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2000-2010: The Naughties

impsTALK.co.uk
>> Features >> The Naughties >> Duncan Browne's highlights

For some people, following the Pilgrims up and and down the country isn't just the unfortunate symptom of some obscure, yet-to-be-fully-understood form of mental illness. Nope, for some people it's their job.

If
getting paid to drive to places like Workington while Scott Dalton falls asleep in the passenger seat and starts dribbling onto his chest sounds like your idea of hell, then a career in Lincolnshire sports journalism probably isn't for you. Luckily, Duncan Browne has been doing this for years so YOU don't have to. He's been doing it throughout the decade, so here are his highlights and lowlights of the last ten years....


Player of the Decade 
This is obviously the toughest category to call since Steve Evans, Marc Bolan and Ru Paul and Cedric were among the forerunners in the Boots No7 Best Eyeshadow (Male) awards.

But I think the winner has to be Paul Ellender.

The former captain came to the club with a £30,000 (not £60,000) price tag and, after his first game against Margate, looked like he was never going to make the grade. But Ellie came good, led the club to the Conference title and more than held his own as the Pilgrims were promoted to the Football League. Other defenders came and went but Ellie never gave up - and his snarling nasty sod image on the pitch frightened opponents into submission. And when he was finally told to get lost, the club suffered a possible relegation until he was drafted back in and saved some skins.

It was also Ellie who was dragged out of the dressing room at Rochdale to give an unannounced live interview when there were rumblings of a player strike, which he handled brilliantly. On the pitch he was a talisman, off it he was humble and honest only ever refusing to give an interview once: the day at Wrexham where tears fell from his eyes.

Over the past ten years Paul Bastock has broken records, Mickey Nuttell returned with the goods time and again. Alan White was exceptional, Lee Thompson and Simon Weatherstone taught us to love football once again, Simon Rusk gave a master class in ignoring bullshit and doing a good job. Daryl Clare scored vital goals, as did Andy Kirk, while Chris Holland was perhaps the most underrated. Add to the list Steve Charles and Gary Childs and you've got some cracking players. And, of course, who can forget Kevin Evans, Gary Brabin and Johnny Walker?

But for what he achieved on and off the field, for his longevity and adaptability - the best of the past ten must be the one they call Gippo Van Nistelrooy.

Game of the Decade 
Blimey - this question's tougher than 'Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Anniston - which one would you?'

The 4-3 victory over Luton should be up there for pure excitement value. The stuffing at the hands of Fulham is memorable as it pitted the Pilgrims against top-flight opposition. The 2-1 win at Notts county should be remembered for its sheer ridiculousness as nine-man Boston, with Simon Rusk in goal, held out for three points. The dull victory at Leigh RMI in the Conference-winning season stands out as Steve Evans managed to fall down half the steps in the main stand.

The 3-1 Dr Martens-title-winning victory over Grantham (does that fit into the time zone?) was a special moment to savour, unless you were the poor keeper Mickey Nuttell introduced to his elbow. The 2-1 home wins over Scunthorpe were special (both years) as we snatched late great winners from Richard Logan and Matt O'Halloran, sending Brian Laws into almighty temper tantrums that could put Mariah Carey to shame (allegedly).

The 2-0 home win over Lincoln was the sweetest way to earn your first win in the Football League and move out of minus points, while the celebrations (courtesy of Daryl Clare and Mark Angel) raised a smile for the home fans, although it would be wrong to condone such (hilarious) behaviour! But equally important were the Matt Hocking-inspired 2-1 win over Macc that year which confirmed Football League status, and the 6-0 drubbing of Shrewsbury that helped the club turn the corner.

Then, of course, there was the superb friendly against Manchester United's youngsters (ahem). And who can forget the day at Hayes... ignore the repercussions, forget that aftermath and raise a little smile, like you first did when you heard 'laps of honour are for champions'. Remember Gez Murphy dancing on the table, you dancing in the rain, Simon Weatherstone kissing the badge and Razor looking demented as he netted the second. Remember how hard Daryl Clare worked as a lone striker after Cossie's sending off and remember how good you felt. Remember the next day back at the ground and remember the open top bus ride through the town.For sheer emotion and excitement value, after a lot of thought, my answer has to be....... Angelina Jolie.Oh, and Hayes away!
 
Worst Moment of the Decade 
Walking towards Southwark Crown Court along Trundle Street just about summed up the lows of the past 10 years... But then the sad death of someone like Ernie Cooksey goes and puts everything into perspective.
 
Goal of the Decade 
Ashley Nicholls v Workington, August 11, 2007. After all the what-might-have-beens that summer, just seeing a goal at York Street made me realise how close we came to end and how we should savour every one that comes afterwards.

Bizarre Away Trip of the Decade 
Hitching a lift off BBC Lincolnshire's Scott Dalton is always an experience - as you get to see everything in slow motion as he's overtaken by Maureen off Driving School et al.
Saying that, driving up to Durham to have a glass of coke and listen to the wind was bonkers, as was sitting next to Brian Kilkline at Huddersfield and taking him on in the (former Soccer AM event) arm-wrestle challenge. Moral victory for me!Hereford away in the FA Cup was probably the most bizarre as Steve Evans dragged the press into the away dressing room. There we were greeted by a live cable dangling from the ceiling next to the shower and, in the shower, Jason Lee dangling.... well, enough of that!


Tinpot Dump of the Decade 
KC Stadium - absolutely horrible. Can't be higher than a grade C? That or Precot Cables.


Burger of the Decade 
Dunmore Burger - every other Saturday! You can always ensure you're stuffed in a good way, unlike your team!

Have YOU got a memory, player or horrifying moment you wish to SHARE with the world, or, at the very least, the eight regular readers of this unofficial websitey thing? Then don't hesitate to fire up your e-mail, if you can remember what that is in this, the age of MyTwitterbook, and send some words to us, like, NOW

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