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Boston United Squad 1998/9

Steve Evans in action! STEVE EVANS Manager

Appointed manager in October 98, following the resignation of Greg Fee. Previously manager of Dr. Martens Midland Division side Stamford AFC, where he enjoyed huge success, bringing them the United Counties League Title in both 96/7 and 97/8 and promotion to the Dr. Martens League. This thirty five year old Scot began his playing career with Bolton Wanderers, but he soon moved back north of the border to play for Clyde and then Ayr United. He was forced to give up playing football at the age of twenty eight, by a cruciate knee-ligament injury.

PAUL BASTOCK b. 19/5/70 Goalkeeper

Born: Leamington Spa
Now lives: Boston
Status: Married to Ann
Children: Laura and Callum
Occupation: Care Assistant
Previous clubs: Coventry City, Cambridge United, Sabah(Malaysia), Fisher Athletic, Kettering Town.

Paul is one of the most highly regarded goalkeepers in non-league football and is now in his seventh season with the club after joining United from Kettering Town in 92-3.

Paul Bastock
As he used to live a few miles down the road from Birmingham it is no surprise that he supports Birmingham City. Paul believes that you should support your local team. "Bazza" enjoyed his schooldays although he came away with no qualifications, as he spent most of his final year training with Coventry City.

Paul is one of the few United players to have settled locally, working as a care assistant at Willoughby Grange Nursing Home and living in the town with wife Ann (a Bostonian), and children Laura and Callum. He said "becoming a father has changed me because I have grown up and steadied down and it has taught me a lot about myself."

Away from football his main priority is his family but he also likes to play golf and snooker. One of the sporting events outside football Paul would like to go and see is the Ryder Cup.

It is not surprising that when he was younger he admired Peter Shilton and Neville Southall and nowadays one of his favourite players is Chris Woods, all great international goalkeepers in their time.

During the earlier part of his career Paul spent six months playing football in Malaysia, which he enjoyed considerably. He said it was a fantastic experience, but the standard was only about Vauxhall Conference level.

Paul's advice to any youngsters who want to make a career in football is to get an education and prepare for the high points when they come because you can suffer a lot more low points.

After "Bazza" has finished playing football he would like to coach boys football teams. He says that an advantage of being a footballer is that you become a bit of a personality and you get a lot of free time, but a disadvantage is that you never get to celebrate at Christmas and the New Year.

Paul does have a superstition, which is that he does everything three times, for example if the ball is coming towards him in a game he will touch his gloves three times.

When asked what he thought about the Boston fans he said: "The majority are critical, but the youth element of the crowd are the supportive ones. They all pay their money so they are entitled to have their say." Paul also said he would like to hear the fans get behind the team more. He would like to be remembered as a steady goalkeeper who was always committed to the team.

Nick Maddison NICK MADDISON Goalkeeper

Outstanding 17 year old reserve keeper who was a member of the "Football For Life" squad last season. Achieved celebrity status after saving three penalties in the Lincolnshire Services League Cup Final last season.

JOBY GOWSHALL b. 7/8/75 Defender

Born: Louth, Lincs
Now lives: Alford, Lincs
Status: Single
Children: None
Occupation: Builder
Previous clubs: Grimsby Town, Lincoln City.

Joby Gowshall
One of the local younger, players who has managed to secure a regular first team place, is Joby Gowshall who joined us from Lincoln City. Joby said that he left Lincoln because he didn't enjoy his time there, and he wasn't guaranteed a place in the first team. He is enjoying his time with United because he has become regular in the starting eleven, and with his rich vein of goalscoring that situation shouldn't alter in the foreseeable future!

At school, he enjoyed sport and thinks that he did "alright" as he came away with five GCSE qualifications. Joby's favourite football team is Leeds United, who he has supported since he was a boy. His footballing hero is Diego Maradona.

Away from football he likes to socialise and eat out. After finishing playing football Joby would like to establish a career in the fire service. The sporting event Joby would like to go and see is the World Cup.

His advice to a youngster wanting to make a career in football is :- "Work hard, believe in yourself and enjoy it." Joby says that an advantage of playing football is winning games, but a disadvantage is that you can't celebrate Christmas or New Year as others who have less commitments are able to.

Talking of commitments, you'd be hard - pressed to find any player in any team, with a more dedicated attitude to playing attractive, successful football. And United fans can count their blessings that they are currently benefiting from this exciting player.

Darren Clyde DARREN CLYDE b. 26/3/76 Defender

Born in Limavady in Northern Ireland. Recently returned to York Street after spending a two month loan period with "The Pilgrims" in the 1996-97 season. Last season had spells with Gateshead and Emley.


Another product of the highly successful "Football For Life" scheme. Danny is from London, but he moved to Boston to take part in the scheme and quickly became a prominent figure in the "Academy" setup. Last season he captained this youth side to victory in the Lincolnshire Services League Cup Final, which led to him signing a contract with "The Pilgrims" for this season.

Danny Seager

Len Curtis LEN CURTIS b. 2/1/73 Defender

Born: Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
Now lives: Sheffield
Status: Girlfriend, Jane.
Children: None
Occupation: Sales Rep.
Previous clubs: Leeds United, Rotherham United, Shamrock Rovers, Stalybridge Celtic.

"Work very, very hard and be dedicated", is Len Curtis' advice to someone who wants to pursue a career in football. This attitude has clearly been seen in his own very impressive performances for Boston United since he joined us in November 97.

Len started his career with Leeds United (where he became friends with ex-United Manager Mel Sterland), and after a spell at Rotherham, Len returned to the Republic of Ireland to play for Premier Division side Shamrock Rovers. He returned to England and moved to Sheffield, so he could see his girlfriend more often. As he said "We were commuting between Sheffield and Dublin which wasn't easy, I like it here (in England) and have become very settled". After spending some time playing at Stalybridge, Len contacted Greg Fee who was now the United Manager, who invited him to come and play for us. Since his arrival at the club he has found he likes the club a great deal, and considers the players are looked after as well as a Conference side.

Len says that an advantage of being a footballer is that you get great enjoyment out of playing the game. But a disadvantage he says is :-"that playing at Non-League level it is hard to have a good job, because you often have to have afternoons off to be able to travel to midweek away fixtures".

Away from football he likes to play golf and he has a handicap of nine. As he likes to play golf Len would like to play in the U.S. Masters. He would also like to play Gaelic Football in an all Ireland Final in Dublin.

His favourite football team is Arsenal whom he first watched in 1979 when they reached the F.A. Cup Final, his Dad is also a supporter of "The Gunners". Len had a chance as a youngster to sign YTS forms with the Highbury outfit, as well as Queens Park Rangers. However his father told him not to sign, but to carry on with his education and take his A-Levels to give him something to fall back on if he didn't make it as a footballer. These were wise words from Mr. Curtis Senior as Len added three A-Level passes in English, French and Accountancy to his total of nine GCSE passes.

After he has finished playing football Len would like to remain associated with the game in an off the field capacity.

MARTIN HARDY b. 12/12/62 Defender

Born: Worksop
Now lives: Worksop
Status: Married to Tracie
Children: Luke
Occupation: Fork Truck Instructor
Previous clubs: Notts County, Worksop Town, Matlock Town.

Genuine clubmen are always well appreciated by Pilgrims' followers and Martin Hardy is one such person. Joining United in 1988 from Worksop Town for 10,000 - a huge amount in those days - he was one of a number of "big money" signings for United at that time.

Martin Hardy
However United's investment in Martin was money well spent as it has resulted in many years sterling service to the club. He has been present ever since, except for one season when released by manager Peter Morris but quickly returned to the club, to the supporters' delight, following Morris's departure.

Martin's philosophy towards football is always give 100% and be dedicated - which is probably why he is so well appreciated by the supporters. No doubt his commendable attitude comes from his boyhood following of Liverpool and their own legend, and his hero, Tommy Smith.

At school Martin enjoyed games and left with two O-Level qualifications in Geography and Technical Drawing.

Away from football Martin likes to play golf and to spend time with his son Luke.

Many people know Martin's nickname is "Tex" but where did it come from? After taking much time and trouble of finding out (I asked him!) here is his answer: "There was a group of us who used to go into a pub in Sheffield, but it closed down for refurbishment so we had to go somewhere else. We went into a posh winebar and I was wearing a checked shirt, jeans and riding boots everybody turned round and thought I looked like a cowboy and that's where the nickname came from."

Tex started his footballing career with Notts County where he spent three years. He then moved onto Worksop Town. He said that at the time he was disappointed that he didn't make it as a Professional footballer, but now looking back he doesn't have any regrets. He enjoys playing Non-League football and one of the benefits he has received playing at this level is that he has toured with Middlesex Wanderers and has represented the FA.

Martin's passion on the field is shown in his physical assault on whoever scores for United. This leads to Pilgrims' goal celebrations often being a manoeuvre in "Tex - avoidance!"

Martin is the club captain and was recently awarded a deserved testimonial.

Ian Stringfellow IAN STRINGFELLOW b. 8/5/69 Midfield

Ian Stringfellow joined Mansfield Town as an apprentice and soon graduated to the first team. After making over 160 League appearances for the Stags he was transferred to Kettering Town for £5,000 in 1994. He only stayed with the Poppies for a year before going to Dagenham and Redbridge, then King's Lynn, where he was top scorer in 96/7. He scored on his debut for the Pilgrims.


Local lad signed two seasons ago from King's Lynn. Joined Peterborough United straight from school, making two first team appearances. Moved onto King's Lynn FC before joining The Pilgrims in December 1996. He became a regular member of the first team with some impressive performances and some important goals.

Andrew Stanhope

Mark Melson MARK MELSON Utility

Born in Boston. Another product of the reserve side who has always done well in the first team colours. Outstanding control and ball skills and possesses an explosive long range shot.

STEVE APPLEBY b. 24/5/67 Midfield

Local lad Steve joined his home town club in the 1994-95 season after previously playing in the Conference for Kettering Town and captaining UCL side Bourne Town. Voted "Player of the Year" in his first season and again last season. He is clearly a big favourite with the fans who appreciate his non-stop efforts. Has also played for an FA XI against the Combined Services.

Steve Appleby

Steve Charles STEVE CHARLES b. 10/5/60 Utility

Born: Sheffield
Now lives: Dronfield near Sheffield
Status: Married to Cheryl
Children: Jonathan and Rachel
Occupation: Sports Science Lecturer
Previous clubs: Sheffield United, Wrexham, Mansfield Town, Scunthorpe United, Scarborough, Stalybridge Celtic.

Steve Charles started at Boston United by scoring three goals in as many games, continuing his rich vein of goalscoring which made him leading scorer for Stalybridge Celtic in 96/7. It also vindicated Greg Fee's signing of this vastly experienced midfielder, with whom he and Chris Withe were team-mates at Mansfield Town. He was United's top scorer last season.

Steve left school, which he enjoyed, with nine O-Levels and four A-Levels. He has also gained a Degree in Maths, a Diploma in Marketing and a Masters Degree in Sports Science.

He started his career with Sheffield United, because of this he has supported them ever since. It is not surprising then that one of his favourite players of all time is Tony Currie, whom he admires because of the skill he possessed when playing. Steve's other favourite player is Johnny Giles formerly of Leeds United.

Away from football Steve enjoys playing any racket sport, swimming, and spending time with his family. Steve would like to keep playing football for as long as he can, and he has already surpassed the length of career most players achieve.

Having played in the GM Vauxhall Conference, I asked Steve what he thought the difference was in the way the game is played between the Conference and the feeder leagues. He said that players had more time with the ball, whereas in the feeder leagues players are on to you a lot quicker, and the football played seems more end to end as well.

Steve has been reasonably satisfied with his performances for "The Pilgrims", but it took a couple of games for him to settle as he was unfamiliar with the system that was being played. He also thought he was lacking in match fitness, as he had not played as often as he would have wished prior to coming to York Street.

After finishing last season as top scorer, one wonders what kind of performances we're going to witness when he's back up to top form.......

LEIGH TAYLOR b. 30/4/81 Utility

Towards the end of the 1996-97 season, Boston United were chosen as one of a select band of clubs in the country to pioneer the unique "Football for Life" scheme. The scheme is run under the guidance of Bedford College and gives young footballers the chance to play football with a semi-professional club and also study for a Diploma in Sports Science. Boston United attracted youngsters from as far away as London, Ipswich, Barnsley and Melton Mowbray, as well as quite a number of local lads. Most have already made an appearance for the reserve team and one player who has made his first team debut is teenager Leigh Taylor.

Leigh Taylor
Leigh is a local lad who has rapidly graduated from Nortoft Boys and Wyberton Colts via the "Football for Life" scheme into United's reserve team side and finally made it into the first team in January 98, aged just sixteen. He has also represented the Lincs Under 15 team.

He said that he was astounded when he found out he would be making his full first team debut in the match against Guiseley. But he did say that he was quite satisfied with his performance for the Pilgrims and that his Mum and Dad thought he played really well. Leigh would love to become a first team regular and this aspiration could well be realised if his impressive debut is followed by equally impressive repeat performances.

When I asked Leigh how he got on with the first team players he said: "They made me very welcome, and I got on really well with them." Leigh's favourite football team is Liverpool, explaining he supports them because they play exciting football. It is probably no surprise then that his favourite footballer is Paul Ince because "he works very hard at his game."

Gary Childs GARY CHILDS b. 19/4/64 Midfield

Signed mid-season following his dismissal as player manager at Wisbech Town. Childs took the "Fenmen" to the Second Round Proper of the FA Cup last season and was Dr Martens Midland Division Manager of the Month for August at the start of this season, but the club's good form was not maintained resulting in his departure. Childs started his footballing career with West Bromwich Albion before moving on to play for Walsall, Birmingham City and Grimsby. In total he made over 400 League appearances and scored 45 goals.

PAUL WATTS b. 11/4/78 Forward

Born: Pontefract
Now lives: Skegness
Status: Single
Children: None
Occupation: Student
Previous clubs: Grantham Town

During the past couple of years Skegness Grammar School has been the source of a number of possible stars of the future. John Oster, who joined Grimsby Town, moved to FA Carling Premiership side Everton, where he has already played for them a number of times. Simon Armstrong, who was also with the Pilgrims, was signed up by Nationwide Division One side Port Vale. The third, Paul Watts is still with Boston United .... could he go on to greater things?.

Paul Watts
Paul enjoyed his schooldays and left with six GCSEs and a GNVQ Advanced qualification, which is the equivalent to two A-Levels. He is now studying Sports Science and Coaching at Lincoln College.

In 1996 Paul was picked to represent Lincolnshire at the English Schools' Footballing Festival at Lowestoft. Whilst he was there he impressed the England U-18 Schoolboys' coach and was picked to play for them, only to find out that he was a few days too old to represent them.

Away from Football and studying at College, in his spare time Paul likes to socialise with his friends.

When I asked him what advice he would give to a youngster who was thinking of making a career out of football / sport he replied: "You've got to stick at it, work hard and always listen to advice". He says that the transition from playing in the Reserve team to playing in the First team was hard because the UniBond League is a lot quicker and more physical than the Lincolnshire League. But he thinks that the appearances that he has made for the First team have been steady and competent.

Paul's favourite football team is Liverpool - he was brought up on a diet of the Anfield outfit as his father is an avid fan of "The Reds". Paul's hero was Ian Rush and he would like nothing more than to be able to emulate the goal-scoring feats of this lethal striker, if given a sustained run of first team appearances for "The Pilgrims".

Last season was going well for him until he was stretchered off after starring in the local derby game at Gainsborough Trinity on New Years Day. Although he played towards the end off the season, Paul was far from match fit but impressive pre-season form has shown that he's back to his best. One to watch!

Richard Mason RICHARD MASON b. 5/6/77 Utility

Born: Sheffield
Now lives: Dronfield near Sheffield
Status: Single
Children: None
Occupation: Footballer and helps out at family business (dog's body!)
Previous clubs: Sheffield Wednesday, Chesterfield, Hednesford Town.

Richard left school with five GCSEs at A to C grades and gained a BTEC National Diploma in Business Management whilst at Sheffield Wednesday. He also supports "The Owls" because they are his local team.

When asked how he spent his spare time away from football he said he liked to socialise with his friends, listen to Dance and R+B music and also spend time with his girlfriend.

Throughout his childhood he always had ambitions to be a footballer and if he wasn't paid to play football now he still would play. His hero when he was younger was Stuart Pearce.

The best piece of advice he has been given was to keep his feet on the ground. Richard's own piece of advice to a youngster who wanted to make a career in football or sport in general is to Listen, Learn and Practice.

When he has finished playing football Richard would like to go into management or coaching or management of some capacity.

When asked the question "What would your reaction be to a spectator who was continually picking on you because you were having a particularly bad day on the field?", He replied "Well there's no point in taking it personally so I would blow them a kiss!".

First joined The Pilgrims towards the end of the 1995-96 season on loan from Sheffield Wednesday. After being released by The Owls, United moved quickly to secure his signature. After being a regular for almost all of the 1996-97 season he decided to join Hednesford Town in the Vauxhall Conference prior to the transfer deadline. During the pre-season the Pilgrims received notification that he was available and quickly tied up the loose ends to bring him back to York Street. A serious ankle injury saw him miss the second half of last season. He has represented the FA XI against the NPL and the Combined Services.

PETER COSTELLO b. 31/10/69 Forward

Signed after returning from a spell in Hong Kong. Previously with Bradford City (where he played with Greg Abbott!), Rochdale, Peterborough United, Lincoln City and Kettering Town. Has made over 100 League appearances, scoring 19 goals.

Peter Costello

Matt Carmichael MATT CARMICHAEL b. 13/5/64 Forward

Matt Carmichael started his footballing career playing for Basingstoke Town whilst in the Army, but was bought out to sign up with Lincoln City. He made over 100 League appearance for the Imps before moving on to Scunthorpe United, Barnet, Preston North End and Darlington. He then moved into Non-League football by signing for Aylesbury United, but after one season switched to Ilkeston Town, helping them to the runners up spot in the Dr. Martens Midland Division in 97/8. He joined Stamford at the start of this season and followed their manager Steve Evans to York Street when Evans took charge of the Pilgrims. He scored on his debut for the Pilgrims.


Young striker signed from Nationwide Conference side Rushden and Diamonds. He scored on his debut for the Pilgrims.

Mark Rawle

Neil Featherstone NEIL FEATHERSTONE Forward

Made his debut for the reserves last season and looked destined for first team action before injury side-lined him for two months. Nevertheless returned to fitness and form by the end of the season and is looking to make the breakthrough this season. A bustling striker with a good turn of pace.


Ross Nicholls showed lots of potential last season whilst in the "Football for Life" team and has been a member of the first team squad on quite a few occasions this year. Hailing from the Ipswich area Ross has now settled in Boston and would like to become a regular first team player.

Ross Nicholls

Joe Vaughan JOE VAUGHAN Forward

Another product of The Pilgrims' reserve side. Made a few Unibond appearances as substitute towards the end of the 1997/7 season. He now works on CMS Sports as a football coach as well as appearing in a rock band.

TREVOR QUOW b. 28/9/60 Assistant Player Manager

A defender brought to the club by Steve Evans to become assistant manager following Chris Cook's retirement. Formerly with Peterborough United, Gillingham and Northampton Town, playing over 350 League games and scoring 22 goals. Had a spell in Hong Kong before returning to England in 1996 to join up with Steve Evans at Stamford, where he played in the club's championship winning sides.


Signed mid season from Peterborough local league side Deeping Rangers.


Born: Halifax
Now lives: Worksop
Status: Married
Children: Four Daughters
Occupation: Territory Manager with BP Oils
Previous clubs: Sheffield Wednesday, Mansfield Town, Chesterfield, Preston North End, Leyton Orient, Kettering Town.

Greg Fee became player/manager of Boston United at the start of last season. He says that it is harder being a player/manager, rather than just being one of "the boys". As a player he would just have to prepare himself before a match, as a manager he now has to motivate and prepare all the other players for the forthcoming match as well as trying to bring in new players.

Greg Fee
Greg says that he doesn't style himself on any particular manager, but he does try and use the things that worked well for the managers he has worked under in the past, who include Ron Atkinson and ex-Boston United player/manager, now Technical Director for the FA, Howard Wilkinson.

Wilkinson has said that in the near future, he would like most football clubs to run footballing academies for youngsters. Boston United are one of only a few clubs who run a scheme like this, called the "Football For Life" scheme. Greg agreed that this is a very good policy, and as long as "The Pilgrims" and local businesses support it, it will benefit both the football club and the town in the future.

Every Saturday Greg looks out for both Manchester United's and Sheffield Wednesday's results. He has supported Man. Utd since he was a youngster and "The Owls" because he played for them.

He names Ray Wilkins as a player he admired when he was younger, though these days he doesn't favour one particular player as he admires so many. (These include Ian Wright and Alan Shearer. He admires them because he believes that a striker's position is hard to play in and he also thinks they do extremely well.)

One of Greg's other favourite players is Tony Adams, because he plays in a similar position to himself. He also likes his style of play because he is strong, competitive and he dictates moves on the football field.

Away from football, Greg doesn't have much spare time, but if he did he would like to play golf. His favoured sporting event that he would like to go and see away from football is "The Open".

When I asked him to name an advantage and a disadvantage of being a footballer, he replied: "An advantage of being a footballer is that it is great sport to be involved in - there's a great team spirit and you make new friends, plus it's very sociable. A disadvantage is that sometimes you lose."

His best piece of advice for a youngster wanting to make a career in football is: "that you've got to be single minded, and work harder when things aren't going well for you".

Greg would like to be remembered favourably by "The Pilgrims" fans in that he has given his all in his attempts to benefit and progress the club.

Appointed player-manager in May 1996 after captaining "The Pilgrims" to the runners-up spot in 1995-96. Greg re-joined the Pilgrims for the second time at the start of 1993-94 season. He was originally signed from Kettering Town in 1986. He then moved onto Sheffield Wednesday for a fee of 20,000 during the 1987-88 season. In four seasons at Hillsborough, Greg made 26 first team appearances and had loan spells with Preston, Northampton and Orient before moving onto Mansfield Town in the 1990-91 season to make over sixty appearances in their colours.

Danny Marshall DANNY MARSHALL b. 18/12/75 Midfield RELEASED BY THE CLUB

Born: Newark
Now lives: Balderton
Status: Single
Children: None
Occupation: Children's Playworker
Previous clubs: Notts County, Chesterfield.

Danny Marshall is a name that has appeared under the Boston United banner for a few seasons now, but mainly in connection with the "second string".

It is only recently that this Newark based lad has become more associated with "The Pilgrims" UniBond League squad - albeit mainly on the bench - something which he feels very frustrating as he feels he could do a very good job and desperately wants to play regularly for the team.

Danny came to York Street through a recommendation from Chesterfield when his contract there expired. A Midlands based person he enjoyed his time at school - a fact proven by the attainment of nine GCSEs and three A-Levels - but he says he "doesn't particularly like England" and wants to travel the world when his footballing career is over.

Coming from the East Midlands, it's not surprising his favourite club is Nottingham Forest and his childhood hero was Gary Lineker, whom he classes as a "legend".

Like most young men of his age Danny likes to "go clubbing" with his mates when he can, but there seems to be another level to his personality, which isn't altogether easily forthcoming, but is glimpsed when he answered my question of "What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given". His reply was "Don't trust anyone....."


Joined "The Pilgrims" during the pre-season after leaving Gresley Rovers where he was last season's "Player of the Year" and "Player's Player of the Year". Has quickly made an impact after some impressive displays. Previously with Notts County, Ilkeston Town and Macclesfield Town.

Brian Horseman


Darren first joined the club in the 1992-93 season from UCL side Bourne Town where he had been a prolific goalscorer. Darren is equally at home playing down the centre or wide on the left. In September 1995 he left the club to join Beazer Homes Leagues side, King's Lynn but after failing to settle down he returned to York Street in March 96 and scored some important goals that helped United achieve the runners-up spot. After failing to maintain a first team place he left the Pilgrims again to play for Grantham Town, but soon moved on to Unibond League Division One side Lincoln United, where he was top scorer last season. He is also a talented cricketer.

CHRIS COOK b. 19/5/62 Assistant Manager RETIRED

Born: Tidworth, Hampshire. (Dad was stationed at Bulford, Wiltshire)
Now lives: Fishtoft near Boston
Status: Married to Mandy
Children: Hayley and Nathan
Occupation: Self Employed Printer
Previous clubs: Boston United from 1978 to 1991, spent one month on loan to Altrincham in 1990. Left United to join King's Lynn for six months before joining Boston FC. Came back to United five years ago to jointly manage the Reserve side with Dick Creasey.

Chris Cook
Not many football players can say that they have stayed with one football team for most of their career. One player within the Pilgrims' ranks certainly can. Chris Cook joined Boston United as a 16 year old, now at 35 years of age he is still playing for us, having put in seventeen years of service with only one short two year break away from the club. During his footballing career Chris has enjoyed quite a few high points. These include Bob Lee's last minute goal against Altrincham in the home leg of the 1985 FA Trophy semi-final that sent the Pilgrims to Wembley, then the Final itself in which he scored.

As a youngster Chris supported Liverpool (he still does today), he said that most of his friends supported Leeds United and as he didn't like Leeds he chose Liverpool. It's probably not surprising that his hero then was Kevin Keegan because he thought he worked hard and always gave 100% effort. Nowadays, although he hates saying it, he admires Manchester United for the way they play.

Since joining the Pilgrims as a striker, Chris has worked his way up the ladder to become Assistant Player-Manager. It is a job which he enjoys but he doesn't like to think of himself as a manager. He enjoys being the go-between between the players and Greg. When asked whether it is harder being a player-manager than just a player he said "Yes, because you tend to concentrate on everybody else's performance and it takes a lot away from your own. But I still think it is enjoyable to be playing".

Chris is also in charge of the "Football for Life" scheme. He thinks the youngsters think of him as a "nasty git", but he is only trying to make them better players.

Chris feels that in the last three years United have played some superb football at times, but he went on to say: "The fans expect it every minute of the game, but it isn't possible. Players make mistakes like everybody, they don't go out on the field to play badly. Encouragement goes a long way to lifting a player. Overall United are lucky to have such a loyal following as we do, but when people are paying an entrance fee they are entitled to have their say".

Looking back, Chris has had a "brilliant" seventeen years at the club and he would like to thank most of the supporters for their encouragement towards himself. He would also like his relationship with the club and the supporters to carry on for as long as possible.

Chris has given tremendous service to the club with over 500 first team appearances and in excess of 150 goals. Chris was granted a testimonial in the 1989-90 season. He eventually left York Street for spells with Altrincham, King's Lynn and Boston Town before "coming home" to jointly manage the newly established reserve team five years ago. However midway through the 1994-95 season, he made a fairytale return to first team action scoring the winner in a 1-0 away win at Matlock. Since then he has seen regular first team action and added further goals to his tally. Appointed assistant manager at the start the 1996-97 season. Last season, Chris took on responsibility for the club's new "Football For Life" scheme.

Simon Bailey SIMON BAILEY b. 31/5/75 Forward MOVED TO BOSTON TOWN

Another product of the reserve side who has now forced his way into the first team reckoning after finishing last season as top scorer in the reserves. A very quick player with a good eye for goal, Simon has always acquitted himself well when he has been called into the first team. His partnership in the Lincolnshire League with Neil Featherstone made them the most feared pair of strikers in the league as they notched over fifty goals together.


Signed from Shrewsbury Town where he made 67 Football League appearances. Hugely experienced player having appeared in the colours of Newcastle United, Bradford City, Notts County, Mansfield Town and Bury. Voted "Player of the Year" and "Players' Player of the Year" in 96/7.

Chris Withe

Dave Venables DAVE VENABLES b. 6/11/67 Midfield MOVED TO STAMFORD AFC

Dave Venables was signed from Cambridge City after having a loan period with Stamford. Venables started his footballing career with Eastbourne United, before moving on to Crawley Town, Wealdstone and Stevenage Borough. He helped Borough to promotion to the Conference and then a Conference title. He gained five England semi-professional caps whilst playing for Stevenage before signing up with Kettering Town for £9,000.


Signed as cover for injured Paul Bastock. Dickins began his career with Sheffield United before signing up with Lincoln City in 1991. He was transferred to Blackburn for £250,000 in March 1992, but only made one first team appearance for them. Had loan spells at Blackpool, Rochdale, Grimsby and Stockport before joining Altrincham at the start of the 96/7 season.


Seventeen year old trainee wingback. Signed up on loan for a month from Peterborough United. Has represented Wales at Under 21 level. Peterborough have turned down six figure bids for him.


Born in Ipswich, this much travelled striker and ex-England Under 21 International was signed from Northampton Town. He started his professional career with Norwich City before moving on to play for Stoke City, Ipswich, Bristol City, Birmingham City, Burnley, Shrewsbury Town, Walsall, Peterborough United and Ayr United. Made over 250 Football League appearances scoring more than 30 goals. Had a £325,000 price tag when he joined Birmingham City in August 91.

Player interviews by: Becky Thompson.

Photographs copyright © Ken Fox, 1998.

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