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Boston United
Boston Utd Badge.png
Full name Boston United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Pilgrims, The Friars
Founded 1933
Ground York Street, Boston
(Capacity: 6,643 (5,711 seated))
Chairman England David Newton
Managers England Paul Hurst
England Rob Scott
League Northern Premier League
Premier Division
2008–09 Northern Premier League
Premier Division, 16th
Home colours
Away colours

Boston United Football Club are a football club based in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. They are members of the Northern Premier League after being demoted for financial reasons. They are currently managed by Rob Scott and Paul Hurst who were appointed on 14 May 2009 as successors to Steve Welsh. The club is known as 'the Pilgrims' in reference to the Pilgrim Fathers, who fled from Boston to the USA and founded Boston, Massachusetts. The club's crest, a ship, is also a reference to them. The club's traditional colours are amber and black. Boston's neighbours include Lincoln City, Scunthorpe United, Grimsby Town, Grantham Town and Kettering Town. The club is one of only 12 in the country to run a Centre of Excellence, provides a Study Support Centre and is also the basis of the 'Boston United Football in the Community Scheme'.



The club was founded in 1933 as a successor to a club called Boston. Their first game was a 3-1 defeat at home to Grimsby Reserves on 26 August 1933, when a crowd of 1,544 watched Boston's no.7, Blessed, score United's first ever goal. They then had a moderate amount of success in various leagues, including the Midland League and Southern League.

On 7 January 1956 Boston played Tottenham Hotspur in the 3rd round of the FA Cup in front of their largest ever crowd, 46,185, at White Hart Lane. The Pilgrims lost 4-0, but the match was more notable for the travelling support. Over 10,000 Boston supporters attended the game. A special train line from Boston to King's Cross was set up for the day.

They were founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968, of which they were champions four times, and of the Alliance Premier League (now the Football Conference) in 1979. However, their Northern Premier League title wins were not enough to gain them election to the Football League, and when they won the title in 1978 they surprisingly missed out on league status in favour of runners-up Wigan Athletic, who took the Football League place previously held by Southport.

In 1985 Boston United went to Wembley for the first and only time in their history for the FA Trophy Final of the 1984/85 season, after Bob Lee scored a winning last minute goal in the 2nd leg of the semi-final against Altrincham at York Street to put the Pilgrims through. Boston lost 2-1 to Wealdstone in front of 20,775, with Chris Cook scoring United's only goal.

Boston United finished third in the Conference in 1988/9, but were unable to build on this and were relegated to the NPL in 1993. They were transferred to the Southern League, winning the title in 2000, and went fully professional in 2001. In their first season as a professional club, Boston won the Conference and were promoted to the Football League.

However, in the wake of their promotion, Boston's manager, Steve Evans, and former chairman, Pat Malkinson, were charged with breaking the Football Association's rules over the registration of players. Both men received bans from the FA, and the club were fined and docked four points from their first season in the League. This angered some, especially the Conference runners up Dagenham & Redbridge, who believed that any points deduction should have applied to the previous season, which would have meant Dagenham being promoted instead. After their promotion to the Football League, Boston never really looked like challenging for promotion to the third tier of the league and most of their time from 2002 was spent in mid-table, with occasional flirts with relegation and the play-offs.

Wrexham defender Ryan Valentine scores the penalty kick against Boston United which relegated The Pilgrims.

In May 2007 Boston were relegated from Football League Two on the last day of the season. Steve Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor on May 27 resigned from the club, and two days later joined Crawley Town.[1]

Because of the relegation Boston were originally scheduled to play the 2007/8 season in the Conference National but this position was immediately placed in doubt after the club's chairman Jim Rodwell entered Boston into a Company Voluntary Arrangement late in their last game so that 10 points would then be deducted in the 2006/7 season instead of the 2007/8 season.[2] Although this meant that Boston started the 2007/8 season without a points penalty FA rules dictated that they be demoted 2 divisions as a result of HM Revenue & Customs placing a restriction into the CVA of Boston not being allowed to pay football creditors 100% of what they were owed. They therefore played the 2007/8 season in the Conference North division, two steps below the Football League. This would be United's first season under the new ownership of David Newton and Neil Kempster, who took control of the club over from ex-Chairman Jim Rodwell.

Despite finishing the 2007/8 campaign in 10th place under the guidance of Tommy Taylor, United were still in administration by the 2nd Saturday of May in 2008. This meant they were relegated again to the Unibond League Premier Division for the forthcoming 08/09 season. Despite coming out of administration just before the start of the new season anyway, Boston United failed to have this decision overturned. Another result of this was that they would also have to enter the FA Cup in the 1st qualifying round, something which they hadn't done for many years. They reached the final of the Lincs Senior Shield but were swept aside by Stamford 4-1,and finished the league campaign in 16th position.


Boston United play at York Street, currently styled as The Jakemans Stadium through a sponsorship deal. There are four sides to the stadium, the Staffsmart Stand, Benton Brothers York Street Stand, Spayne Road Terrace and the old away end — now known as Jakemans and turned into a home stand. The away fans now sit in a section of the York Street Stand.

Former club chairman Jon Sotnick claimed it was not up to Football League standards and called for a new ground during the Pilgrims' time in the Football League. Planning applications were made to Boston Borough Council in June 2006, but the council turned down the application. The ground has a total capacity of 6,643.

Financial situation

On the 4th of December 2006 Boston's plan to relocate to a new stadium on The Broadsides was unanimously rejected by Boston Borough Council. This plunged the club's future into serious doubt. Chairman James Rodwell said the club's future was "Hanging in the balance" as York Street did not have the facilities to allow the club to operate at a profit, and a ground move was required to wipe out the club's debts. Rodwell confirmed that he would be meeting with shareholders over the next couple of days to determine the best course of action, but did admit that the club’s future was ultimately now in the hands of the Inland Revenue, who were owed a sizable six-figure sum by the club.

In a statement he released to the club's official website on the 5th of December he said: "The club’s financial situation at the present moment is dire. I would urge all supporters and anybody interested in the future of the football club, be that investors or potential purchasers, to come forward immediately".

In November 2006 Boston manager Steve Evans and his former chairman Pat Malkinson pleaded guilty to "conspiring to cheat the public revenue between 1997 and 2002". Both were given suspended jail sentences.

In May 2007, Boston entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement towards the end of their last game of the season when they knew they would be relegated to the Conference.[2] This allowed them to avoid a points deduction in the next season,[3 ] but has proved a controversial move.[2]

On the 10 June 2007 the Football Conference's annual general meeting voted in favour of demoting Boston United to the Conference North, stating that the terms of the Company Voluntary Agreement which Boston entered was behind the decision. Altrincham were subsequently spared relegation for the second season running. Chief Executive John Moules released this statement:

"Because Boston United are in breach of certain rules, it was felt Blue Square North was the best place for them. The Inland Revenue put a caveat on that CVA that Boston could not pay football creditors. That breaks Football Association, Football League and Football Conference rules and regulations. We're giving Boston the opportunity to re-establish themselves as a leading club outside the Football League. They believe the decision we have made is fair and just, and they are not going to appeal. We had meetings all day on Friday with Boston United and then informed Altrincham that they were staying up."

On 4 July 2007, Chestnut Homes, a local housing development company, announced that they had acquired Boston United FC.[4 ]

In a statement at a press conference the new Chairman David Newton said: "...we are happy to sit here today and make certain pledges to the loyal supporters of the club. While we are involved in the club, the club will be whiter than white. While we are here, everyone will be paid. We will be prudent in the management of the club's finances. We will strive for excellence on and off the pitch. As finances permit, we will develop the youth side of the club, and if managed well that should pay dividends in the medium to long term for the club. Above all, we will try to rebuild the reputation of this football club."[5]

During the summer of 2007 Boston lost their entire squad but for Stewart Talbot and Paul Ellender, and new manager Tommy Taylor had to start from scratch. They eventually finished mid-table, but taking everything into consideration it was not a bad season. However, at the end of the season it was announced Boston would be expelled from the Conference league structure after they failed to exit administration by the 10 May deadline. The Conference is the only league in the world to have this appendix, which is not as such a rule, but only a guideline to be used at the League's discretion. The Pilgrims came out of administration before the end of the summer.


As of 26 July 2009.

Current squad

No. Position Player
- England GK Aaron Butcher
- Northern Ireland GK Tom Evans
- England DF Simon Ashton
- England DF Lee Canoville
- England DF James Cullingworth
- England DF Nick Jackson
- England DF Liam Parker
- England DF Shaun Pearson
- England DF Chris Wood
- England MF Mark Camm
No. Position Player
- England MF Anthony Church
- England MF Adam Millson
- England MF Jamie Yates
- England MF Gareth Davies
- England MF Danny Sleath
- England FW Jamie Clarke
- England FW Danny Davidson
- England FW Marc Newsham
- Spain FW Mikel Suarez
- England FW Spencer Weir-Daley

Notable Former Players

Below is a list of notable former players in chronological order of their last appearance for the club.

Managerial history

Below is a list of Boston United managers in chronological order:[6]

Dates Manager
1934–1935 Jimmy Cringan
1935–1936 Willie Vaughton
1936–1937 Arthur Greaves
1937–1939 Fred Tunstall
1945–1947 Fred Tunstall
1948–1949 Jimmy McGraham
1950–1952 Jimmy Ithell
1952–1954 Fred Tunstall
1954–1957 Ray Middleton
1957–1960 Ray King
1960–1961 Ray Middleton
1961–1964 Paul Todd
1964–1965 Fred Tunstall
1965–1969 Don Donovan
1969–1972 Jim Smith
1972–1975 Keith Jobling
1975–1976 Howard Wilkinson
1976–1977 Freddie Taylor &
Gordon Bolland (joint)
1977–1979 Mick Walker
1979–1981 Albert Phelan
1981–1984 John Froggatt
1984–1986 Arthur Mann
1986–1987 Ray O'Brien
1987–1990 George Kerr
1990–1992 Dave Cusack
1992–1994 Peter Morris
1994–1996 Mel Sterland
1996–1998 Greg Fee
1998–2002 Steve Evans
2002–2004 Neil Thompson
2004 James Rodwell (caretaker)
2004–2007 Steve Evans
2007–2008 Tommy Taylor
2008–2009 Steve Welsh
2009– Rob Scott and Paul Hurst


  • Conference champions: 2001-02.
  • Southern League champions: 1999-2000.
  • Northern Premier League champions: 1972-73, 1973-74, 1976-77, 1977-78.
  • Northern Premier League Cup winners: 1973-74, 1975-76.
  • Northern Premier League Challenge Shield winners: 1973-74, 1974-75, 1976-77, 1977-78.
  • Lincolnshire Senior Cup winners: 1934-35, 1936-37, 1937-38, 1945-46, 1949-50, 1954-55, 1955-56, 1956-57, 1959-60, 1976-77, 1978-79, 1985-86, 1987-88, 1988-89, 2005-06.
  • Non-League Champions of Champions Cup winners: 1972-73, 1976-77.
  • East Anglian Cup winners: 1960-61.
  • Central Alliance League champions: 1961-62.
  • United Counties League champions: 1965-66.
  • West Midlands League champions: 1966-1967, 1967-68.
  • Eastern Professional Floodlit Cup winners: 1971-72.
  • FA Trophy runners-up: 1984-85.
  • Southern League runners-up: 1998-1999.
  • Northern Premier League runners-up: 1995-96, 1997-98.
  • Northern Premier League runners-up: 1996-97.


Club Records

Highest attendance

  • FA Cup 3rd Round replay - 11,000 vs Derby County (9 January 1974)

Biggest FA Cup Win

  • FA Cup Preliminary Round - 10-0 vs Bilsthorpe Colliery (18 September 1937)

Club Football League Records

  • Biggest win - 6-0 vs Shrewsbury Town (21 December 2002)
  • Heaviest defeat - 0–6 vs Grimsby Town (3 February 2007)
  • First club to start on less than 0 points.

National Records

Biggest FA Cup away win for a non-league side against League opponents:


External links


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