It’s the hope that kills you, the saying goes. If only it were that simple. Hope doesn’t always slay its enemies cleanly, or fairly. Sometimes, hope is the malicious, Machiavellian villain lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to sidle up beside you and whisper bone-chilling words in your ear before getting to work with its medieval weaponry. Hope is every gruesome scene out of Final Destination. Hope kills you most hideously you didn’t even know it was there.
FAILURE IS AN OPTION All of which is a somewhat wordy way of saying that Terrace Chatter didn’t take defeat at Chester at all well and has, in case you haven’t noticed, been stewing on it ever since – and I’m still not really over the FA Cup defeat there 22 years ago. Why was it such a painful one? It was only in hindsight that I understood I was confident our recent decent run (which is to say we’d won two games in a row) had instilled in me a misplaced confidence that we were definitely going to the play-offs. And then the match happened. It didn’t go well. In fact, it went very badly. Last weekend’s blank weekend didn’t help matters either, leaving Boston United fans bereft of something to keep them occupied to dwell on an emphatic defeat in what had been billed as a test of the club’s play-off credentials. And no-one’s failed an exam that badly since the time I nearly ran a cyclist over on Tawney Street on my driving test.
SILVER LININGS On the plus side, Boston United get an opportunity to redeem themselves today against Telford, a club who’ve enjoyed (if that’s the right word, and it probably isn’t) a season not too dissimilar to our own – one in which a decent win one week is followed by deflating defeat the next. One striking difference, though, is their impressive run through to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy where they’ll face Leyton Orient over two legs later this month. Orient, of course, are embroiled in an intriguing tussle for the National League title involving as many as six teams (if you think Salford can put a run together) and today’s visitors will no doubt be hoping such distractions could help them pull off a major cup shock. It would be a poignant one too given the old Telford United’s success in the Trophy back in the late 80s, so is it too much to hope for their reformed successors, desperate to rekindle memories of their illustrious ancestors, might be distracted themselves today? Perhaps hope will be in a less murderous mood today.
PLANNING AHEAD Craig Elliott has again been busy signing more players – except this time it isn’t a steady stream of new faces but a cast of familiar ones being tied down to another season here at the Jakemans. It’s a welcome development: few would argue that the constant churn of players this season has been a good thing even if it was a necessary reaction to last summer’s transfers not really working out as everyone hoped. The extensions handed to Jay Rollins and George Willis are particularly exciting given their excellent form in recent games, and with a modest “core” already signed up for 2019/2020 the manager can now spend more time identifying players who can come in and help Boston make a more consistent challenge next season. After months of short term loan signings and frequent arrivals and departures, it’s a welcome and very positive step in the right direction.
FIRST MAN A few weeks back in Wyberton, with daylight fading fast and with an hour to kill, Terrace Chatter took a stroll down Tytton Lanes West and East to the mud-caked intersection with the A16 and from there a short walk down to a large building site: to the right the half-finished Quadrant housing development, and to the left, across the new pedestrian crossing, the site of the new stadium. A footpath runs along the southern edge of the site and from there it’s possible to get a good view of what will one day be our new home. In truth, aside from a mostly-completed retail unit there’s not much to see. Some new drains. Some foundations for one of the new stands. A couple of cabins for site staff. And lots of sand, mud and weeds. Magnificent desolation. Which is fine as the trip was mostly intended to see how far it was from my base in Wyberton rather than an expedition prompted by architectural intrigue. But while I was down there my phone buzzed to tell me Gavin Allott had scored against Nuneaton, at which I pumped my fist in the air and my yelled “Get in, Boston!” echoed around the eerily empty plot. First person to celebrate a Boston goal at the new stadium? I’m claiming the honour.
Enjoy the game.
This article originally appeared in The Pilgrim matchday magazine. The game ended 2-2 in front of 993 fans.