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05.12.1998: Boston United 4-0 Burton Albion

December 5, 2012

The big terrace.

The big terrace.

“Teresa’s on the phone, they’ve got a couple of spare tickets for Leeds and asked if the kids want tae go?”, Mum asked Dad.

“Upto them?”, Dad replied.

Mine and my brother Andy’s response was instant; “No.”

We had bigger fish to fry.

Boston United away, on the train with the old-man.

Nigel Clough had become Player-manager less than 2 months earlier, and was still trying to solve the erratic form that was seeing us head towards the relegation places.

On arrival at Boston’s York Street ground, we got confirmation from physio Matt Brown that the game was definitely still ON (a snow-covered Sleaford had got us worrying), before he told us “bloody freezing in there”, nodding towards the away changing rooms, “haven’t turned the heating on for us.”

The buggars.

One place where the heating had been switched on was the Bar, Dad supping a couple of lagers, me and Andy feasting on the staple Social-club-child diet of Coke and Walkers crisps.

The usual away-day excitement was mounting as the Albion Supporters club Coach pulled in, filling the bar with more familiar faces that had travelled from East Staffordshire.

Kick-off was looming, so into the ground we went.

Andy and me stared across at the far end terrace in amazement, the sheer size of it blowing us away… to many football fans who remember standing on the Kop or Holte End, it probably wasn’t anything to write home about! But we supported the Albion, and chances to see a big steep terrace like this didn’t come around often, I mean, have you ever been to Gresley?!!

Whilst we stood there in awe of this lump of concrete, a game of football had kicked off. And 47 seconds into this game of football, Boston United scored a goal. And the problem with Boston United scoring a goal, was that we had a problem scoring goal’s ourselves.

It was going to be a long afternoon.

As the first half continued, mumbling and grumbling grew in the Albion contingent huddled together. This discontent spread onto the pitch, and I vividly recall Andy (he’s got no hair but we don’t care) Garner and Tony Marsden having an angry exchange of words together before a Brewers corner.

Which typically didn’t even make the Boston penalty area.

The ref put us out of our misery and blew for half-time, and in typical Non-league Football end-changing fashion, we changed ends, finally making our way onto the big terrace.

Up here we had an excellent view of the action; yes we got to see all 3 of Boston’s second half goals in great detail.

The big terrace had become a colder, lonelier place with each Boston goal, the Albion fans stood in a cold miserable silence.

In fact the 1 chant the Albion fans could muster up in the 2nd half was directed at my younger bro Andy.

The ball had ended up on the terrace (like I said, we struggled with scoring goals) so our Andy rushed down to retrieve it. With a stern left boot, he drop kicked the ball over the fencing and back onto the pitch, an impressive launch for a 9 year old which sparked off the chant “Sign him up sign him up sign him up…..”

Cloughie resisted the temptation.

The best part of the game – the full-time whistle was blown, and back of to the bar we went. The players seemed to be coming into the bar at couple-minute intervals, “Cloughie’s probably rollicking them 1-by-1”, Dad observed.

We found a chippy on the way back to the station, and it’s amazing how comforting a portion of hot chips could be after an away-day thrashing when I was a youngster; nowadays I soften the blow with a Carling or 6. Fed and watered, we boarded the train back to the Brewing Capital.

We get home and see the football scores.

Leeds 4-0 West Ham; we missed seeing a top Premier League team turning on the style…

But there wouldn’t have been a big covered terrace in sight.

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From → The Albion.

2 Comments
  1. It always amused me down at Tamworth how we used to change ends at half time. I was at “The Holte’s last stand” before it went all-seater – wipes a tear away from his eye.

  2. Dan permalink

    Fantastic! I was there that day and it has really bought some memories flooding back. Aside from the game, I met a lad there that day on his first away day who has gone on to become one of my best mates. Was it really 14-odd years ago? Time flies, the more so the older you get. I remember there was a chippy on the road behind the near end that did cracking fish ‘n’ chips……….with batter bits! Strange how it’s reading something can bring out the most obscure of recollections. I’m now a freelance writer, and the litmus test is whether you enjoy writing the article – when someone enjoys reading it, it really is the cherry on the icing on the cake. Keep it up.

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