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A Boston Tea Party

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 04/02/2007

LAST Saturday could be seen as a good day. We didn’t play. Pessimism has had to take on a new slant when watching our ailing Mariners.

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Even the momentous achievement of scoring at Torquay after 7 games was futile as we were already 4-0 down.

Anthropologists gather to observe the practical application of self-destructive nihilism as the Town eleven take to the field of defeat. Yet we know different somehow, and so we turn up thinking that we’re going to get something out of the game today. Don’t we? Terminal depression, anyone? It’s like going to a funeral every week. No, AB will save us. Won’t he? Some are beginning to doubt the man. The squad squabbles, the supporters suffer. I am taking my children Merlin and Revis to Boston today for another dose of grim reality. L’Être et le Néant. Being and Nothingness. And the prospect of a trip to Stevenage next year. Same thing, really.

My only previous experience of seeing Town v Boston was in a Lincolnshire cup final at BP some thirty odd years ago. My brother Michael took me. We lost 0-1. The Evening Telegraph said that a spectator died of a heart attack. It can’t have been of excitement. No chance of that now, either. Boston United were a non league side then. Our turn next year?

A work colleague had warned me about the away end at Boston. "It’s like the north face of the Eiger". Like our relegation struggle. Here we were, ready to meet with my friend Andy and his partner Ruth and our fellow Mariners, all ready to endure untold suffering in unitary fashion. But the story will be told. So here goes:

We set off in the car. The sun was serene as we drove through the flatlands of South Lincolnshire, oblivious of any impending events. Flags fluttered as we bypassed Spalding. Merlin queried why they were there. Having seen a Dutch flag and explained the area’s links with Holland, tulips and the flower-producing industry. "So why is there a Japanese flag?" he asked. Stumped again. Let’s hope we don’t get stumped in Boston, I pondered, as its famous landmark came into view. There was no evidence of footballing frenzy as we wandered round the sleepy streets of this pleasant town. It was quite an ordinary day, really.

We made our way to the ground and bumped into Swanny. He uttered an oath. We hadn’t even started yet. Swanny suggested that we went into the social club for a pint. I made the comment that I suspected this was going to be the best bit of the day.

"Are you ready for some entertainment?" I asked Revis, not without irony. "Yes. Shame we’re not going to get any", she replied.

Any pessimism was drowned by the vocal enthusiasm of the Town hordes who were packing the mountainous Town end of the ground. It was a Lincolnshire derby after all, and so Lincolnshire-themed chants were the order of the day. Are they really all related to each other in Boston? There were hardly any of them there to ask.

The Town line-up made interesting reading. The plan appeared to be to pack the midfield with Boshell, Hunt and Bolland, Bore and Toner on the outside and our one man havoc machine Paterson up front. The back four was for once not makeshift: Matt Bloomer, Fenton, Whittle and Toner. And Barnes in goal. The shape was evident but the proof could only be in the pudding, which in recent times had given us nothing but food poisoning. The game began.

The report continues in Part 2

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