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It would be fair to say the Noughties – the name for this last decade for which there appears to be no better moniker – have not exactly been kind to the Pilgrims. Of course, we can say that now with all the authority bestowed upon us by the benefit of hindsight.
It is very easy to forget that for a good chunk of the decade we were all giddily enjoying the Evans circus sham in blissful and, in hindsight, foolish ignorance of what was actually going on.
|Indeed, the decade started out with Boston United's profile at an all-time high. Unfortunately, it draws to a close with the club hidden away down the pyramid like football's dirty secret.
It really has been utterly mental: a hideously thrilling rollercoaster straight from some hellish theme park.
Much has changed since we all arrived, absolutely steaming drunk, into the new millennium all those years ago. We’ve played in five different leagues, changed manager six times and seen the Malkinsons, Jon Sotnick and Jim Rodwell all depart the United boardroom with their tails between their legs.
We’ve seen Paul Gascoigne flailing around York Street. We’ve seen United playing live on Sky Sports in front of, er, what was it again Steve? Eight million people? Yes. It must be. Because everything you say it true.
We began the decade with promotion, edging out those pesky fuckers from Bath, and obtaining our first Conference victory by smashing Yeovil for four goals at York Street. We end it with the cider-lovers being not so much in a different league as occupying a different planet. They’re entertaining Leeds, Southampton and Charlton. We’re losing FA Trophy games at Quorn. Whereas once we were great rivals, now we are an irrelevance. They'd tell us we deserve it, and they'd be right. That hurts. And what of other former enemies, those clubs that, ten years ago, we thought of as our most threatening peers? Given our placing in the Northern cohort of the pyramid, it is easy to forget that a decade ago it was the Southern League that provided our biggest rivalries.
Ten years ago it was Bath City, a club that has historically enjoyed pissing on our parade, who were Steve Evans’ first nemesis. We haven’t played them since the 1999/2000 season. Indeed, December marks the tenth anniversary of our last encounter - a defeat, naturally, in Somerset that ended with the now-notorious Queen incident. They’re now a league above us, doing just fine in the Conference South.
Grantham. Poor little Grantham. Relegated by us in that 3-1 win, they are now to be found flailing around the bottom quarters of the Northern Premier League Division 1 South. And poor King’s Lynn, who ruined the last Boxing Day clash of the 90s, will not return to the scene of THAT Bastock howler for a tenth anniversary reunion, mainly because they no longer exist. Nor do Nuneaton, Telford, Halifax, Scarborough. And we very nearly joined them.
That's where we were ten years ago. If we were to even try and summarise what has happened since then, we'd be here all week. So let's take the nice and easy approach: wrap it all up and summarise it in list form. Because it’s that time of year and that’s what people like us do. We make bloody lists.
First up: our favourite local scribe. Take it away, Duncan….
The Naughties: Duncan Browne >>>
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