GREG FEE b. 24/6/64 Player Manager
Greg Fee became player/manager of Boston United at the start of last season. He says that it is harder being a player/manager, rather than just being one of "the boys". As a player he would just have to prepare himself before a match, as a manager he now has to motivate and prepare all the other players for the forthcoming match as well as trying to bring in new players.
Greg says that he doesn't style himself on any particular manager, but
he does try and use the things that worked well for the managers he has
worked under in the past, who include Ron Atkinson and ex-Boston
United player/manager, now Technical Director for the FA, Howard
Wilkinson has said that in the near future, he would like most football clubs to run footballing academies for youngsters. Boston United are one of only a few clubs who run a scheme like this, called the "Football For Life" scheme. Greg agreed that this is a very good policy, and as long as "The Pilgrims" and local businesses support it, it will benefit both the football club and the town in the future.
Every Saturday Greg looks out for both Manchester United's and Sheffield Wednesday's results. He has supported Man. Utd since he was a youngster and "The Owls" because he played for them.
He names Ray Wilkins as a player he admired when he was younger, though these days he doesn't favour one particular player as he admires so many. (These include Ian Wright and Alan Shearer. He admires them because he believes that a striker's position is hard to play in and he also thinks they do extremely well.)
One of Greg's other favourite players is Tony Adams, because he plays in a similar position to himself. He also likes his style of play because he is strong, competitive and he dictates moves on the football field.
Away from football, Greg doesn't have much spare time, but if he did he would like to play golf. His favoured sporting event that he would like to go and see away from football is "The Open".
When I asked him to name an advantage and a disadvantage of being a footballer, he replied: "An advantage of being a footballer is that it is great sport to be involved in - there's a great team spirit and you make new friends, plus it's very sociable. A disadvantage is that sometimes you lose."
His best piece of advice for a youngster wanting to make a career in football is: "that you've got to be single minded, and work harder when things aren't going well for you".
Greg would like to be remembered favourably by "The Pilgrims" fans in that he has given his all in his attempts to benefit and progress the club.
Appointed player-manager in May 1996 after captaining "The Pilgrims" to the runners-up spot in 1995-96. Greg re-joined the Pilgrims for the second time at the start of 1993-94 season. He was originally signed from Kettering Town in 1986. He then moved onto Sheffield Wednesday for a fee of £20,000 during the 1987-88 season. In four seasons at Hillsborough, Greg made 26 first team appearances and had loan spells with Preston, Northampton and Orient before moving onto Mansfield Town in the 1990-91 season to make over sixty appearances in their colours. Greg has represented the Unibond League against the FA XI for the past four seasons.
CHRIS COOK b. 19/5/62 Assistant Player Manager
Born: Tidworth, Hampshire. (Dad was stationed at Bulford, Wiltshire)
Not many football players can say that they have stayed with one football team
for most of their career. One player within the Pilgrims' ranks certainly can.
Chris Cook joined Boston United as a 16 year old, now at 35 years of age he is
still playing for us, having put in seventeen years of service with only
one short two year break away from the club. During his footballing career
Chris has enjoyed quite a few high points. These include Bob Lee's last
minute goal against Altrincham in the home leg of the 1985 FA Trophy
semi-final that sent the Pilgrims to Wembley, then the Final itself in which
As a youngster Chris supported Liverpool (he still does today), he said that most of his friends supported Leeds United and as he didn't like Leeds he chose Liverpool. It's probably not surprising that his hero then was Kevin Keegan because he thought he worked hard and always gave 100% effort. Nowadays, although he hates saying it, he admires Manchester United for the way they play.
Since joining the Pilgrims as a striker, Chris has worked his way up the ladder to become Assistant Player-Manager. It is a job which he enjoys but he doesn't like to think of himself as a manager. He enjoys being the go-between between the players and Greg. When asked whether it is harder being a player-manager than just a player he said "Yes, because you tend to concentrate on everybody else's performance and it takes a lot away from your own. But I still think it is enjoyable to be playing".
Chris is also in charge of the "Football for Life" scheme. He thinks the youngsters think of him as a "nasty git", but he is only trying to make them better players.
Chris feels that in the last three years United have played some superb football at times, but he went on to say: "The fans expect it every minute of the game, but it isn't possible. Players make mistakes like everybody, they don't go out on the field to play badly. Encouragement goes a long way to lifting a player. Overall United are lucky to have such a loyal following as we do, but when people are paying an entrance fee they are entitled to have their say".
Looking back, Chris has had a "brilliant" seventeen years at the club and he would like to thank most of the supporters for their encouragement towards himself. He would also like his relationship with the club and the supporters to carry on for as long as possible.
Chris has given tremendous service to the club with over 500 first team appearances and in excess of 150 goals. Chris was granted a testimonial in the 1989-90 season. He eventually left York Street for spells with Altrincham, King's Lynn and Boston Town before "coming home" to jointly manage the newly established reserve team five years ago. However midway through the 1994-95 season, he made a fairytale return to first team action scoring the winner in a 1-0 away win at Matlock. Since then he has seen regular first team action. Appointed assistant manager at the start of last season.
PAUL BASTOCK b. 19/5/70 Goalkeeper|
Born: Leamington Spa
Paul is one of the most highly regarded goalkeepers in non-league football and is now in his sixth season with the club after joining United from Kettering Town in 92-3.
As he used to live a few miles down the road from Birmingham it is no
surprise that he supports Birmingham City. Paul believes that you should
support your local team. "Bazza" enjoyed his schooldays although he came away
with no qualifications, as he spent most of his final year training with
Paul is one of the few United players to have settled locally, working as a care assistant at Willoughby Grange Nursing Home and living in the town with wife Ann (a Bostonian), and children Laura and Callum. He said "becoming a father has changed me because I have grown up and steadied down and it has taught me a lot about myself."
Away from football his main priority is his family but he also likes to play golf and snooker. One of the sporting events outside football Paul would like to go and see is the Ryder Cup.
It is not surprising that when he was younger he admired Peter Shilton and Neville Southall and nowadays one of his favourite players is Chris Woods, all great international goalkeepers in their time.
During the earlier part of his career Paul spent six months playing football in Malaysia, which he enjoyed considerably. He said it was a fantastic experience, but the standard was only about Vauxhall Conference level.
Paul's advice to any youngsters who want to make a career in football is to get an education and prepare for the high points when they come because you can suffer a lot more low points.
After "Bazza" has finished playing football he would like to coach boys football teams. He says that an advantage of being a footballer is that you become a bit of a personality and you get a lot of free time, but a disadvantage is that you never get to celebrate at Christmas and the New Year.
Paul does have a superstition, which is that he does everything three times, for example if the ball is coming towards him in a game he will touch his gloves three times.
When asked what he thought about the Boston fans he said: "The majority are critical, but the youth element of the crowd are the supportive ones. They all pay their money so they are entitled to have their say." Paul also said he would like to hear the fans get behind the team more. He would like to be remembered as a steady goalkeeper who was always committed to the team.
DARREN HEYES b. 11/1/67 Goalkeeper
Former England Schoolboy and Youth International goalkeeper, who also represented Great Britain students. Was a professional with Nottingham Forest and Scunthorpe, where he made a handful of League appearances in 87/88. Since then he has pursued a non-league career, taking in stops at Shepshed Charterhouse, Matlock, Tamworth, Rocester, Halifax Town and V.S. Rugby, where he was player coach. Signed by the Pilgrims at the start of 1998 as cover for Paul Bastock.
ROSS HEWSON Defender|
Eighteen year old central defender was signed up in March 98 after he was released by Notts County.
JOBY GOWSHALL b. 7/8/75 Defender|
Born: Louth, Lincs
One of the local younger, players who has managed to secure a regular first
team place, and who has been quite a revelation over the first half of the
season, is 22 year old Joby Gowshall who joined us from Lincoln City.
Joby said that he left Lincoln because he didn't enjoy his time there, and he
wasn't guaranteed a place in the first team. He is enjoying his time with
United because he has become regular in the starting eleven, and with his
current rich vein of goalscoring that situation shouldn't alter in the
At school, he enjoyed sport and thinks that he did "alright" as he came away with five GCSE qualifications. Joby's favourite football team is Leeds United, who he has supported since he was a boy. His footballing hero is Diego Maradona.
Away from football he likes to socialise and eat out. After finishing playing football Joby would like to establish a career in the fire service. The sporting event Joby would like to go and see is the World Cup.
His advice to a youngster wanting to make a career in football is :- "Work hard, believe in yourself and enjoy it." Joby says that an advantage of playing football is winning games, but a disadvantage is that you can't celebrate Christmas or New Year as others who have less commitments are able to.
Talking of commitments, you'd be hard - pressed to find any player in any team, with a more dedicated attitude to playing attractive, successful football. And United fans can count their blessings that they are currently benefiting from this exciting player.
GLEN MADDISON Defender JOINED HOLBEACH TOWN ON-LOAN
Defensive lynch-pin of the reserves for the past five years. Last season he finally broke into the first team, making a handful of Unibond appearances. When called into the squad, Glen has always acquitted himself well and quickly earned the respect of the home supporters for his fearless displays.
ANDY MITCHELL b. 12/9/76 Defender TRANSFERRED TO BELPER TOWN
Young defender signed early in the season. Was a trainee with Aston Villa before joining Chesterfield for whom he made two League appearances. Started the season playing for Ilkeston Town in the Dr Martens League.
MARTIN FILSON b. 25/6/68 Defender
Born: St. Helens, Merseyside.
Martin Filson joined Boston United from Leek Town in November of last year,
and he says that "The best is yet to come" from his performances for the
Pilgrims, because up to now he has missed games through injury and suspension,
and hasn't managed to have a sustained run of appearances in the first team
where he can get match fit.|
Martin lives on the Wirral (Merseyside), so most of our away matches are "home" matches to him! He says that he doesn't mind the travelling to Boston on matchdays, despite it being a long journey every week. When he is at home he spends his spare time coaching football at Tranmere Rovers School of Excellence. He would also like to continue in coaching or even move into management when his footballing career is over. After he has finished playing for United, Martin would like to be remembered as someone who gave 110% for the club.
Coming from Merseyside you would probably think that Martin would either support Liverpool or Everton, but he doesn't, he supports Manchester United. He said:- "I lived between Manchester and Liverpool when I was younger, most of my family supported Liverpool and I wanted to be different so I decided to support Manchester United."
Martin admires his Dad because he says he is the "best". The footballers he admires are Bryan Robson and Maradona. He also has the greatest respect for all sports men and women, because of the goals they have achieved, and for the things they have obviously gone through to reach their targets.
Martin's advice to a youngster who wanted to make a career in football is :- "Make sure you get a good education, in case your dreams are shattered, and practise, practise, practise." For his own part Martin gained nine O-Level passes at school - he also enjoyed playing sport there.
He says an advantage of being a footballer is the healthy lifestyle which you lead, and he doesn't think that there are any disadvantages.
Martin does have a superstition which is when the team runs out before a match, he always comes out last.
In the match at Chorley Martin played in his "other" position as a central defender - and by all accounts produced a noteworthy performance. Maybe "the best" is on it's way!
Martin started out as a central defender with Tranmere Rovers, Wrexham and Rhyl before joining Stalybridge Celtic, where he gained HFS Loans League Premier Division honours. He moved on to Halifax Town in 1993 then to Dagenham and Redbridge just after the start on the 1994/5 season. A spell with Caernarfon Town followed before he joined Leek Town in August 1995. He played a big part in the club's 96/7 Unibond League Championship success, especially when called upon to play as an emergency striker towards the end of the campaign.
LEN CURTIS b. 2/1/73 Defender|
Born: Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
"Work very, very hard and be dedicated", is Len Curtis' advice to someone who wants to pursue a career in football. This attitude has clearly been seen in his own very impressive performances for Boston United since he joined us last November.
Len started his career with Leeds United (where he became friends with
ex-United Manager Mel Sterland), and after a spell at Rotherham, Len returned
to the Republic of Ireland to play for Premier Division side Shamrock Rovers.
He returned to England and moved to Sheffield, so he could see his girlfriend
more often. As he said "We were commuting between Sheffield and Dublin which
wasn't easy, I like it here (in England) and have become very settled". After
spending some time playing at Stalybridge, Len contacted Greg Fee who was now
the United Manager, who invited him to come and play for us. Since his arrival
at the club he has found he likes the club a great deal, and considers the
players are looked after as well as a Conference side.|
Len says that an advantage of being a footballer is that you get great enjoyment out of playing the game. But a disadvantage he says is :-"that playing at Non-League level it is hard to have a good job, because you often have to have afternoons off to be able to travel to midweek away fixtures".
Away from football he likes to play golf and he has a handicap of nine. As he likes to play golf Len would like to play in the U.S. Masters. He would also like to play Gaelic Football in an all Ireland Final in Dublin.
His favourite football team is Arsenal whom he first watched in 1979 when they reached the F.A. Cup Final, his Dad is also a supporter of "The Gunners". Len had a chance as a youngster to sign YTS forms with the Highbury outfit, as well as Queens Park Rangers. However his father told him not to sign, but to carry on with his education and take his A-Levels to give him something to fall back on if he didn't make it as a footballer. These were wise words from Mr. Curtis Senior as Len added three A-Level passes in English, French and Accountancy to his total of nine GCSE passes.
After he has finished playing football Len would like to remain associated with the game in an off the field capacity.
Len's New Year Resolution is to win the UniBond Premier League with "The Pilgrims" - a feat, which if achieved, would really endear him to the York Street faithful.
MARTIN HARDY b. 12/12/62 Defender|
Genuine clubmen are always well appreciated by Pilgrims' followers and Martin Hardy is one such person. Joining United in 1988 from Worksop Town for £10,000 - a huge amount in those days - he was one of a number of "big money" signings for United at that time.
However United's investment in Martin was money well spent as it
has resulted in many years sterling service to the club. He has
been present ever since, except for one season when released by
manager Peter Morris but quickly returned to the club, to the
supporters' delight, following Morris's departure.
Martin's philosophy towards football is always give 100% and be dedicated - which is probably why he is so well appreciated by the supporters. No doubt his commendable attitude comes from his boyhood following of Liverpool and their own legend, and his hero, Tommy Smith.
At school Martin enjoyed games and left with two O-Level qualifications in Geography and Technical Drawing.
Away from football Martin likes to play golf and to spend time with his son Luke.
Many people know Martin's nickname is "Tex" but where did it come from? After taking much time and trouble of finding out (I asked him!) here is his answer: "There was a group of us who used to go into a pub in Sheffield, but it closed down for refurbishment so we had to go somewhere else. We went into a posh winebar and I was wearing a checked shirt, jeans and riding boots everybody turned round and thought I looked like a cowboy and that's where the nickname came from."
Tex started his footballing career with Notts County where he spent three years. He then moved onto Worksop Town. He said that at the time he was disappointed that he didn't make it as a Professional footballer, but now looking back he doesn't have any regrets. He enjoys playing Non-League football and one of the benefits he has received playing at this level is that he has toured with Middlesex Wanderers and has represented the FA.
Martin's passion on the field is shown in his physical assault on whoever scores for United. This leads to Pilgrims' goal celebrations often being a manoeuvre in "Tex - avoidance!" Ask Leroy!
Martin is the club captain and was recently awarded a deserved testimonial.
CHRIS WITHE b. 25/9/62 Defender|
Signed from Shrewsbury Town where he made 67 Football League appearances. Hugely experienced player having appeared in the colours of Newcastle United, Bradford City, Notts County, Mansfield Town and Bury. Last season voted "Player of the Year" and "Players' Player of the Year".
CHRIS AIKEN Defender|
Young defender signed up late in the season from Lincoln City.
SIMON BUCKLEY b. 29/2/76 Midfield RELEASED BY CLUB
Joined Grimsby Town straight from school, making appearances for both the reserves and the juniors. Moved to West Bromwich Albion after his father Alan was appointed manager of the West Midlands club, becoming a regular in the reserve side at The Hawthorns. He was released at the end of the 1996-97 season.
STEVE APPLEBY b. 24/5/67 Midfield|
Local lad Steve joined his home town club in the 1994-95 season after previously playing in the Conference for Kettering Town and captaining UCL side Bourne Town. Voted "Player of the Year" in his first season. A big favourite with the fans who appreciate his non-stop efforts. Last season represented the FA XI against the Combined Services at Oxford.
DANNY MARSHALL b. 18/12/75 Midfield|
Danny Marshall is a name that has appeared under the Boston United banner for a few seasons now, but mainly in connection with the "second string".
It is only recently that this Newark based lad has become more
associated with "The Pilgrims" UniBond League squad - albeit mainly on
the bench - something which he feels very frustrating as he feels he
could do a very good job and desperately wants to play regularly for the
Danny came to York Street through a recommendation from Chesterfield when his contract there expired. A Midlands based person he enjoyed his time at school - a fact proven by the attainment of nine GCSEs and three A-Levels - but he says he "doesn't particularly like England" and wants to travel the world when his footballing career is over.
Coming from the East Midlands, it's not surprising his favourite club is Nottingham Forest and his childhood hero was Gary Lineker, whom he classes as a "legend".
Like most young men of his age Danny likes to "go clubbing" with his mates when he can, but there seems to be another level to his personality, which isn't altogether easily forthcoming, but is glimpsed when he answered my question of "What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given". His reply was "Don't trust anyone....."
ANDREW STANHOPE Midfield|
Local lad signed last season from King's Lynn. Joined Peterborough United straight from school, making two first team appearances. Moved onto King's Lynn FC before joining The Pilgrims in December 1996. He became a regular member of the first team with some impressive performances and some important goals.
STEVE CHAMBERS b. 20/7/68 Utility
Steve first signed for the Pilgrims in the 1992-93 season from Mansfield Town where he made over sixty appearances. Later had a loan spell at Gateshead. Started his career with Sheffield Wednesday. Some bad injuries in recent years have seen him side-lined for long spells.
MARK MELSON Utility|
Another product of the reserve side who has always done well in the first team colours. Outstanding control and ball skills and possesses an explosive long range shot.
RICHARD MASON b. 5/6/77 Utility|
Richard Mason re-joined Boston United from Hednesford Town during the close season.
Richard left school with five GCSEs at A to C grades and gained a BTEC National Diploma in Business Management whilst at Sheffield Wednesday. He also supports "The Owls" because they are his local team.
When asked how he spent his spare time away from football he said he
liked to socialise with his friends, listen to Dance and R+B music and
also spend time with his girlfriend.
Throughout his childhood he always had ambitions to be a footballer and if he wasn't paid to play football now he still would play. His hero when he was younger was Stuart Pearce.
The best piece of advice he has been given was to keep his feet on the ground. Richard's own piece of advice to a youngster who wanted to make a career in football or sport in general is to Listen, Learn and Practice.
When he has finished playing football Richard would like to go into management or coaching or management of some capacity.
When asked the question "What would your reaction be to a spectator who was continually picking on you because you were having a particularly bad day on the field?", He replied "Well there's no point in taking it personally so I would blow them a kiss!".
Last season he also represented the FA XI against the NPL and the Combined Services.
STEVE CHARLES b. 10/5/60 Utility|
Steve Charles started at Boston United by scoring three goals in as many games, continuing his rich vein of goalscoring which made him leading scorer for Stalybridge Celtic last season. It also vindicated Greg Fee's signing of this vastly experienced midfielder, with whom he and Chris Withe were team-mates at Mansfield Town.
Steve left school, which he enjoyed, with nine O-Levels and four A-Levels. He
has also gained a Degree in Maths, a Diploma in Marketing and a Masters
Degree in Sports Science.
He started his career with Sheffield United, because of this he has supported them ever since. It is not surprising then that one of his favourite players of all time is Tony Currie, whom he admires because of the skill he possessed when playing. Steve's other favourite player is Johnny Giles formerly of Leeds United.
Away from football Steve enjoys playing any racket sport, swimming, and spending time with his family. Steve would like to keep playing football for as long as he can, and he has already surpassed the length of career most players achieve.
Having played in the GM Vauxhall Conference last season, I asked Steve what he thought the difference was in the way the game is played between the Conference and the UniBond Leagues. He said that players had more time with the ball, whereas in the UniBond League players are on to you a lot quicker, and the football played seems more end to end as well.
Steve has been reasonably satisfied with his performances for "The Pilgrims", but it took a couple of games for him to settle as he was unfamiliar with the system that was being played. He also thought he was lacking in match fitness, as he had not played as often as he would have wished prior to coming to York Street.
One wonders what kind of performances we're going to witness when he's back up to top form.......
LEIGH TAYLOR b. 30/4/81 Utility|
Towards the end of last season, Boston United were chosen as one of a select band of clubs in the country to pioneer the unique "Football for Life" scheme. The scheme is run under the guidance of Bedford College and gives young footballers the chance to play football with a semi-professional club and also study for a Diploma in Sports Science. Boston United attracted youngsters from as far away as London, Ipswich, Barnsley and Melton Mowbray, as well as quite a number of local lads. Most have already made an appearance for the reserve team and one player who has made his first team debut is sixteen year old Leigh Taylor.
Leigh is a local lad who has rapidly graduated from Nortoft Boys and Wyberton
Colts via the "Football for Life" scheme into United's reserve team side and
finally made it into the first team in January 98, aged just sixteen. He has
also represented the Lincs Under 15 team.
He said that he was astounded when he found out he would be making his full first team debut in the match against Guiseley. But he did say that he was quite satisfied with his performance for the Pilgrims and that his Mum and Dad thought he played really well. Leigh would love to become a first team regular and this aspiration could well be realised if his impressive debut is followed by equally impressive repeat performances.
When I asked Leigh how he got on with the first team players he said: "They made me very welcome, and I got on really well with them." Leigh's favourite football team is Liverpool, explaining he supports them because they play exciting football. It is probably no surprise then that his favourite footballer is Paul Ince because "he works very hard at his game."
SIMON ARMSTRONG b. 23/11/78 Forward RETURNED TO PORT VALE|
Youngster who returned to the club on loan after signing for First Division Port Vale at the end of 96/7. He has yet to make his First Division debut but has been a regular in Port Vale reserves. He first joined the Pilgrims in July 96 from Lincolnshire League side Skegness Town after impressing in pre-season trials. He was a member of the England Schoolboy Under 18 squad and had trials with Manchester United, Middlesbrough and Derby County last season.
PAUL CAVELL b. 13/5/63 Forward
Paul Cavell re-joined Boston United during pre-season of this year. At school Paul enjoyed physical education, he left with four GCEs. Paul now works as a warehouse operative which involves checking incoming goods for Wilkinsons in Worksop.
Paul doesn't have a favourite football team instead he likes watching
football in general. When he was younger though he did have a
footballing hero who was Ronnie Reid when he played for Worksop. Paul
said "when I was younger I used to stand on "The Kop" at Worksop and
cheer him on."
Outside of football in his spare time Paul likes to spend time with his children.
Asked what he wanted to be when he was younger Paul said he always wanted to be a professional footballer and he was disappointed that he didn't make it. If he had had the chance to go to a League club at 23/24 years old he feels he would have made it, because he would have been more mature at that age than at 18 years old.
Paul is based in the North but played quite a bit of his football in the South. I asked him whether or not the travelling bothered him. He said "No, the travelling didn't bother me at the time, but now looking back I missed travelling with other players because there is no banter when you are travelling by yourself."
Before rejoining us Paul could have joined Kettering Town but the situation was that he would have had to go on trial with "The Poppies". Kettering had a lot of pre-season games and training and Paul asked himself would he be committed enough? By now Greg Fee had made an enquiry about him joining Boston United. As soon as Paul found out about this there was no other choice for him, he knew he wanted to join us because he had been here before and knew what it was like. He also knew that the fans gave 100% support.
LEROY CHAMBERS b. 25/10/72 Forward LEFT TO JOIN MACCLESFIELD TOWN
Signed at the start of last season from Chester City. Soon settled in to become a regular goalscorer, netting twenty three goals in fifty four appearances. Previously with Sheffield Wednesday.
PAUL WATTS b. 11/4/78 Forward|
During the past couple of years Skegness Grammar School has been the source of a number of possible stars of the future. John Oster, who joined Grimsby Town, moved to FA Carling Premiership side Everton in the summer - he has already played for them a number of times this season. Simon Armstrong, who was with the Pilgrims last season, is now with Nationwide Division One side Port Vale awaiting his first team call-up. The third, Paul Watts is still with Boston United .... could he go on to greater things?.
Paul enjoyed his schooldays and left with six GCSEs and a GNVQ
Advanced qualification, which is the equivalent to two A-Levels.
He is now studying Sports Science and Coaching at Lincoln College.
Last season Paul was picked to represent Lincolnshire at the English Schools' Footballing Festival at Lowestoft. Whilst he was there he impressed the England U-18 Schoolboys' coach and was picked to play for them, only to find out that he was a few days too old to represent them.
Away from Football and studying at College, in his spare time Paul likes to socialise with his friends.
When I asked him what advice he would give to a youngster who was thinking of making a career out of football / sport he replied: "You've got to stick at it, work hard and always listen to advice". He says that the transition from playing in the Reserve team to playing in the First team was hard because the UniBond League is a lot quicker and more physical than the Lincolnshire League. But he thinks that the appearances that he has made for the First team have been steady and competent.
Paul's favourite football team is Liverpool - he was brought up on a diet of the Anfield outfit as his father is an avid fan of "The Reds". Paul's hero was Ian Rush and he would like nothing more than to be able to emulate the goal-scoring feats of this lethal striker, if given a sustained run of first team appearances for "The Pilgrims". For this young, hard-working forward the future looks bright, the future is amber...!
ANDY MASON b. 22/11/74 Forward RETURNED TO MACCLESFIELD TOWN|
Signed on loan from Macclesfield Town. Previously with Bolton Wanderers, Hull City and Chesterfield. Scored in his first game for the Pilgrims.
SIMON BAILEY Forward
Youngster whose goal scoring exploits in the reserves won him a first team place towards the end of the season.
MARK LOVELACE Forward LEFT TO JOIN MIRRLEES BLACKSTONE
Another youngster who has graduated through the reserve side. After having made the odd appearance as substitute last season, the management are looking for him to make a big impact this season.
JOE VAUGHAN Forward
Another product of The Pilgrims' reserve side. Made a few Unibond appearances as substitute towards the end of last season. He now works on the Boston United Youth Development Scheme as well as appearing in a rock band.
MARK SHACKLETON b. 3/7/64 Reserve team manager
Born: Nantwich, Cheshire
Now lives: Louth
Children: 1 Son - Karl
Occupation: Transport Manager for Humberside Transport
Previous clubs: Holbeach United, Wisbech Town, Boston FC, Watford, Derby County, Peterborough United.
Mark Shackleton joined Boston United as Reserve Team Manager during pre-season of this year after managing Louth Old Boys in the Lincolnshire League.
Mark was born in Nantwich but only spent a little time there, he then moved to Newport, Shropshire before settling in Holbeach. He enjoyed his school days at the George Farmer School in Holbeach where he gained 5 O-Levels. Whilst he was at school he represented the County at the English Schools Athletic Championships where he ran in the Hurdles competition. He made the final but finished about sixth.
He says he concentrated mostly on his sport rather than the academic side because he always wanted to be a footballer and nobody tried to divert him from his chosen career.
Mark was signed as a schoolboy at Watford by Graham Taylor in 1978 but they didn't take him on from school, so he signed for Derby County where he was taken on as an apprentice. His best time was spent at Derby where all the lads knew each other so there was a close bond between them.
The best piece of advice that he was given was to always give 110% effort and it annoys him when people never try. He prefers it when somebody says I tried and I gave it all I could but I wasn't good enough.
His hero was from the team he supports, which was Stuart Pearson a centre forward with Manchester United.
Mark can no longer play football due to bad knee injuries. He has had five knee operations. He has snapped the medial ligament, had two cartilage operations, an operation on the cruciate ligament and has also broken his leg. He misses playing because there is no replacement for being on the field. When asked what is so good about life he said: "I enjoy everything in life because you never know when it may be your last day".
He became involved with Boston United as he has always known Chris Cook and Dick Creasey and heard that United were looking for a manager of the Reserve team. He was leaving Louth Old Boys at the end of the season anyway as they were disbanding. United were also launching the "Football For Life" scheme and more youngsters were going to be involved. United were aware of his background and so he became Reserve team manager. He thinks the "Football For Life" scheme is very important because it will attract good young players and develop their footballing skills and knowledge over a period of time, which is better than players coming for trials where a quick decision has to be made. Mark also said when asked about the youngsters getting into the first team "It won't happen overnight. The "Football For Life" scheme will probably take two or three years to benefit the club".
His ambitions are to be happy and to progress with Boston United Football Club, also he would like to get as many Reserve team members through to play in the first team as possible.
Player interviews by: Becky Thompson.
Photo Credits: Paul Cavell and Leroy Chambers: © Colin Woodcock, 1997. Chris Aiken, Steve Appleby, Simon Armstrong, Paul Bastock, Simon Bailey, Steve Charles, Chris Cook, Len Curtis, Greg Fee, Martin Filson, Joby Gowshall, Martin Hardy, Ross Hewson, Danny Marshall, Andy Mason, Richard Mason, Mark Melson, Andrew Stanhope, Leigh Taylor, Paul Watts and Chris Withe: © Ken Fox, 1997.