BROWNE ON THE BALL: Newsham is proving too hot to handle

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THE Newsh is on fire!

That’s the chant that rings out from the Boston United fans, every time their leading scorer finds the net. And haven’t we heard that plenty of times this season.

At the beginning of the campaign, managers Jason Lee and Lee Canoville boldly announced that the striker was to be their talisman, their 20-goals a season forward.

I say boldly, because many raised their eyebrows and wondered whether they were on about the same Marc Newsham.

At the beginning of May last year, Boston United hosted an end of season get together, to celebrate their season and thank fans, sponsors and players alike.

Throughout the evening, members of that season’s playing squad kept sneaking out of the building. Perhaps there was a line of groupies outside waiting to thank the squad for their part in reaching the play-offs?

Nope, they were inn fact nipping out to meet John Blackwell. In the adjoining club offices, the general manager was collecting autographs, signing on players for the upcoming season.

At the time, it seemed the biggest story of the night was that Newsham’s best mate, Jamie Yates, wasn’t among those to go missing.

The next day, as we all know now, it was announced that he had joined rivals Gainsborough Trinity. So low key was Newsham’s re-signing that one observer leant to me as he headed for the door and said: “I’m glad he’s signed, he’ll be decent back up.”

And that’s what, at the time, he was viewed as.

Last season, just six of his 54 goals for the club came in that campaign.

He may have made 20 starts and a further 10 substitute appearances, but he was often pushed out to a wide position as Spencer Weir-Daley got the not alongside a target man (take your pick from Danny Davidson, Jason Lee, Mikel Suarez, Mickey Stones and Lawrie Dudfield).

People asked whether Newsham could cut it at Blue Square Bet North level. This season (maybe, in part to Weir-Daley’s absence) Newsham was handed back his favoured frontal role.

Faith was put in him, and he repaid that by, to date, netting 19 times. Is the Blue Square Bet North a level too high for Newsham?

Nope. A talented goal-poacher is just that at any level. Allow Newsham to play to his strengths – finding that extra yard of space in and around the box – and he’ll score you the goals.

He was gifted that role in the UniBond Premier promotion season and was the top scorer with 29 goals. He’ll finish this campaign as the leading scorer once again (unless something bonkers happens like Kevin Austin manages to take his career total to 30 in the final five matches).

It helps that the current formation is one that suits Newsham’s preference for a freer role in attack, looking for the space rather than picking up scraps from knock downs, of course.

He may still be looking for his first club hat-trick, but that’s irrelevant. When he’s grabbed 54 goals in less than three seasons, including four in less than a week, then the Newsh is really on fire.