There was certainly no love lost when Richard Brodie and Adam Murray met on the field as players.
But now the Boston United striker and manager are hoping to join forces to become a winning team.
The Pilgrims’ new signing and his boss both admit they hated playing against one another and would look to steal any advantage they could.
But that shared desire to win forged a mutual respect which saw Brodie agree to link up with the Jakemans Stadium club last week.
“It’s great to be on board,” Brodie said. “I played against Adam lots of times during my career and, knowing what type of player he was, I knew how he’d set up his teams.
“To be honest, we had a couple of spats together but, once I spoke to him and heard what his ambition was and what he wanted from the football club, I really wanted to be part of what he’s looking at.
“I’ve got full respect for Adam and what he’s done.
“He did a great job at Mansfield when he took over, and it’s refreshing to hear a young manager who’s not long finished playing and knows what the modern game’s about.
“He knows what getting results at this level’s all about.”
Murray himself still remembers his battles with the former Crawley, Fleetwood, Morecambe and Hereford man.
And he was quick to point out that the big bruiser is certainly the type of player you’d rather have in your dressing room rather than the one next door.
“I’ve played against him a few times and we’ve had a few battles,” Murray said.
“I didn’t like playing against him, I always used to try to smash him.
“He’s that type of player, as an opponent you don’t like him.
“Brodes is someone who will run through brick walls for his teammates and his club.
“I’m very happy to have him here.
“He’s marmite. Opposition fans won’t like him, but they’d love him in their team.
“I know players who have been in the same dressing room as him and he’s a very positive and enthusiastic character.
“On the pitch he’ll bring a good strength to us.
“If he performs to the standard we expect of him he’ll be here next season.”
Boston will be Brodie’s 15th club and, after a well-travelled career, the attacker says it is time to lay down some roots.
He is keen to impress until the end of the season and earn an extention to his contract.
“My career’s been stop-start, stop-start for whatever reason,” he admitted, before pointing out he still has plenty to offer on the park.
“Some my own fault, some other people’s.
“But I’m a decent, honest and hard-working lad who will score goals, and who has scored over 100 goals and played over 400 games in the Conference.
“I’m 29, not 39. I’ve got a lot of time left in my playing career.
“I’ve come here to be part of something Adam wants to build, which is why we agreed something for next year as well.
“My ambition is to get promoted into the Conference and knowing, when we go up, I’ve got the ability and confidence to play at that level as well.”
Promotion with the Pilgrims, although still a tough ask in a division becoming increasingly populated by full-time teams, remains Brodie’s priority.
And he’d love to bring the good times back to Boston.
He said: “I’ve heard about the ups and downs at the club, and it’s probably had more downs that ups in the past decade.
“But all clubs have times like that.
“Adam and the chairman (David Newton), who I would like to thank for helping to get me where I want to be, want to go up and be successful.
“I want to be at a club where there’s stability in my life.
“I’ve got a partner and young family, I want stability and know where I’m going to be.”
Brodie’s back-to-back Conference titles with Crawley and Fleetwood have proven the striker knows how to win, something which has also impressed Murray.
The manager continued: “You can’t put a price on a winning mentality.
“I’m fortunate enough myself to pick some promotions, so you know the habits it takes to win in a dressing room, and Brodes has got that.
“You can’t teach that, you have to experience that.
“Brodes has got this at good clubs.
“He’s happy to lay a foundation and commit himself for his next few years, which is good for the club.”