Sterland, however, became more involved and finished up taking the part of the Sheffield United captain whilst many of his players make up the rest of the team.

Cup Draws

The draws for the semi-finals of the Unibond League knock-out competitions have been made. The ties are to be played over two legs with the first named team at home in the first leg on dates to be announced.

Unibond League Challenge Cup

Boston United v Leek Town
Gainsborough Trinity or Witton Albion v Hyde United or Lancaster City

Unibond League President's Cup

Boston United or Alfreton Town or Worksop T v Bamber Bridge
Marine or Hyde United v Guiseley or Buxton

300 up for United

Last week's home win over Spennymoor United was Boston United's 300th home fixture in the Northern Premier League. Of that total, the Pilgrims have lost just 37 although their home form since relegation from the Conference has not been anything like as impressive as during their earlier sojourn in the League when they lost only 22 of 241 games. In this period during the 70's they also achieved a run of 64 successive home games without defeat.

Cook Appeal

Boston United's long serving striker, Chris Cook, this week made an impassioned appeal to the thieves who broke into his car on Monday to return his football kit to him. Cook, who 48 hours earlier had scored his 159th goal for the Pilgrims (it turned out to be the winner against Chorley), made his appeal through the local press and on local radio and was hoping to get his shooting boots, in particular, back for Saturday. Cook, who runs a printing business in the town, also had two other pairs of boots stolen along with his training tops, pads, and official Boston United coat.

Boston continue with community service

Boston United, who have for the past eight years been associated with the Prison Service by taking inmates from HMP North Sea Open Prison for work experience, have extended their community projects by taking on youngsters from the Boston Special Education Course for children with Special Needs to help around their York Street stadium.

Boston Trophy Hoodoo Continues

Boston United's FA Trophy hoodoo continued unabated with their defeat in the replay at Chorley. The 2-1 reverse means the "Pilgrims" have got past the first round proper just once in seven seasons.

Funny old game

Having taken the plaudits earlier for heading the Premier Division's disciplinary record table, Boston United abruptly did an about turn. In their next three outings they had Steve Chambers, Neil Timby and Paul Casey dismissed in successive games.

Phillips returns to US

Boston have lost the services of American Mark Phillips who has returned home after making nine appearances and scoring two goals for the Pilgrims.

Unibond Cup Draws

The draws have been made for the Unibond League Challenge Cup and the Presidents cup as follows:
Unibond League Challenge Cup - 4th Round

Hyde United                v  Lancaster City
Gainsborough Trinity       v  Witton Albion
Leek Town                  v  Accrington Stanley
Guiseley or BOSTON UNITED  v  Spennymoor United

(Ties to be played w/c 12th February)

Unibond League Presidents Cup - 2nd Round

Guiseley                   v  Buxton
Bamber Bridge              v  Radcliffe Borough
Alfreton or BOSTON UNITED  v  Worksop Town
Marine or Witton Albion    v  Leek Town or Hyde United

(Ties to be played w/c 19th and 26th February)

United players in Unibond Squad

Gregg Fee and Andy Gray are included in the Unibond League's representative squad to take on the English Universities at Lancaster City FC on Monday 29th January 1996.

Pilgrims lead the way in discipline

Figures produced by the Unibond League's Referees Secretary John Jones reveal Boston United to be leading the way in the Premier Division disciplinary stakes. The "Pilgrims" have had only 12 yellow cards produced to their players against an average for the division of 23.6. The highest number of cautions are Knowsley United's 42 and Bamber Bridge's 40.

Gray attracting the scouts

Andy Gray is the latest Unibond player to be attracting the attention of a host of scouts. It is understood that Derby County, Coventry City, both Sheffield clubs and Southampton are amongst those trailing the winger who was in the Unibond League side that recently gave an outstanding performance against an FA XI comprised entirely of Conference players.

Nuttell Returns

According to today's Unibond League Press Release, United have signed Micky Nuttell on loan from Rushden and Diamonds. Since leaving United, Micky has played for Kettering, Dagenham and Redbridge as well as the Diamonds. He was top scorer for the Diamonds in 1993/4 with 39 goals.

United progress in Trophy

Boston United beat Leek Town in their 3rd Qualifying Round Replay at York Street by two goals to nil. Both goals were scored from first half penalties by Gregg Fee. United now face fellow Unibond Premier League side Chorley at home in the first round on 20th January.

Make or break month for Boston

December could well be the make or break month for Boston United in their attempt to regain Conference status with the second place club facing a daunting schedule in the final month of the year. Next Saturday they entertain league leaders Bamber Bridge and follow this with a trip to Barrow who, if they pick up the points from their games in hand, will not be far off the pace. Then it's reigning champions Marine at home with a tricky looking visit to Leek Town sandwiched in between the two holiday "Derby" matches with Gainsborough Trinity.

Bolland on Board

United 2000, the club's supporters organisation had a major boost on Tuesday when 2000 chairman, Gordon Bolland, the former United and Chelsea player, was elected to the Board of Directors of Boston United as the supporters voice on the board. With membership renewals for United 2000 being due, a major incentive for all those re-joining and for new members is the offer of a free ticket for the New Year's Day local derby against Gainsborough Trinity ... this being in addition to the monthly members draw and the discount scheme. Full details from Colin Woodcock on 01205 353255.

Reserves big win

Boston United's reserve team are banging in the goals as regularly as their first team counterparts and, having seen the firsts beat Buxton 9-3 earlier in the campaign, the seconds almost emulated with a 9-4 win over Grantham Town Reserves.

Draw for the Unibond Challenge Cup 3rd Round

The ties will be played in the week commencing 4th December.

Guiseley                           v  BOSTON UNITED
Hyde United                        v  Marine
Bishop Auckland or Spennymoor Utd  v  Emley
Atherton LR                        v  Witton Albion
Bamber Bridge                      v  Lancaster City
Gainsborough Trinity               v  Frickley Athletic
Leek Town                          v  Eastwood Town
Colwyn Bay                         v  Accrington Stanley

Varadi in at Matlock

The vacant managerial position at Matlock Town following the dismissal of David Vaughan a couple of weeks ago has been filled by the appointment of Imre Varadi as player manager.

United sign new striker

United have signed American striker, Mark Philips who was recommended to Pilgrims assistant manager, Ronnie Reid by Jack Detchen, a former assistant at York Street, who has been coaching in the States. Philips, who is in his early twenties, played for a team in Ohio and made his United debut in United's Reserves 6-0 TSW Printers Lincolnshire League home victory over Sleaford Town. He particularly impressed, scoring on his debut and laying on the first and fourth goals after out-pacing the visitors defence. His performance saw him carry off the Lincolnshire Standard "Man of the Match Award" and he is now included in the squad for Saturday's visit to champions, Marine.

United fined

United have been fined 100 pounds by an F.A. commission following their investigation of Darren Munton's move to East coast neighbours, Kings Lynn, who are managed by former United boss, Peter Morris. The club was found guilty of not having registered Munton within the statutory five days and will also have to pay the costs of the enquiry.

Pilgrims are Unibond Club of the Month

Boston United are the "Club of the Month" for the Premier Division of the Unibond League. This accolade comes on the back of a nine match unbeaten league run (7 wins, 2 draws) and a 5-0 away win at Worksop in the cup. The presentation of a framed scroll along with four Mitre Multiplex footballs, will be made by the League's Vice Chairman, Keith Brown, prior to United's home game against Matlock on 18th November.

Six apply for Conference

Six clubs from the Unibond League have made application to the GM Vauxhall Conference for promotion should they finish in a qualifying position at the end of the current season. The six clubs are: Barrow, Boston United, Chorley, Leek Town, Spennymoor United and Witton Albion. This compares with ten clubs from the ICIS League and eleven applications from the Beazer Homes League.

Player Transfers

Boston United were rocked when Gary Brook walked out on the club to join Halifax Town. Imre Varadi has also left the club, having been transferred to Scunthorpe United.

Lucky Mascot

Nine year old Craig Singleton can surely lay claim to being the most successful club mascot in senior football. Craig, who also supports Aston Villa, has acted as mascot to Boston United on three occasions since their return to the Unibond League and, to date, his record reads two 6-1 victories against Gainsborough Trinity and Knowsley United along with the recent 9-3 success over Buxton.

Boston Tea Party

Boston United broke a number of records in their 9-3 defeat of Buxton. It was not only Buxton's heaviest NPL defeat but also their heaviest in any competition taking over from their 8-2 reverse at Rossendale United in the Cheshire League in 1970/71. It was the first time that Boston had scored nine goals in a game in the NPL and the 9-3 scoreline equalled the biggest aggregate score for the league. Leading 9-1 with almost a third of the game to go, Boston were well on the way to create an all time League record but Buxton's substitute goalkeeper, Jim O'Donnell, who came on in the 63rd minute didn't concede a goal. Another NPL record was also surely set when no fewer than eight Boston players finished up on the scoresheet. Finally, two players scored on their debuts for their respective clubs, Gareth Price for Boston and Buxton's Lee Wilson.

150 Milestone for Cook

Boston United veteran Chris Cook reached the 150 goal mark in the recent game at Guiseley and then quickly set off for the 200 mark by popping in one of his side's nine goals against Buxton. He first played for the "Pilgrims" at the age of 16 in 1979 and scored a memorable goal at Wembley in the 1985 FA Trophy final defeat by Wealdstone. After netting 139 goals Cook was allowed to leave York Street in 1991 by the then manager Dave Cusack but returned in 1993 to run the reserve team. Last season Mel Sterland brought him back into first team action that culminated in Cook getting to the 150 mark against Guiseley.

Boston Cost Cutters

Imre Varadi, Mark Smith and Simon Mills have had their registrations cancelled by Boston United as part of a cost cutting exercise following the Lincolnshire club's shock exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Wisbech Town.

Big Crowd for Sterland Testimonial

A crowd of 3165 turned out last Sunday at Boston United's York Street ground to watch the Testimonial Match for the Lincolnshire club's manager, Mel Sterland. Appearing in his Boston United XI alongside Mel were Des Walker, Mark Bright and Gordon Strachan whilst Leeds United sent an impressive team including John Lukic, Tony Dorigo, David Weatherall, Phil Masinga, John Pemberton, David White and Jamie Forrestor. The FA Premiership front runners boss Howard Wilkinson, also took the opportunity to renew acquaintancies with old friends at York Street where he was once player-manager before moving up football's ladder.

Mel Sterland Testimonial

Boston United manager Mel Sterland has been granted a Testimonial Match by his old club Leeds United. The game will take place on Sunday, 3rd September at the Pilgrim's York Street ground when Leeds have promised to turn out their full first team. The Boston boss is himself turning out a star studded eleven with Chris Waddle, Gordon Strachan, Chris Woods, Des Walker and David Hirst having pledged themselves to playing for a Boston United XI.

Pilgrims sign Imre Varadi

Boston United have signed former Leeds United and Manchester City player Imre Varadi. He was signed just prior to the Pilgrims fixture with Witton Albion after playing in the first two games of the campaign for Mansfield Town.

Boston reach county cup final

Boston United became the first Unibond League club to reach their 1995/96 County Cup final when they beat Grantham Town in early August thanks to two Greg Fee penalties. This win left them heading a group that also contained Lincoln City and they now meet Grimsby Town who won their group which included Gainsborough Trinity and Scunthorpe United. It is the fifth consecutive season that the Pilgrims have played Grimsby in the Final with the Unibond side having a few scores to settle with the Football League outfit.

Dancing at York Street

They could be dancing in the streets of Boston on Thursday, 24th August. But whether it is the Old Tyme Boston Two Step or the more upbeat Latin American Lambada remains to be seen. Unibond League club Boston United have pulled off an attractive fixture against the touring Barbadian side, Lambada, who are members of the Caribbean Professional League and the 1994 Concacaf Cup Finalists losing in the Final to Netaxa, the Mexican League Champions in front of a crowd exceeding 77,000 at Miami. Lambada will include at least ten internationals in their side. The match at the Pilgrims York Street ground kicks off at 7.30pm.

Pilgrims play host to Derby County

Boston United played hosts to Endsleigh League First Division side Derby County in July when the "Rams" stayed in Boston for a week. In between playing golf and visiting the "Pilgrims" sponsors, Bateman's Brewery, County trained for four days at United's York Street ground.

New signings

New signings at Boston United include striker Phil Brown from Kettering Town where he was Player of the Year last season. He previously helped Lincoln City to win the Conference in 1987/8. Another new face is Mark Smith, a utility player signed on a free transfer from Scunthorpe United after some 250 Football League appearances to his credit with Scunthorpe, Grimsby Town, Huddersfield Town and Rochdale.

York Street saved from disaster

Boston United's York Street stadium was saved from disaster early on the morning of 2nd August when over 100 firefighters, twelve fire engines and two firefighting towers were needed to stop a blaze at the B&Q Store next to the ground spreading to the stadium itself. The store was completely gutted by the fire which started at about 3.00am but, although half the playing surface was covered with debris from the fire, the main wing stand suffered only heat and smoke damage.

FA Cup Draw

Boston United have an excellent record in the FA Cup, being the second best team of all time in terms of percentage of games won. This season they have been allocated to Section 17 of the FA Cup, this has the following matches.

Preliminary Round - 26th August
(1) East Thurrock United 1-1 Tiptree United (Replay 29th August)
(2) Gorleston            1-5 Diss Town
(3) Halstead Town        1-1 Stamford AFC
    Stamford             1-2 Halstead (Second replay on 4th September)
(4) Wisbech Town         4-0 Tring Town
(5) Eynesbury Rovers     4-1 Witham Town

1st Qualifying Round - 9th September
(A) Sudbury Town          v  Winners match 1
(B) Boston United        1-2 Wisbech Town
(C) Eynesbury Rovers      v  Halstead
(D) Diss Town             v  Heybridge Swifts

2nd Qualifying Round - 23rd September
(X) Winners match A       v  Winners match D
(Y) Wisbech Town          v  Winners match C

3rd Qualifying Round - 7th October
    Winners match Y       v  Winners match X

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