BROWNE ON THE BALL: Eccentric, reliable and with a big egg-head... 650 reasons to celebrate Paul Bastock

Paul Bastock makes a save on his return for United at Solihull Moors last season. Below: He can do nothing to stop Warren Peyton's free kick in last season's play-off semi-finals but blocks Mansfield's Liam Lawrence during the Football League era.

Paul Bastock makes a save on his return for United at Solihull Moors last season. Below: He can do nothing to stop Warren Peyton's free kick in last season's play-off semi-finals but blocks Mansfield's Liam Lawrence during the Football League era.

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TO SOME people, Paul Bastock may be your window cleaner. He may be the nice man who used to care for your dear old nan. He might even be the bloke who coached your son at one of his goalkeeper academies.

But to those people who spend their Saturday’s worshiping idols in amber and black (maybe that should be green), the man known as Bazza is something much more.

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At Histon this week, the club’s all-time appearance record holder reached another miraculous milestone... his 650th appearance for the club.

Those 650 appearances, during two spells with the club, have brought hundreds of highs and lows.

The time he ran to the half-way line to punch an opponent and receive his marching orders. The time he crashed into his own goalpost and played the remainder of the contest with an egg-sized lump on his hairless head. The occasion he saved two penalties in on match at King’s Lynn. The time he missed one from the spot himself.

These are just some of the more bizarre moments that stand out from Bastock’s career with Boston.

'Keeper Paul Bradstock steels the ball from Stags' Liam Lawrence

'Keeper Paul Bradstock steels the ball from Stags' Liam Lawrence

Eccentric? Yes. Reliable? Yes.

And the latter is exactly what you want from your keeper. Without his performances between the sticks, would Boston have lifted the Dr Martens and Conference trophies? Would they have ever reached the Football League, where Bastock was among those XI players who made history with a 2-2 draw against Bournemouth? The answer is probably not.

But just as Bastock is committed, snarling, almost freakishly scary on the field. He is as likeable off it.

He arrived at Boston after a spell in Malaysia with dreams of progressing to a league club.

Instead, he married the then club owner’s daughter. He swapped the bandanas and leather trousers for family life and never looked back.

Bastock – whose face was once exposed on the back of the town’s recycling lorries as part of a saving campaign – said he would not swap the life he has carved out for himself for further footballing glory.

And in an era where footballers at the top of the game are vilified for being detached from society, it is refreshing to see a local hero like Bastock prove that life means more than football... while opening a few village fetes along the way.

That life has seen him work locally as a window cleaner, in a care home and also as a sports coach.

In between this, he found time to play 650 competitive matches for United, as well as stints with Dagenham and Redbridge, Rushden and Diamonds and St Albans City sandwiched in between.

He’s a two-time club Player of the Year. He’s a player you don’t want barking in your ears. He’s slightly mad. He’s Bazza. He’s 650 not out.