When Boston United stalwart Don Hazledine was awarded a testimonial in 1959 it fell to Chairman Mr Malkinson and former manager Ray Middleton to put together an "All Star XI" to provide Boston's opposition for the match - and what a team they produced. The two big names in the side were Brian Clough and Len Shackleton. Centre-forward Brian Clough had just finished the season as top scorer in the Football League for the second time in succession, having scored 42 times for Second Division Middlesbrough to add to the 40 he got in 1957/8. For Len Shackleton, dubbed the "Clown Prince of Soccer", it would be his last game. Approaching the age of 37, the England international and star of Newcastle United and Sunderland had decided to retire due to an old ankle injury. The forward line was completed with a couple more internationals - Arthur Fitzsimons who had just joined Lincoln City after a long and successful career with Middlesbrough and Ireland, and Billy Elliott from Sunderland at outside left. Ray Middleton, who was now manager with Hartlepools, played in goal and most of the remaining players were regulars in his Fourth Division side. Captaining the All Star XI was Welsh international Billy Harris. There were also a couple of surprise names in the Boston line-up. Johnny Birkbeck, who had starred with Don in the great FA Cup games against Derby County and Tottenham Hotspur, returned to the side, as did striker Andy Graver. Graver had switched to Lincoln City earlier in the season but was able to rejoin the Boston side for this testimonial game and team up again with his strike partner Johnny Garvie. Together they were known as the "G-Men" and they formed a lethal goalscoring partnership. Don Hazledine however was frustratingly to miss out on the opportunity of playing against the star studded line-up in his own testimonial. He had been the victim of a very bad tackle back in February that had damaged his ligaments and had kept him out of the Boston side since then.
|Don had first shown his footballing talent as a schoolboy, representing Nottingham boys clubs on numerous occasions. On leaving school he played for Arnold Rovers as an amateur before being taken onto the books of Nottingham Forest along with his brother Geoff. His first club as a professional was Derby County and he made his debut for them in a First Division match against Bolton. After making 26 First Division appearances for Derby he was transferred to Northampton Town for a large fee. However Don found it hard to settle at Northampton and when Ray Middleton gave him the opportunity to join many of his former Derby colleagues including his brother Geoff at Boston he gladly did so.||
The star on the night was undoubtedly Len Shackleton. Although past his prime, he was still able to treat the large crowd to many of the tricks that had made his reputation as one of football's great entertainers. Shackleton seemed to play half of his football with his heel and gave the Boston half-backs a worrying time. Very little however was seen of Brian Clough. The spectators waited for him to snap into action, but the prolific goalscorer was having an off day. By half-time Boston had built-up a 3-0 lead through GARVIE, GRAVER and Eric LISTER - who scored following a dazzling solo run. In the second half, goals by Arthur HUKIN, GARVIE and a penalty from LISTER extended the lead to 6-0. The All Star XI now got down to work. ELLIOT fired in a shot on the turn that gave Boston keeper Les Williams no chance. SHACKLETON scored from the penalty spot, then FITZSIMONS added two quick goals to make the final score 6-4 to Boston. A ball competition was held before the match with the prize being the matchball signed by all the players present. It was won by Mr J.R. Lawson of Gell's Farm Algarkirk.
Boston team: 1. Les Williams, 2. George Stafford, 3. Geoff Snade, 4. Alan Ashberry, 5. Johnny Birkbeck, 6. Frank Sims, 7. Andy Graver, 8. Johnny Garvie, 9. Arthur Hukin, 10. Ken Lewis, 11. Eric Lister.
All Star XI: 1. Ray Middleton, 2. Billy Anderson, 3. Ken Waugh, 4. Billy Harris, 5. Watty Moore, 6. Ken Johnson, 7. Joe Scott, 8. Len Shackleton, 9. Brian Clough, 10. Arthur Fitzsimons, 11. Billy Elliott.
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