Taylor made United debut

The Football For Life youngsters, with Chris Cook, back at the start of the 1997-98 season.
The Football For Life youngsters, with Chris Cook, back at the start of the 1997-98 season.

It was meant to be a day to savour for Leigh Taylor. But his first Boston United start was one he would never forget - for the wrong reasons.

Aged just 16, the forward made his full Pilgrims debut in the 2-1 UniBond Premier victory over Guiseley.

But instead of looking forward to improving on his first start for the first team, he faced a long lay off in plaster.

Soft tissue and ligament damage meant the teenage protege was left in a cast from knee to toe.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Taylor, a former Haven High pupil, after the clash on March 28, 1998.

“All the time I’ve been playing Sunday football, youth football or school football, nothing like this happened before.”

“I was gutted when I found out about the injury.

“It hurt a lot.

“I thought I had done something because there was a lot of pain.”

Taylor admitted to being ‘gobsmacked’ when manager Greg Fee told him - 45 minutes ahead of kick off - that he would be starting.

When he first got the nod, he became the club’s second youngest player.

That record belonged to Chris Cook, the 35-year-old assistant manager he partnered up front on that day.

Cook was also the club’s youth development officer and boss of the Football For Life scheme, which had helped Taylor graduate to the first team.

Taylor recovered from injury to make a total of 20 first-team appearances for United, before moving on to play for the likes of Holbeach United, Spalding United and Bourne Town.

He is currently assistant to Matt Hocking and Ian Dunn at Boston Town.

Cook’s record - set in 1979 - lasted for almost 30 years.

But it was broken in 2010 when 15-year-old Tom Hopper, now with Leicester City and on loan at League One Bury, played in a UniBond Cup match.