Saturday, 26 July 2014

THE GOLDEN BOYD




I saw Adam Boyd play many times for Hartlepool. He was never less than entertaining. One rainy April night against Sheffield Wednesday water lay on the pitch at Victoria Park in great puddles. Everybody else struggled to stay upright (Ed and I almost died on the way home when his VW camper van aquaplaned on the A19), but Boyd waltzed around like Fred Astaire, hitting one of the finest hat-tricks I've ever seen. He was a 4th Division genius.

I wrote this about him in the Guardian in 2005.


There was much merriment in the tabloids last week at the tale of Pool's striker Adam Boyd who had been forced to flee semi-naked across a "posh estate" after the ex-boyfriend of the woman he was in bed with at the time had turned up drunk from a stag night and assaulted him. It was in many ways a fitting means for Boyd to come to national attention for, if there is anyone out there determined to disprove the age-old cry that there just aren't the characters in the game anymore, he is that man.

There is an air of Frank Worthington about Boyd. He is tall, stands erect and has uncommon skill - a huge repertoire of feints and dummies, shoulder drops and swerves. Not since Farrah Fawcett (ask your Dad) has one person possessed quite so many lovely flicks. There is no doubt in my mind that, if the 23-year-old could cover 10 yards even a split-second faster than a fully laden milk float, he would be very famous indeed. Pace, though, is not his strong suit. In possession Boyd is elegant but he runs as if his knees are welded, leaning backwards like a nervous child on roller skates.

Middlesbrough and Sunderland have sent scouts to Victoria Park to look at him. He is valued at £1m but no offer has yet come. There may be other reasons for this beyond a lack of speed. According to newspaper reports, Boyd's marked improvement last season came after he had lost weight following manager Neale Cooper's advice to "lay off the pies". In Hartlepool Boyd's fondness for pies is well known. Rumour has it that some evenings he goes out and has a dozen or more pies, so many in fact that he is often seen late at night staggering about from the sheer weight of all the meat and pastry.

Like any skilful player with a manner that edges towards the listless side of languid, Boyd tends to divide the crowd. Last week in the Carling Cup tie with Darlington two men sitting behind me started up a verbal exchange. "Get a move on, Boyd, you lazy git."

"He got 29 goals last season."

"Aye, but how many has he got in the past eight games?"

The pair then carried on one of those terrace non- arguments in which remarks apparently directed at the pitch are actually digs at the other fellow.

"C'mon Boydy!" the Boyd supporter yelled as the forward got the ball and did a series of elaborate darts and shimmies around it that recalled a Mexican hat dance, "Go on, son!"

"It's come to nowt," the other bloke bellowed as the ball bounced off the defender's shin and into touch. "Should have give it to Butler. Butler was free".

"Away Butler, make some movement," the first man yelled just to show he wasn't beaten. "Boydy'd opened things up for you there."

And so it went on.

"He's held it too long, as usual."

"Get wide, Pools, and give Boydy some options."

Eventually Boyd was substituted. "There you go," his detractor crowed. "Done nothing." He may have thought he'd got the last word but I suspect time will prove otherwise.

 

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