BROWNE ON THE BALL: Forget the trophies, that captain’s armband sums up what Scott Garner means to Boston United

Scott Garner.
Scott Garner.

Scott Garner doesn’t have any silverware.

In his three years at the Jakemans Stadium he hasn’t once been named as the Player of the Year, the York Street Veterans’ top pick or the Boston United Supporters Association’s kids’ favourite.

It would be tough to argue which recipient of an award in the past three seasons should be bumped aside to allow Garner to get his hands on a trophy, shield or silver salver.

He doesn’t appear to effortlessly glide through games like Zak Mills, he doesn’t score anywhere near as many as Dayle Southwell and Ricky Miller and he doesn’t get the gig of man-marking the division’s biggest and nastiest attackers like Carl Piergianni does.

He’s yet to get the nod from his peers as the Players’ Player, but don’t for a minute think that any teammate or opponent isn’t aware of the value he brings to the squad.

Scott Garner doesn’t have any silverware. But he does have the captain’s armband.

That piece of cloth wrapped around his left bicep signifies much more than ceremony and a coin toss.

Garner is United’s leader on and off the pitch.

He is a player who - if the testimony of one teammate is to be believed - headbutts dressing room doors to get his troops fired up.

He is the one who sets the example of no easy options, ordering a specialist headband all the way from the USA so he can still play when his gaping head wound is not yet healed (these two points are not connected, no matter how hard it seems to believe).

I’m told Saturday’s coach journey to Stalybridge was a fairly quiet place to be until Garner climbed up those steps at his meet-up point, destroying the silence as if he were Bert Raccoon swinging into the Evergreen Forest.

And that nerve-settling example was once again transported onto the pitch for that crunch clash, where the skipper led by example in the heart of midfield; the standout player, first to every winnable ball both on the deck and in the air.

But that’s Garner 24/7, approaching every task with the energy of the Duracell Bunny and the enthusiasm of a wide-eyed seven-year-old full of pop and sweets at his own birthday party.

He arrived at Boston in the summer of 2013, aged 22 and with a reputation of being unable to settle after already being involved with seven different clubs.

But since then he has played in all 136 Pilgrims matches in which he was eligible to feature, starting every single contest bar one, last season, where a booking would have ruled him out of the play-offs.

And can you think of a bad performance amongst that lot?

Perhaps Garner hasn’t received those accolades because - limbs everywhere as he thrusts himself into yet another challenge - he’s the victim of his ability to play as an imposing central defender, a ball-winning midfielder or a goalscoring target man up top, rather than excelling in one given slot.

Perhaps it’s because every year others have just deserved it.

But all those personal awards would be instantly forgotten if United were able to edge past North Ferriby and go one further, clinching promotion to the National League.

Because then, it would be Garner, in his role as captain and leader, who would be first to lift the play-off trophy above his head.

Scott Garner doesn’t have any silverware. Yet.