The FA Cup’s popularity has decreased somewhat in recent years. The dominance of the Premier League, its importance and the monetary value to its respective clubs now means a run in the cup is seen as a hindrance to a club’s survival in the league.
However every now a then a good old fashioned cup run can see a team and especially their players being propelled from mediocrity to stardom, fame and fortune. That’s exactly what happened when Boston entered the FA Cup First Round Proper in the 2006/07 season.
They were drawn against local rivals, League One high fliers A.F.C Bournemouth. Were they up for the challenge? You bet. Did they lose 4-0? Sure. Can they look back and say job done? Absolutely not.
But after a long hard fought cup run, how did the Boston United players’ fortunes change. Money, trophies and legacies surely beckoned for those 11 brave souls. So, where are they now?
Andy Marriott: Having already played for the likes of European giants SC Beira-Mar, Andy Marriott was no stranger to big occasions, so him being in the starting line-up for Boston’s crunch FA Cup derby with AFC Bournemouth was no surprise. Boston was his 16th club and the club where he enjoyed perhaps the most success. Following back-to-back relegations in his first two seasons, Marriott felt he had gone as far as possible with the Pilgrims and sought pastures new elsewhere, ending his career at regional rivals Exeter City.
Jamie Clarke: The man, who many believe benefitted most from Boston’s famous 06/07 cup run, Jamie Clarke has all but lived up to his huge potential. After leaving Boston, he dabbled with the likes of York City and Grimsby Town before finally taking the leap up to Gainsborough Trinity via an unsuccessful trial at St. Johnstone. Proving that the step up was an easy one, Clarke was released at the end of his first season and controversially joined fierce rivals Guiseley. The dismayed fans were distraught but understood Clarke’s decision to continue his rise up the football ladder.
Mark Albrighton: The man they call Mark and the defender they call Mark, reaped the rewards from his pathetic performance against Bournemouth. Mark raked in the income as he quickly worked his way up the Footballing ladder on the back of Boston’s cup run. His meritocratic rise was as follows: Darlington, Rushden, Cambridge, Stevenage, Kidderminster, Nuneaton and finally, violent rivals Barwell where he has made no appearances to date.
Timothy ‘Tim’ Ryan: Timothy, or ‘Tim’, to his mates was a cocky young left-back learning his new trade. Aged 31 at the time, ‘Tim’ had a dazzling career in front of him. It just needed that one special game to get his name out there and in the spotlight. The 06-07 Boston Cup run was just that, and sure enough bitter rivals Darlington came calling, a tough decision for ‘Tim’s’ young head to handle. But this was ‘Tim’s’ time, ‘Tim’s’ moment, ‘Tim’s’ epiphany if you will. Two seasons at Darlington, a loan spell at Harrogate Town, ‘Tim’ saw out his glittering career at Conference North outfit and neighbouring rivals Stalybridge Celtic. Mission failed.
Paul Ellender: As football farewells go, this is up there with the least cared about. Paul Ellender joined Boston in 2001 as a fresh faced, eager 27 year old. He left Boston in 2008 as a fresh faced, eager 34 year old. He was at the heart of everything right during their famous cup run, and despite being at fault for 3 of the 4 goals conceded that afternoon against AFC Bournemouth, he will remain in Boston folklore. For a short while. Having left in 2008, he rudely invited himself back to the club in 2009 for a brief loan spell, before finally getting the hint and leaving for good 12 games later. Moves to vicious rivals Retford United and spiteful neighbours North Ferriby followed before an unspectacular retirement called time on an insignificant career.
Chris Holland: Chris chose not to represent his native country, the Netherlands as he made 10 appearances for England’s Under 21s during his early career at Newcastle. Holland struggled to live up to the early hype that surrounded him. Little did he know, he was about to prove the critics wrong and be on the losing side in a first round cup tie. Luckily Chris had numerous chances to prove he was good value for those Under 21 caps. He failed, as spells at Southport, Leigh Genesis, Fleetwood Town, Burscough and stern rivals Guisely proved he was nothing more than a waste of a space.
Mark Greaves: Greaves arrived at Boston in 2002 with a huge reputation, which inevitably came with huge pressure having starting his career at Boston’s ferocious rivals Brigg Town. He joined the Pilgrims via Hull City and was an instant hit with the fans. The goal-scoring midfield maestro lived up to the tag with an impressive five goals in a meagre 158 appearances. The brother of Jimmy continued his impressive goal-scoring ways well into his latter playing days finishing with an unprecedented 0 goals in 10 games at his final club, and mammoth rivals to Boston, North Ferriby.
David Galbraith: “Don’t hold back…..world….the time has come to Gal-a-braith” That famous Boston chant heard rarely, if ever, throughout the tie. Despite coming from uncompromising rivals, Northampton Town, David was such a fan favourite with the Boston faithful that it meant fans were unaware when he left the club for arch rivals Kettering. He has settled at St. Albans, familiar surroundings as he started his career at Spurs.
David Farrell: Aged 41, playing for Stamford, not an appearance to record. Struggling financially.
Drewe Broughton: With 3.9 goals per club, Broughton had proved to be a risk worth taking to all the 21 that had signed him. Thankfully retiring at the ripe old age of 33 in 2012, his time at Boston will be the most fondly remembered. Already years past his peak when his spell at Boston came about, Broughton gracefully managed to play for another nine clubs in five years. Finally calling time on his illustrious career with brutal rivals Darlington. His career ended in the same manner that it started. With one goal. And no mates.
Francis Green: Like many of the players on this list, Boston United certainly wasn’t Francis’ peak. This game was his stepping stone to success. A vintage performance from the prolific striker saw him pulled off at half-time and it didn’t end there. Transfers came and transfers went just as quickly as his career fizzled out into a deep abyss of nothingness. He now plays for Spalding.
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