IT’S THE big debate that’s splitting the nation in two.
It’s creating a bigger divide than the Celtic versus Rangers, Israel versus Palestine and The Only Way is Essex versus Made In Chelsea arguments.
Office workers are crowding round the water coolers to discuss it.
It’ll probably be a topic covered on Question Time.
I am, of course, talking about that age-old question: should strikes in the Lincolnshire Senior Cup count as competitive goals?
Ok, maybe it’s not that important a debate, but it is certainly dividing the Boston United dressing room.
After Saturday’s hard-earned but deserved victory over Droylsden both Marc Newsham and Mark Jones offered their two pence worth.
“I’m counting them, I’ve got six already this season,” said Newsham, with the twinkling eyes of someone who has some tasty goal bonuses written into his contract.
Jones, however, is planted firmly on the opposite side of the fence.
“I’ve already got two, but I’m not counting them.”
Even the most irrational football fan - the puce-faced man who believes his side can only lose due to corrupt officials purposely robbing his side of victory - can see both sides of the argument.
Newsham, who scored two against Lincoln United and a hat-trick at Stamford in the shield, is obviously going to claim them.
He’s a typical striker. He thrives on goals. He hates losing just that little bit more than he hates winning without getting on the scoresheet.
They all count. They all did for Pele.
Newsham scored against Histon in midweek. He now has, in his eyes, seven.
Jones, on the flipside, has his view.
He’s had a handful of games at this level with Corby and now he’s at Boston to impress, netting twice at Lincoln himself.
He’s now got a decent-sized fanbase behind him and he’s the young upstart who wants to make a name for himself.
He won’t count those goals because they reminded him of the old days at Deeping, where a county trophy is (with all due respect to club’s further down the pyramid) a much more important prize.
Now he’s at Boston United, a club that looks to the Blue Square North, FA Trophy and FA Cup as a measure of success.
So he feels he has to get in with that mentality immediately.
What are two Lincs Shield goals to a man intent on putting them away on a regular basis, especially as he now has a hat-trick to his name?
My personal opinion is one which sees me side with Newsham.
I accept chairman David Newton’s argument that the Lincs Shield competition is a dull, uninteresting way to begin the season and needs to be either revamped or axed.
But it also a clever way to see Ben Milnes use up his suspension following that red card at Hyde last season.
United aren’t the only side to do this.
In their 2002 battle for the Conference title, foes Dagenham and Redbridge hastily reorganised a county cup fixture of their own to enable top scorer Mark Stein to return to league action sooner than expected.
And that’s my argument.
If bookings, red cards and suspensions count (and injuries sustained are definitely felt by those on the receiving end) then goals do too.
Whether Mark Jones likes it or not, he has five competitive goals to his name at Boston United.