BROWNE ON THE BALL: “Who are ya?” Fresh faces hindered the Pilgrims, but can they be blamed?

Dennis Greene had a frantic Friday trying to assemble a squad.
Dennis Greene had a frantic Friday trying to assemble a squad.

“Who are ya?” It’s that famous football chant sung on terraces across the nation.

It’s a bid to belittle and demean the opposition, sometimes meant with malice, sometimes shouted as a joke and - on other occasions - a tongue-in cheek swipe from the minnows facing the game’s big boys.

But on Saturday you could almost excuse the Boston United faithful - the Greene Army, as they have recently dubbed themselves - from chanting it towards their own team.

That’s because those who turned up at Keys Park frankly wouldn’t recognise a third of the squad they were cheering if they were to share a taxi home with them.

With illness, injuries and suspensions rife in the Pilgrims’ side, four new faces were handed debuts for the club at Hednesford on Saturday.

And when you stick players who don’t even know each others’ names, and have never trained together, into a side the inevitable will always happen.

Hednesford were by no means a side at the top of their game, but they still comfortably beat Boston’s rag-tag bunch 4-2.

At times there was hope. At times it was so bad you just had to laugh.

Indeed, some did chuckle when Pa Sulay Njie was substituted to taunts of ‘cheerio’ from his own fans.

But it would be cheap of me to sit here right now and point the finger of fun at Njie, Dan Pritchard, Brad Gascoigne or Liam Agnew.

It would be particularly easy and cowardly to give them a roasting, especially as I’m unlikely to cross paths with most of them ever again.

Instead, I think it would be right to commend those lads for daring to give it a go.

It’s better to try and to fail than to always wonder.

And most importantly, from a Boston United perspective, they did the club a massive favour.

OK, it didn’t work out for them, but it was never going to was it?

Tottenham chucked tens of millions on established players this summer, and they’re still looking like a team who don’t know their Arsenal from their elbow.

So what chance did Boston ever have?

Instead, those lads should be thanked for crossing the country at such short notice, just as Dennis Greene should be commended for his frantic phone calls all day Friday, scrambling to get a squad together.

General manager John Blackwell should also get a thumbs up for his efforts in sorting out all the paperwork until the late hours on Friday night.

There’s always something commendable about - to steal chairman David Newton’s phrase - ‘doing things properly’.

When the Pilgrims faced liquidation it would have been easy to have gone bust and began afresh, like so many other clubs have done.

It would have been easier to re-form lower down the leagues, debt free with a legion of still-loyal fans.

It would have been easy to attract better players and new fans with cash in the coffers and momentum from three seasons of pretty-much assured promotions.

Instead, the Pilgrims - to their credit and financial detriment - refused to cut corners, finding themselves demoted twice anyway, and still laden with debts of more than £1million

On Saturday, it would have been easy to give in and say there was no chance the game could be played.

They could have taken the fine, re-grouped and played the match at a time when they were closer to full strength.

But instead, they did the right thing, just with the wrong personnel.

Boston United: On Saturday you were terrible... but you can still be terrible with a certain sense of pride.