BROWNE ON THE BALL: From pitch to boardroom, everyone wants to win Yellowbelly derby day

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HE RAN half the length of the pitch, towards where the away fans were celebrating wildly.

And with a clenched fist, pumped twice into the air, he celebrated with them.

Was this a goalscorer marking a superb finish with those supporters who had travelled to cheer his name? Nope, this was a chap dressed smartly in his suit.

The man was David Newton, and the Boston United chairman’s 2008 had begun particularly well, with his side earning a 3-1 victory at the Northolme, over county rivals Gainsborough Trinity.

The half-man half-beast that is Tony Crane grabbed a double, Kieran Leabon also netted on that New Year’s Day, and Newton – perhaps with the previous nights bubbly still in his system – was in the mood to party.

And boy, didn’t those fans in amber and black lap up that gesture.

Boston United fans, like those around the world, just love getting one over their rivals. And to see the bloke from the boardroom celebrating in a similar style, like one of them, just added the icing on the cake.

And that shows, from top to bottom, just how much Saturday’s clash means.

In the boardroom, Newton and opposite number Peter Swann will shake hands and be cordial. Fans in amber and blue will swap friendly jibes over a pre-match pint. But behind those smiles, everyone will be thinking “I hope we do you a treat.”

Rivalry on the terraces, between league rivals from the same county, doesn’t need explaining.

If you don’t understand it, then you’ve probably never been a massive football fan.

At pitch level, so many of the players in either side have previously pulled on the shirts of their rivals that you could almost lose count of the amount of lads out there who are adding personal pride to their desire to win.

But at the boardroom, things are a little different.

Newton and Swann. Two chairman who are completely different, yet both share that burning desire for success.

Both, perhaps, got involved in football for their love of the game, and a sense of duty to a local club. But this doesn’t mean either will be satisfied with anything but a season at the right end of the table. When this doesn’t happen, both have proven to be ruthless with the P45s.

But here, the similarities seem to end.

While Newton is happy to be interviewed, he prefers to let others do the talking, putting his faith in his ability to hire the right managers for the job, allowing him to concentrate on other off-field matters.

Swann is the opposite side of the coin. He’s more hands on, taking his place, on occasion, on the bench during a match. He’s even known to converse with fans on Trinity internet sites.

One of his famous boasts in recent seasons, was of his desire to finish above Boston.

At that time, Pilgrims fans mocked, suggesting that if this was his major ambition then it would show Trinity up as club of limited ambition.

But right now, as Newton aims to break even financially and gradually build the club back up to its former glories, Swann’s splashing of the cash is paying off as it is Trinity’s turn, it seems, to compete in the play-offs.

However, with United twice beating Trinity this season, once in the league, once in the shield, a third victory (perhaps a psychological blow to the Blue side of the county’s confidence) would bring a smirk to the chairman’s face. Perhaps he’d even go as far as another air punch.