Boston FC, as they have been known for most of their existence, were formed in 1964.
They were born after a row over money matters which led to Boston United opting out of senior non-league football. Until then, United had been the only serious club in town. And The Pilgrims had enjoyed a proud record, famously beating Derby County 6-1 in the FA Cup in 1955.
But the furore of 1964 left a sour taste in the mouths of many football fans in South Lincolnshire.
They backed the new club, formed after a public meeting in the Assembly Rooms. Briefly, Boston FC were literally the only club in town. United fielded a scratch side in the Boston League, while their manager Paul Todd and some of the players defected to the new club. The Pilgrims did then return to the senior scene when they bizarrely joined the West Midlands (Regional) League in 1966-67. But many true football fans vowed never to go back to The Pilgrims even though they were subsequently to rise to a higher level of football.
FC first played in the Lincs League and Central Alliance League, both of which they won, the Lincs League in 1964-65 and the Central Alliance in 1965-66. After two seasons in the Eastern Counties League, the joined the Midland League. Former Derby, Mansfield and Newcastle striker Bill Curry brought them the title in 1974-75 in a dramatic end to the season. Eastwood needed to win their last match at Skegness to deprive FC, who had played all their fixtures. Skegness were 3-1 up at half-time but Eastwood pulled it back to 3-3 and even pushed their keeper forward in the final minutes in a bid to snatch the victory they needed. But Bill left the following season even though FC reached the two-legged final of the Midland League Cup, only to lose to Frickley. Bill was replaced by Bob Duncan, one of the players he had brought to the club. A PE teacher at Boston Grammar School, Bob continued to play at right back as well as being manager and ushered the club to one of their most memorable eras.
On November 20, 1976 Boston FC played away at Barnsley, then a promotion-hunting Fourth Division club. FC had made it through to the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time after beating Stamford, King’s Lynn, Bourne and Bangor en route. Undaunted by a 6,000 plus crowd and talented opponents boasting Neil Warnock, Brian Joicey and Peter Springett in their side, they had the audacity to open the scoring and lead 1-0 at half-time. Mick Daley’s cartwheel celebration after he put FC in the lead is one of the most vivid images in the club’s history. In the end, we went down 3-1 but comedian Charlie Williams, one of the club’s directors, was among those who paid glowing tribute to FC’s performance. The end of that season some more silverware arriving at Tattershall Road, with FC triumphing 2-1 on aggregate against Alfreton in the Midland League Cup Final.
The 1978-79 season saw FC champions again in similar nailbiting circumstances involving Skegness. This time, Skegness had to win away at lowly Retford in the last game after FC had played all their matches, but lost 2-0. FC then won the Lincs Senior A Cup three times in a row in 1979-80, 80-81 and 81-82. The 1979-80 season saw a thrilling FA Trophy run in which they beat Heanor, AP Leamington, Oxford City and holders Stafford Rangers before losing to Mossley in a replay. The Midland League title was won for a third time in 1980-81 by a commanding 13 points over second-placed Alfreton.
But with non-league football being restructured, the Midland League was disbanded and FC joined the Northern Counties East League. It wasn’t a successful period, with FC rarely finishing in the top half of the new league, which was dominated by new names like Shepshed Charter-house as well as Yorkshire sides like Thackley, Guiseley and Emley. Bob Duncan left to become manager at Grantham Town from 1983 to 1985. It wasn’t a bad move - not long after Bob left the club, Grantham offered the hot seat to a certain Martin O’Neill. It was his first job in management and he went on to achieve success with Wycombe, Leicester and Celtic.
At Tattershall Road there followed a bewildering succession of bosses at Tattershall Road including Percy Freeman, Trevor Thompson, Steve Rogers and Martyn Boyers. FC even tried the unthinkable and gave the job to Boston United icon Jim Kabia! But the ship was steadied with the arrival of Bill Brindley. Just two years after the ignominy of finishing bottom of the Northern Counties East in 1986-87, FC enjoyed another title triumph – this time becoming champions of the Central Midlands League Supreme Division which they had joined the previous season.
The 1990s saw the club enter another new era, joining the United Counties League in 1990-91 for the first time. Bob Duncan returned to the helm, this time glorying in his proper name of Bob Don-Duncan - it seems footballers aren’t allowed double-barrelled names, except perhaps Ian Storey-Moore. And in 1994-95, FC – now re-christened Town - won the United Counties League for the first time, pipping Cogenhoe on goal difference on the last day of the season with a 3-0 win at Mirlees Blackstone.
A year earlier The Poachers had come agonisingly close to making an appearance at Wembley.
Having switched to the FA Vase from the FA Trophy 1984, Town enjoyed little success for their first decade in the junior competition. But then in 1993 they embarked on a fabulous run. Town recorded a string of memorable wins despite being given three consecutive tough away draws against Radcliffe Borough, Arlesey Town and Whitehawk. Facing us in the semi-final were Taunton Town. A 1-0 away defeat in the first leg left the tie in the balance but sadly Town went down by the same scoreline in the return match in front of a bumper crowd at Tattershall Road.
The 2000-2001 season ended with another enthralling climax. This time, Town pipped Cogenhoe on the last day of the season. It had been nip and tuck between the two clubs and Raunds throughout most of the campaign. On the very last day, the Poachers needed only a point from their final match at Buckingham to edge out Cogenhoe, whose final fixture was against Kempston. At one stage in the second half, the Cooks were 2-0, with Town still at 0-0. A Ross Don-Duncan penalty spot looked to have assured the Poachers the title but then two goals from Buckingham left them desperately searching for an equaliser with just minutes to go. Remarkably, Ian Shooter grabbed the all-important goal in stoppage time and a further seven minutes were played before Bob Don-Duncan’s men could celebrate.