The beautiful game is being used to bring communities together on the pitch – and has seen European players take victory over the UK for the second time in a Hallowe’en special.
The Pick-Up Football in Boston initiative saw 40 players take part in it’s second major tournament between the two sides on Saturday as part of a themed family fun day.
Although the match, at the DWB stadium on Tattershall Road, was tied 1-1 at half-time, the game ended 5-3 to the Europeans, despite the UK team substituting every single player at the halfway mark due to the number of people taking part.
Organiser Chris Wander said the event was improved on the last one held back in August – which was also won by the European team – and it was definitely a bigger and better event this time.
“It was a very good match and a tight game overall,” he commented. “It was definitely more competitive and more enjoyable - more organised as well, we’ve learnt from the previous one.”
The Hallowe’en themed match saw more than 200 people come to spectate and also featured food stalls and other attractions on the sidelines.
But Pick-Up Football isn’t just about one side beating the other, organisers are praising the initiative as bringing communities of all kinds together in sport.
Chris said that the number of Eastern Europeans coming to the regular Wednesday evening sessions, which sees anyone able to turn up, pay a £3 match fee and put their name down to play, had risen significantly since it started.
The group now plays a mix of five-a-side, six-a-side and 11-a-side matches.
Their youngest member is 15 and the oldest at the moment is 56.
Chris said that they had only started with two European players, but they had since brought family and friends along.
He said: “It’s nice to sit and have a beer afterwards and understand why they came to Boston. Some of them have experienced hard lives trying to survive.”
He said many migrants still considered Boston a friendly and nice place to live despite negative press it sometimes receives.
He believes initiatives like the Pick-Up Football Group can help integrate communities and would like to see the initiative expand to other areas - one idea being to start another group in Spalding.
He also agrees the philosophy could be extended to other sports such as rugby or cricket.
Mr Wander believes communities themselves have the power to heal wounds after authorities ‘have not really thought about the effects immigration had on Boston’.
He pointed to other initiatives, including Boston Park Run, which takes place at Witham Way Country Park on a Saturday morning.
Mr Wander thanked the sponsors Angels Taxis, JTF Lincoln, Quick Click Holidays, Taylor Made Services.
He also thanked Mick Vines and Boston Town FC for hosting the group.
The group is looking to raise money to fund flood lighting of the pitch during the winter months.
They need to raise around £1,285 towards the cost.
For more, to join in, or to help out search for Pick Up Football in Boston or call Jay Lloyd on 07795 250013