Tuesday 31 January 2012

Boston United - York Street

Boston United FC
York Street
PE21 6JN

01205 364406
Official Website

Ground Number: 96
Saturday 16th October 2004
Boston United 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Coca Cola League 2


The club was formed in 1933 as a response to Boston Town (no connection to the modern day club of the same name) going bust. They took the former clubs place in the Midland League, staying there until 1958 and finishing as runners-up in 1956. A three-year spell in the Southern League followed before a return to the Midland League. Spells in the United Counties and West Midlands Regional League followed and Boston United won titles in three successive seasons between 1966 and 1968. That year, they became founder members of the Northern Premier League (NPL). They were Champions four times during their first spell here, leaving to join the Alliance League (later to be renamed the Conference) - the highlight of their first spell being a 3rd place finish in 1989. By 1993 however, their form tailed off and despite gaining a credible 3-3 draw at eventual champions Wycombe Wanderers, they were relegated to the NPL. Finishes were in the top 6 for all their time here and this continued when they made the sideways step to the Southern League in 1998. The turn of the century saw them crowned champions and by 2002 they had won the Conference too. Despite irregularities with player registration, they were allowed to take the promotion to the Football League, albeit with a four-point deduction for their debut season. They'd remain in the basement division of the Football League for five seasons, the highlight being two 11th place finishes. Due to the club entering a CVA in 2007, they were forced to drop two divisions after finishing second-bottom of League 2. Despite a 10th place finish in the Conference North in 2008, the club were relegated again due to still being in administration. After a 16th place finish in the NPL Premier, Boston United finished 3rd in 2010, beating North Ferriby United and Bradford Park Avenue in the playoffs to return to the Conference North. They've been there ever since, finishing as low as 16th in 2013 and as high as 3rd in 2011 and 2015 and losing out in the playoffs a couple of times. Prior to my latest visit, they sat in 12th with an outside chance of making the end of season playoffs.

Boston United have reached the 3rd Round of the FA Cup on a number of occasions. Firstly in 1956, they lost 4-0 at Spurs in front of a crowd of 46,185. They'd have to work until 1974 for their next appearance, drawing 0-0 at Derby County before losing the replay 6-1 at home in front of a record home crowd of 11,000. The FA Trophy Final was reached in 1985 where Boston lost 2-1 to Wealdstone. Little progress was made in either of the Football League cups but locally Boston have won a number of cups. These include seven NPL League Cups, fifteen Lincolnshire Senior Cups, two Non-League Champion of Champions Cup, the East Anglian Cup and the Eastern Floodlit Cup. Their record win of 6-0 came against Shrewsbury Town came in 2002. The town of Boston has a population of 35,000 and is home to 'The Stump' - the largest parish church in England. It was also the town that voted most for Brexit, with 75% of the residents voting to leave the EU in 2016. Notable people to come from Boston include Blackburn Rovers' record scorer Simon Garner and former Welsh international footballer John Oster.


My first visit to Boston United's York Street came in October 2004. Despite being 11th in the table, Wycombe were still only 4 points off the top of the table. This game was towards the end of Tony Adams' reign at Wycombe and I recall this as the time he played Joe Burnell and Matt Bloomfield together in central midfield, despite them both being totally unfit, having come back from long layoffs. And it showed as a mix up between the 2 allowed Andy Kirk in to score in the 14th minute. He added a second in the second half in a flat performance by Wycombe. The only other visit I made there was a slight improvement - we managed yet another draw in the 2005/06 season, the year where we drew a seemingly record number of games.


Boston United's York Street ground had been on the danger list as far as them getting a new ground for a while now. Fellow hopper Chris was really keen to do it and despite me having been there a couple of times, I hadn't really got any decent pictures or done a proper blog, so I was keen to do it as well. With Chris being busy on Tuesdays and Saturdays normally though, this was easier said than done. Eventually, though, a date came up that was mutually agreeable and we'd had this planned in for a few months before actually doing it. I'd had a late night on the day before the game and so didn't wake up until 9.40. With me due to meet Chris at 11, I had to get my skates on. I had a quick wash and slung some clothes on. I still needed breakfast and so text Chris to tell him I'd be there at 11.15. The original plan was to go to Subway for a breakfast sub but there were so many dawdlers on the road I had to settle for some Creme Egg Twisted sweets and some Irn Bru. I did have the bonus of picking up a couple of ciders that I'd not had before. I got to Chris bang on time and soon we were on the way.

It was generally a decent journey and we were in Boston around two hours later. Initially, the plan was to park in a side street, but a load of new parking restrictions had been added since Google Street View took their photos. Instead, we headed back into town and paid £3 for 4 hours parking. First stop was The Moon Under Water, the town's Wetherspoons. It was far from the best in the chain with no real cider but I wanted to have the Caledonian Burger that was a special for Burns week. It was delicious, especially with me doubling up the burger. This was washed down with a pint of Strongbow with Chris not drinking due to having stomach ulcers diagnosed. After a stroll around the town to get various pictures, we headed to the ground, paying £13 entry. And what a ground it was, full of character. It was good to get some pictures from a different perspective. It was a shame that the ground was split up, especially with the crowd only being 885 (including 25 from Leamington) but I still managed to get in half of one of the stands behind the goal as well as watching the game from along the side. As for the game itself, Leamington started brightly and they grabbed a deserved lead, thanks to sloppy defending from Boston. The hosts then laid siege to the visitors' goal, equalising through a penalty before halftime and having a couple of goals ruled out for offside later on. The match report from the Non-League Paper is below, but overall Leamington defended gamely and Boston were very unlucky not to win. We got back to the car at 5.10, putting on Wycombe Sound over my phone so that I could listen to all our local games as well as the Wycombe report - happily, they had won 1-0 at Bristol Rovers. This gave way to the 606 phone in which kept us entertained on the way home. I dropped Chris off at 7, getting home an hour later. The rest of the evening was spent catching up on things including typing this blog, sorting photos and looking at potential new cars before a cracking Match Of The Day came on at 10.20.


YORK STREET is one of the best grounds in non-league football, having seen service in the Football League and been a firm favourite of non-league fans. The main stand has space for around 1300 and aside from a couple of pillars offers good views. The York Street Stand has seating for 500 at the back, plus a smaller 1000 capacity terrace in front - this is given to away fans with small followings if the ground is segregated. The Spayne Road Stand is a decent sized side terrace holding around 2000 whilst behind the other goal is the Town End which is a large terrace with a capacity of over 2,000. The ground was once rated as holding 14,000 when Wycombe were in the Conference but now, due to ever-increasing safety regulations, its set at 6,778. It's definitely worth visiting, especially as it is due to be replaced in the next few years.

The tea bar offers a good range of items at decent prices. I didn't check out the bar but the clubshop was fairly small with no old programmes. There's plenty of places within a couple of minutes of the ground including a pub and a sit-down chip shop. The town is a 5-minute walk away and has a decent range of places. Parking at the ground is quite limited with restrictions on street parking near the ground though there are plenty of pay and display car parks near the ground with Pescod Street being amongst the cheapest - around £3 for 4 hours.

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