Getting Close to Your Idol

baldybastockMy brother and I have been going to Boston United for over 20 years now. Sad-acts I hear you say, but we never bought into the support a team 100+ miles away, who you never watch and know sod-all about. So many moons ago we travelled away, a thing we manage to do less and less of nowadays as life gets in the way. 



It was the 1998/9 season. The setting was the less than impressive Northolme, Gainsborough Trinity’s tinpot ground. A place where if you aren’t careful in the toilets, you could whizz all over your shoes. Main reason being that they had no electricity in their bogs.  We never really considered Trinity a derby, even though they are from Lincolnshire. They are well down the list, but as always took a good away following.

We had a good side back then and we immediately bossed the game against Boro and eventually turned out 4-1 winners. The one goal that stood out was from our midfielder Dave Venables who hit a long range cross/shot from a ridiculous distance. We were in high spirits after tanking a neighbour and knowing we were going to win, the message went out that we were on the pitch at the final whistle.

The final whistle came and the mass surge forward happened as the players came over to celebrate with us. I managed to get my chubby figure over the ageing hoardings as did my 11 year old brother. The pitch stands out in my memory. With my feet landing on the pitch I remember the goal area being reminiscent of skeggy beach. Wet mud loaded with crap sand. How we managed to play such awful football at times all started to fall into place.

We ran further onto the pitch as the players neared, and who was approaching my brother? None other than Boston legend, 600+ BUFC game shot-stopper Paul Bastock. He was my brother’s hero. This was clearly his moment. As the mud-covered keeper approached, my brother yelled ‘BAZZA!’, arms outstretched, cheesy grin on face. Bazza opened his arms and ran over…..and straight past, to a man he knew behind. My brother was left open armed and in the middle of the area like a right tool. He was destroyed. Way to crush a young supporters dream Bazza.

But the story does not end there. The incident clearly stayed with my brother and possibly mentally scarred him from then on. Fast forward to the 2004/5 season. We’ve reached the heights of league 2 and boast Jason ‘pineapple’ Lee up front along with a few cameos from Paul ‘alcoholic’ Gascoigne.

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Anyway we signed a striker on loan from QPR for a month. A Frenchman called Eric Sabin. Someone to bring a bit of ooh la la to our front line. I mean you don’t play for the powerhouses of Nimes and Ajaccio in France unless you’re a class act right?

2 games in good old Eric must have found that Boston and Lincolnshire weren’t to his liking and he signed for Northampton on loan instead. A team in our league. But us Boston fans don’t forget an insult like that.

A few months down the line and who turns up at York Street playing for the cobblers against us? Good old Eric. It was my brother’s time to shine. Possibly remembering the time he had been embarrassed by a footballer before and possibly the few pints we had sunk before the game he quick-stepped it down the terrace towards where we stood for the game. Without uttering a word he ran off to where the Northampton players were warming up.

‘Eric! Eric!’ he yelled, big smile beaming on his face. Sabin saw this young fan beckoning him over and duly smiled back and turned to walk over… ‘Fuck off!’ my brother added flicking the V’s as soon as their eyes locked together. Maybe you had to be there, but we were in stitches. Seeing Sabin’s despondent little face as he turned away was much better than the 1-0 loss that followed.

By Tom Deamer