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2005/2006 Season Review

First things first: How bad was League Two this year? How unspeakably dreadful was the quality of the football? Rarely have I been so thoroughly bored on a consistent basis.

2005/2006 was a season more memorable for the off-field politics than any action on the turf. The standard in League Two was, come on, let’s be honest, absolutely pathetic. In fact, if I were a professional footballer playing in this division, I wouldn’t admit it. I’d rather tell people I was a dog-shit collector. League Two – you are a shambles. (Not that League One was any better, impsTALK can confirm that the promised land was of an equally poor standard).

Steve Evans spent most of his energy in the final months reminding everyone just how little cash he was working with, yet seemingly neglected to note that a team of dead goats could have made the play-offs had they made any effort to actually play some football.

Steve Evans is a deeply unpopular figure in Boston these days, but as 2005/2006 loomed he’d won over the fence sitters by assembling a squad that, on paper, looked dead set to make the play-offs at the very least. Combining youth and experience in just the right blend and boasting a locked-in 20-goal striker in Julian Joachim, Boston had got it right. How could they fail to bring play-off football to Boston? But fail
they did. Here’s how the best squad in United history blew their big chance.

Pre Season July 2005

Abraham Zapruder whips out his camcorder and films John Blackwell announcing record season ticket sales to anyone who cares to listen. The resulting squeals of laughter can be heard as far away as Frampton, but quickly subside along with worried sideways glances when people clock Aston Kutcher isn’t about to show up with an MTV camera crew.

Boston’s newly laid grassy knoll, or pitch if you prefer, suffers damage after someone with a grudge sprays it with a chemical, causing the grass to whither and die like the annual Lincoln City play-off challenge. Police reveal they have 2.2 million suspects, shrug, and return to their liver and sausage.

August 2005

The pre-season hype around the Pilgrims begins to unravel almost immediately with a 2-0 defeat away at Wrexham, a distressingly dismal performance that will set the tone for the majority of away fixtures for the remainder of the season. A midweek clash against Shrewsbury gives United the chance to make amends, but only a late equaliser from hatchet man Big Jase spares the Pilgrims from the ignominy of a first home defeat in front of a hugely unimpressed York Street audience.

Stockport County, about to prove to the world over the next nine months just how rubbish they really are, shamble ingloriously into York Street, bumble their way to a 2-1 lead against a woeful Boston, then shoot themselves splendidly in the foot and concede a last minute equaliser. 2,500 people wipe their brows.

After such a below par start to a much hyped season by a decent squad, United grit their teeth, roll up their sleeves….. and get comprehensively trashed by Cheltenham. On the plus side, things don’t get any worse in the second half, a point underlined by the club repeatedly in the days after the spanking. Well, duh. The Titanic didn’t sink any deeper on April 15th 1912, and I can’t recall the White Star Line boasting about

And what better way of celebrating the defeat than by making a trip to soon-to-be-back-in-the-Championship giants Sheffield United (Reserves) in the McWhatever Cup. Boston lose to an Ian Ross goal. Boston quickly act to sign him up, a move that speaks volumes about the club’s scouting network, i.e there is no network.

Off-the field developments continue as a group of fans start to investigate starting Boston’s first ever Supporters Trust. And note we’re NOT using an apostrophe. Live with it.

Yawn. Snooze. Don’t wake me up, I’m sleeping!

September 2005

Two goals down at Grimdirt Stadium, or wherever Macclesfield play, Boston suddenly spark into life to clam a point. A whole point! And three days later, Rochdale become the Pilgrims’ first victims, going down 3-2 at York Street. A draw at Bury follows, followed by a home derby with Grimsby which ends 1-1.

Another trip to Darlington’s impressively empty TFM Arena results in another impressively tedious 0-0 draw. The match predictably fails to surpass the most exciting moment ever witnessed during the arena’s short and miserable history, that being the paint drying on the walls just before it opened.

October 2005

Boston bag a pretty unpalatable 2-1 win at Meadow Lane against Notts County. Boston start time wasting after 23 minutes. Noel Whelen struts around the pitch, kicks a few people and gets sent off for a laugh, as does Nathan ‘I’m not really incompetent’ Abbey for time wasting.

Bristol Rovers are next to feel the hoof-and-hope wrath, capitulating brilliantly as United stroll to a 3-1 win. Huddersfield Reserves are next up for a bit of a kickaround in that Trophy thing no-one cares about, they lose but aren’t really too fussed. Boston grind out a truly dull nil-nil away at Oxford, then easily spank Torquay. All of a sudden, the Pilgrims look the real deal.

Steve Evans ends the month with the best record in THE WORLD, but sensationally gets snubbed by the committee handing out the monthly League Two award. Evans’ subsequent hysterical reaction entertains football fans across the world. “Chris Kamara is a c***,” Evans doesn’t say on BBC Radio Lincoln City, although he wishes he could.

November 2005

Hooray! FA Cup time again, and for once the Pilgrims do themselves proud, snatching a 2-2 draw at higher league Swindon. But Boston are brought back to earth with a bump, defeated at Rushden. Oooh, hang on... Whooopeee.... Boston sensationally trash Swindon 4-1 and the world has gone crazy (a result that looks great until Swindon lose 7-1 at Forest on their way to relegation). But any notions that Boston are actually good are swiftly dispelled by home defeats against Notts County, and then a sound 3-0 thumping by Kiddy in that bloody Cup thing. United end November with a 2-1 win over Wrexham.

December 2005

December is traditionally a busy month that makes or breaks a club’s season. Hardly surprising then that United conspire to break theirs by failing to win a single game. They crash out of the FA Cup at home to League One side Doncaster, then draw with Wycombe, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham and Lincoln – in front of 7077 fans - before finally losing at Barnet on New Year’s Eve. Let’s move on quickly…

January 2006

2006 arrives, the Boston public do not: a 2-1 home defeat to Leyton Orient attracts a stonkingly awful seasonal crowd of 2689. It must be the rubbish crowd that moves Evans to refuse to shake Martin Ling’s hand at the end of the match. Such bad sportsmanship spurs the Pilgrims onto victories against Macclesfield and – hooray! – AWAY at Chester, but Carlisle’s Michael Bridges uses his visit to York Street to vent his frustration that only a succession of terrible injuries prevented him from assuming a sure-fire spot in the England team. We won’t re-cap the score for sanity’s sa- FIVE-NIL. Sorry. Couldn’t help it.

Bury cop the revenge, going down in flames 3-1 at York Street three days later, and Boston finish the month with a decent 1-1 draw at Rochdale, well known Pilgrims player James Keene with the goal.

February 2006

Boston United finds itself the less-than-proud new owner of a spanking new supporters trust following a public meeting at Johnsons Garden Centre. Boston’s 0-0 draw at home to Darlington leaves no-one laughing, although the same can’t be said of United’s 1-0 defeat away at Grimsby the following week.

Steve Evans is repeatedly warned over his foul and abusive language, warnings he ignores - after all, what’s the worst that can happen, banishment to the stands? How about the car park: Evans gets thrown out of Blundell Park, the door is locked behind him, and the tender little Scot is approached by a gaggle of hoodies. Stop laughing. I said STOP laughing.

Jon Sotnick immediately promises an investigation. We never hear of it again. A week later Wycombe are in town, a game that proves – sadly – to be one of John Gorman’s last in the Wycombe dugout. Both sides play out a decent(ish) 1-1 draw. An excellent 1-0 win away at Stockport follows, setting United nicely up for….

March 2006

…a 5-0 defeat at the hands of useless Mansfield. The less said the better. An undeserved win against Lincoln City is sealed by Lawrie Dudfield’s injury time winner from 1 yard, but United’s month rapidly crumbles, along with their play-off hopes, with defeats against Northampton, Carlisle (what are the odds?) and, painfully, at home to a perky Chester. impsTALK launches its first ever printed fanzine prior to the Imps derby, perfectly designed to confuse those uninitiated fans on both sides. Poor old Jon Sotnick somehow obtains an early draft copy where we jokingly use shirt sponsor Chestnut Homes as an advertiser, assumes it’s real, and goes public, which is fine by us.

April 2006

April Fools Day, and the comics are at work at York Street once again, although this time it has nowt to do with impsTALK. Fans are left puzzled by a flyer handed out prior to the game with Barnet detailing a takeover bid by an American multi-millionaire. The mystery writer is later revealed (in true Scooby-Doo style), to be none other than mischief maker Chris Cook. Yes, THAT Chris Cook. The flyer is infinitely more interesting than United’s easy 2-1 win over a dire Barnet side, although they aren’t as bad as Boston will be in the defeat at Leyton Orient a week later.

CAMRA, and the obligatory Morris dancers, are in Peterborough prior to United’s 1-0 win at Posh, a few pints of Hugworth-Bailey Lambgrope (or something similar) dulling the senses to another dire fixture. A 1-0 win over Oxford follows, but just as fans start getting their hopes up, the Pilgrims lose a crunch tie at Bristol and are – finally! – eliminated from the play-off race. They see out the season by relegating Rushden in a 2-0 win….

May 2006

…and drawing 0-0 on the South coast at Torquay. And that’s yer lot.

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