LAST season Kevin Holsgrove meant little more to Boston United fans other than being that bloke from Hyde who gave James Cullingworth the runaround.
On Saturday he meant that horrible five-hour journey home from Workington could be punctuated with smiles, cheers and chants.
What a difference a summer makes.
When the Pilgrims were held to a home draw by Hyde in April, the stand-out performer on the day was the big Wirral wideman, the striker who gave Cully the slip more times than Road Runner did Wile E. Coyote.
“I hope that’s the last we see of him,” many fans muttered to themselves.
But now – after his match-winning performance as the Blue Square Bet North season kicked off in Cumbria – the die-hards in amber and black could be looking forward to seeing him more than their own wives at the weekend.
Ok, you have to admit, Holsgrove’s brace will not come close to winning any goals of the season awards.
But they all count the same, and these two strikes set the season up nicely with three hard-earned points.
The first was a simple-enough penalty. But when Boston’s previous season was pretty much defined by spot kicks that weren’t converted, a 12-yard finish feels as good as a volley from the half-way line.
For his second goal, I think I saw a snail overtake the ball as it headed beyond Aaran Taylor’s fingers. But it found the net nonetheless. Somehow.
And the timing, coming in the 93rd minute, was enough to ensure the Workington’s fans’ mood was more dismal than their home town looks on Google Maps.
But that superb strike at Gainsborough in the Lincs Senior Shield showed what Holsgrove can do when he’s in the mood.
He’s now scored three competitive goals for the club in just two matches, not bad seeing as his managers set him a target of 10 for the season.
With Anthony Church, Shaun Pearson and Jamie Yates jumping ship after the play-off defeat to Guiseley, all eyes were on Jason Lee and Lee Canoville to see who they would bring in as replacements.
And then – bang - the answer fell into their laps (well, onto the doormat).
Imagine the managers’ glee when the former Altrincham man’s CV was shoved through the club’s letterbox.
Imagine their glee when they discovered the player is bonkers enough to drive 900-miles a week to train and play, all at a price that doesn’t break the bank (and probably doesn’t cover his petrol money).
I admit, it’s too early to get carried away with one signing. Too early to suggest Holsgrove will be this season’s superstar.
But his arrival has taught United fans two things... Always play on until the final whistle. And always open your mail.