Hereford take on Boston United in the Bulls’ final Vanarama National League North encounter of the 2018/19 season at Edgar Street on Saturday.
It’s been a roller-coaster campaign for Hereford supporters to say the least, and for many the curtain coming down cannot come soon enough. Simon Wright looks ahead to the Boston game.
Boston’s Board have the builders in. Three quarters of the Board was or still are senior people in construction companies. Guaranteed fun all afternoon when they play AFC Telford with both boards whipping their shirts off and arguing who has the best wolf whistle. The Chairman of Boston United David Newton owns Chestnut Homes who are building the £100 million Quadrant development, on the edge of town, with hundreds of new houses and the clubs’ new stadium. Newton and his Vice Chairman have run the club since 2007.
United recently declared next season at York Road will be their last, with work starting within weeks on the new ground. Local cynics are already muttering “I’ve heard all this before.. every other year since 2013.” The Pilgrims have had ample foreplay about when they would finally move. Chairman David Newton will only say “don’t look back” when questioned about delays. It’s relevant because United are now having to pay rent on York Road, a ground they used to own, which negatively impacts on their playing budget.
Our final League fixture is between two sides with nothing to play for. There will be players on both teams playing their final game. Others will have played with knocks for several weeks and really don’t want to aggravate their injuries before they go on holiday. That is genuine football reality for any mid-table club, more than a feeling. I don’t expect an exciting, fast football match but I certainly won’t blame management for that. It is what it is .. but I do see the 90 minutes as an opportunity to give game time to a couple of our Academy players. Great for the individuals but important to the whole Academy to demonstrate club management are watching and taking notice of progress.
Our visitors face a 345-mile round trip, which is no Tea Party, and I presume they have a pub booked on the way home for the traditional end-of-season celebration session. So, their minds might be elsewhere. It’s a professional football truism that a lot of injuries mysteriously clear up before the last away game of the season.
To give supporters some peace of mind, the Pilgrims haven’t made much progress despite picking up 28 points on their travels. Eight away wins in total including smokin’ wins at Stockport and Altrincham. Indeed, the Pilgrims are not making much progress in general in what is their eighth season at this level. They were relegated from the Football League way back in 2007, and subsequently relegated again for financial mismanagement. In recent years, they regularly compete in the Play-Offs and equally regularly don’t win them. This season, they haven’t even got close to the Top 7. However, they did beat the Bulls 3-1 earlier in the season. Hereford were simply outmuscled that day.
Top scorer is wide man Nicky Walker with 11 goals. He is a long-term Bostonian joining in 2015. He’s made 39 appearances in 18-19 though only 12 were for 90 minutes.
Main striker Gavin Allott has 10 goals. Allott used to be a company as in Gavin Allott Ltd for his trade as a tech consultant. That’s a man I’ll never be. He moved from Frickley where he scored at a similar rate to Johnny Mills. Walker and Allott missed last Saturday’s game due to injury.
Craig Elliott was appointed manager of Boston United in late 2017. Already has five promotions to his name. Only 8 players stayed from last season and, carrying on with the turnover theme, they have used 47 different players this term. 40ish is normal for mid-table National League North clubs. United are building continuity with 6 of the squad being virtually ever present.
Do look out for well-built visiting supporters lumbering around our ground. 34% of the population of Boston are obese, the highest rate of any town in the UK.
And finally, I’ve inserted six of the biggest hits by the American rock band Boston into this text. See how many you can spot.
Image courtesy of Graham Goodwin, Bulls News.