BROWNE ON THE BALL: Why not just rename Boston United the Amber and Black Cats?

Liam Marrs.
Liam Marrs.

Want to know what next season’s Boston United squad will look like?

If so then take a look at the current Sunderland under 21s side.

Admittedly, the whole of the team won’t be uprooted and sent to York Street, but it seems pretty clear that at least a couple of the Premier League club’s most talented prodigies will be on show at Boston at some stage.

There’ll probably be enough young Wearsiders turning out for the Pilgrims over the next few years to make it perfectly acceptable to nickname Boston the Amber and Black Cats.

That’s because United boss Dennis Greene is forging strong links with Sunderland’s senior professional development coach Kevin Ball.

It’s a relationship that has already seen Liam Marrs, Liam Agnew and David Ferguson arrive in town on loan, for work experience or whatever you want to call it.

But more importantly, it’s a relationship that suits both parties.

The Pilgrims get a steady flow of promising up-and-coming youngsters who can do a job and also add competition for places and bolster the ranks.

If Boston are stuck in an injury crisis prior to a game, Greene just needs to pick up the phone and ask a favour instead of having to cave into pay demands of clubless mercenaries.

It also suits the Black Cats.

Boston can offer their youngsters a taste of senior football in a league where they will meet new physical and mental challenges, but not be out of their depth.

The facilities at York Street are not on the scale of Sunderland’s, but the transition won’t be too extreme.

The club also offers the youngsters the chance of coping in front of a crowd - a crowd lively enough to be inspiring but not too large to be overwhelming.

Marrs is a perfect example of how this system can work.

His season has been cruelly cut short by a knee operation, and - with his age working against him - he has since been released by Sunderland.

There are suggestions that he will be offered a trial with Championship side Blackpool this summer, and you can bet that door wouldn’t be quite so open had he not got any senior football on his CV.

Of course, link ups between clubs is nothing new at all. Chelsea-Vitesse Arnem and Manchester United-Royal Antwerp spring to mind, and there are plenty more clubs following a similar blueprint.

After all, not every club can afford to do a Manchester City and buy sister clubs in New York and Melbourne, and still find time to work alongside Hyde United.

Club link-ups are a current trend because, quite frankly, they work.

As far as I’m concerned, the more Mackems the merrier.