The Football League

Boston United have played in ten different leagues since their formation in 1933 (Midland; Southern; Central Alliance; Boston & District; United Counties; West Midlands League; Northern Premier; Conference / National; Conference / National North; and the Football League), the pinnacle being the five seasons in the Football League from 2002 to 2007.

In those five seasons 115 Football League matches were played at York Street and forty-one different teams visited. Boston recorded 53 wins, 33 draws and 29 losses and scored 171 goals and conceded 127. A grand total of 309,345 people passed through the turnstiles. In every season the top gate was provided by the visit of Lincoln City, with the highest being the 6,445 that came for the Wednesday evening game in February 2005. The fortunes of their opponents since then have been as varied as the Pilgrims'. AFC Bournemouth who provided Boston's first opponents now play in the Premiership and Huddersfield Town, Hull City and Swansea City are in the Championship. At the other extreme Rushden & Diamonds, Bury, Hereford United and Chester City folded. Darlington, Kidderminster Harriers, York City and reformed Hereford and Chester sides play alongside Boston today in the National League North. There were six teams that Boston played in all their five seasons in the League. These were Bristol Rovers, Bury, Darlington, Lincoln City, Macclesfield Town and Rochdale. At York Street against each of these sides Boston had more wins than losses with their best record being against Darlington and Macclesfield with four wins and a draw each. Boston's biggest league win at York Street was a rather unexpected 6-0 against Shrewsbury the weekend before Christmas in 2002 after the Pilgrims had lost their previous eight games. The biggest defeat was 0-6 against Grimsby Town in February 2007.

The first season provided a couple of particularly memorable games. The opening match was at York Street against Bournemouth. After a summer full of clouds of doubt over their League future, the sun finally broke through as Boston United began their historic season's campaign with a home fixture against A.F.C. Bournemouth. And it wasn't just a metaphorical sun either. After two days of persistent rain, the sun came out to bathe York Street in glorious summer sunshine. Boston began the match missing three players; Rusk, Redfearn and Costello, and one manager; Steve Evans, through suspension. New signing Ben Morley came straight into the side along with other summer signings Ben Chapman and Matthew Hocking. The Pilgrims' strike force consisted of Clare and Elding.

Bournemouth took the lead on 9 minutes when Shaun Meyer headed home a simple goal from a corner. Boston held steady though and began to come more into the game. Paul Bastock was also having a superb match and made two excellent saves in one-on-one situations when Bournemouth broke. The second half was only a few minutes old when Anthony Elding was stretchered off with an ankle injury. There then came a five-minute spell with three goals. First Daryl Clare saw his shot deflected into the net by Bournemouth defender Neil Young during a goal mouth scramble following a Simon Weatherstone free kick. Boston then went in front when James Gould rammed the ball home under the keeper's dive after Cook had found him with a timely pass as the pair of them ran towards the Bournemouth defence. Boston's delight was short lived as Brian Stock cracked home an equaliser less than a minute after the restart. In the last half-hour, both sides had chances to take all three points. Boston had opened their League account with a respectable draw against one of the Division Three favourites. The gate was 4,184. It wouldn't be too long before they wiped out their four-point penalty and started rising up the table.

Boston United's first League goal

Their second Football League game at York Street was a fortnight later against Lincoln City. Boston had a comfortable 2-0 win that finally wiped out the four-point penalty imposed by the FA for financial irregularities after the much-publicised summer investigation. A goal on the half-hour from Simon Weatherstone set the Pilgrims on the way to the victory and Daryl Clare's strike a minute from time wrapped up the win.

The audacious signing of former England international Paul Gascoigne saw him make two Football League appearances at York Street in 2004 in matches against Chester City on August Bank Holiday Monday and against Cambridge United the following Saturday.

Paul Gascoigne

Their final Football League game at York Street was a damp squib against already relegated Torquay United. Boston were already guaranteed to join them as they were going to have to go into administration following failed ground relocation plans that left them with severe financial problems. The game ended level with Drewe Broughton cancelling out a Lee Mansell goal. The gate was 2,664.

Back to Boston United Home Page. Back to The Football Ground