BROWNE ON THE BALL: We all dream of a Boston United grudge match

Can Boston United return to the National League and a few more grudge games?
Can Boston United return to the National League and a few more grudge games?

Nothing in football makes the hairs stand up on the back of the neck like a grudge match.

The crowd are pumped up, adrenaline boosts give the players that extra spike. It’s all or nothing, everything is at stake.

You daren’t not go in full blooded, but if you time it wrong you’re out of the game. This is the one you do not want to lose.

You’ve probably watched in awe at the pre-match fireworks, flares and flare-ups of Galatasaray-Fenerbahce, Olympiakos-Panathinaikos, Boca Juniors-River Plate, Celtic-Rangers or Ajax-Feyenoord.

United’s rivalries may not be of that colourful, hate-spewing scale, but they’ve had their fair old battles over the years, where defeat hurts just the same.

Barrow, Wigan, Kettering, Runcorn and Altrincham have thrown up some ongoing, barely civil rivalries over the years while geography has seen the likes of King’s Lynn, Lincoln City, Grantham Town and, to some extent, Grimsby Town and Scunthorpe United, become the first fixtures you look out for.

Relations with Boston Town were once far from friendly and the rivalry with Gainsborough Trinity now has some momentum, even if that’s been forced over a number of seasons as both clubs searched for a true enemy.

Circumstance and fractuous matches have thrown up the likes of Guiseley, Retford, Chorley, Colwyn Bay, Bradford Park Avenue and Wrexham as foes, but that ill feeling washed away as quickly as mud on a goalkeeper’s jersey in a hot wash.

In recent years, Boston have rarely crossed paths with their historic rivals. But all that could change.

Looking at the league tables right now, Boston could be set to face the most mouthwatering set of fixtures in memory next season.

If - and I must stress this is a massive, planet-sized if - they were to secure promotion to the National League, they could find themselves sharing a division with county rivals Grimsby and Lincoln, plus historic foes Altrincham and Barrow.

Add Macclesfield, Chester, Guiseley, Southport and Wrexham to the mix and you have some other blasts from the past in there too.

But most tantalising of all would be if Dagenham and Redbridge and Yeovil Town were to drop down from League Two.

Yeovil and Boston fans have a kind of relationship that Holmes and Moriarty would describe as frosty, while the Daggers and Pilgrims haven’t locked horns since that Conference title race of 2002.

I’m pretty sure that a reunion would create one fantastic atmosphere for everyone involved.

Of course, for all this to happen it would take a series of circumstances that would make a 20-team accumulator look like a safe punt.

Firstly, the Pilgrims would have to get back to their winning, and goalscoring, ways and consolidate a top-five finish before any talk of promotion even crept into the conversation.

Meanwhile, two divisions up certain teams would have to slip up as well.

But what a set of fixtures that would be.

You can always dream, can’t you?