BROWNE ON THE BALL: Great Scott set to return, but Garner won’t find many old friends at Boston United

Scott Garner.
Scott Garner.

If anyone was going to do it, it was going to be Scott Garner. Surely?

During his three seasons with Boston United, the former Pilgrims captain was part of a squad which helped bring the good times back to the Jakemans Stadium.

He was the man who scored the opening goal of Dennis Greene’s first full season in charge of the Pilgrims, setting the stall out for that famous 4-1 win at Stockport County.

He was the man who - despite never collecting any personal accolades at the end-of-season awards - kept the squad gelling on and off the pitch.

He was the man who led by example on the turf and in the dressing room, once even headbutting a door to show his lacklustre teammates there really was little to fear from a bit of physicality.

And as United finished in the play-off spots in the past two seasons you probably hoped, even expected, that it would be the defender-midfielder-striker with the armband round his bicep who lifted the trophy in celebration to mark the club’s return to non-league’s top flight.

But that wasn’t the case.

Perhaps it should have been the case. But then North Ferriby happened.

Last season the Villagers overcame a 2-0 first-leg defeat to beat Boston 3-0 and progress to the play-off final, where they got the better of Fylde and claimed that promotion spot.

The season before it was Garner’s penalty miss at Ferriby which saw the chance of a 2-0 FA Trophy lead disappear, the hosts levelling at the death, forcing a replay and going on to win final at Wembley.

It must rankle going so close, so often, only to see your rivals enjoying the glory.

So, in the summer when manager Billy Heath made the decision to leave Grange Lane and join FC Halifax - taking a number of his Ferriby players with him, including towering target man Tom Denton - Garner accepted his offer to move to the Shay.

If you can’t beat them, then why not join them.

So far, Garner’s decision to jump the Pilgrims’ ship looks justified as Halifax sit a point outside of the National League North’s top five and booked their place in the FA Cup’s first round following the weekend’s win at Harrogate Town, a place where he never won with Boston.

But this week, as Garner spoke to his new club’s website about how ‘embarrassing’ it could be to lose at your former club, he must have been knowing that Saturday’s outcome in anyone’s guess.

He’ll have next-to-no insider knowledge of this current squad.

Sixteen players left this summer just three of his former teammates - Lewis Hilliard, Jay Rollins and Liam Agnew - started last weekend’s draw at Salford.

Boston are six games unbeaten in the league while the Shaymen have won their last five matches in all competitions.

This season Garner may well get his hands on some silverware, but he’ll be sure that his old club won’t be looking to do him any favours.

It’s old foes. Just rebranded. It’s one to look forward to.