Central Alliance Champions

There have been many memorable matches at York Street / Shodfriars Lane over the years. In the FA Cup the prize has been the glory of beating illustrious opponents or in the FA Trophy going on to a final at Wembley. There have also been many occasions where silverware has been directly at stake including the Lincs Senior Cup; a variety of league cup finals; the "Champion of Champions" Cup; the Mather Cup; the Boston Hospital Cup; or even the Yeovil Town Supporters' Club Cup. The first league cup final contested by Boston United at their own ground came in 1962.

It took Boston United almost thirty years before they won their first league title. Prior to winning the Central Alliance League in 1961-62 the best they had done was to be runners-up in the Midland League behind Peterborough United in 1955-56. Lack of success in the Midland League was probably an issue in the decision to switch to the Southern League in 1958. After finishing third in their first season, they finished ninth in 59-60 and rock bottom in 60-61. Rather than face relegation Boston’s directors decided to move the club into the Central Alliance to reduce their travelling, albeit with the prospect of reduced attendances. The Central Alliance contained of a variety of teams from the East Midlands. These included Eastwood Town, works side Ransome & Marles, Gresley Rovers and Nottingham Forest ‘A’ team as well as smaller sides such as Arnold St. Mary and Anstey Nomads. With only seventeen sides in the Central Alliance Boston needed some extra games to fill out the season so they also signed up to the Lincolnshire Premier League which consisted of Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Lincoln City reserves along with Gainsborough Trinity and Spalding United.

The move into the Central Alliance ushered in a completely new team under new manager Paul Todd who had previously been in charge at King’s Lynn. Goalkeeper Jimmy McDowell arrived from Notts County after being placed on their “free list”. Veteran winger Eric Lister returned to the club after a season away with Nuneaton. Twenty-three year old full back Maurice White joined from Doncaster Rovers. Midfielder Frank Lockey had experience with Liverpool and Swindon. Centre-half Dennis Gratton was signed from Lincoln City. Teenager Brian Topley – an inside forward – was signed from Sunderland after turning out regularly for their reserve side in the North Regional League. Local youngster Mick Lord was given a chance in defence by Todd and soon established himself in the side – attracting the attention of scouts from Sheffield United and Liverpool. Striker Colin Smith who had previously been top scorer with Hull City was signed from Rotherham United.

Boston began the season with a 2-2 draw at home to Arnold St Mary but it was to be a rare point dropped as they went on to win their next fifteen league games. This included an entertaining 7-3 home win against nearest challengers Ransome & Marles in front of 2427 spectators. Colin Smith got a hat-trick, Brian Flack a brace, with Eric Lister and Brian Topley completing the scoring.

The fixture congestion caused by playing in two leagues came to a head on Easter Monday when Boston had to send a scratch team to Kimberley Town in the Central Alliance as they had to put out the first team against Grimsby Town Reserves in the Lincolnshire Premier League whilst their own Reserve side was playing against Spalding United Reserves. The scratch team lost 3-0 which meant that Boston needed two points from their last three games to be assured of their first championship. They took their chance in their final home game of the season against South Normanton. It wasn’t easy though, defensive blunders meant that they twice had to come from behind to eventually record a 5-4 win.

After having won the league, Boston now had a chance of picking up the Central Alliance League Cup. The final was over home and away legs against Kimberley Town. The first leg was at Kimberley and it ended in a 2-2 draw with Colin Smith getting both the Boston goals. Therefore the winner of the game at Boston would be the winner of the cup. The return match took place two days later on Friday 4th May. The fixture congestion meant it was Boston's 4th match in five days and they still had to play their final Central Alliance League game on Saturday the 5th! Boston just edged it, winning 3-2 with goals from Colin Smith(2) and Jimmy Longworth in front of a crowd of 1,323. Mick Lord played in the final and he later recalled that he had been told that if Boston won the toss they would always kick towards the York Street end in the second half because the ashes of many faithful supporters have been scattered in the goal at that end and Boston would always score.

The Boston team that won the Central Alliance Cup Final in 1962

The Boston team that won the Central Alliance Cup Final in 1962

BACK ROW: Mick Lord, Alan Whitworth, Mick Stone, Maurice White, Brian Flack, Robinson FRONT ROW: Jimmy Longworth, Brian Topley, Colin Smith, Frank Lockey, Eric Lister.

Colin Smith finished the season as top scorer with 58 goals - 44 of them scored in home games which is a club record for goals scored at York Street by a player in one season. The attendances kept up fairly well, averaging 1608, only two hundred down from the previous season in the Southern League. The club switched back to the Midland League for the following season.

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