'Absolutely buzzing' fans celebrate promotion

Keaton Ward and Jimmy Knowles lifting the trophy
Keaton Ward and Jimmy Knowles lift the National League North trophy [BBC]

More than one thousand fans gathered at Boston United's stadium to celebrate the team's promotion to the National League.

The Pilgrims beat Brackley Town FC 2-1 in the National League North playoff final on 4 May.

Fans celebrated in the Jakeman's Community Stadium on the outskirts of Boston on Thursday evening to see the winning side lift the trophy again.

One fan said: "I don't know of anything in the world like this."

A picture of fans in the stand
More than a thousand fans gathered at The Jakeman's Community Stadium for the celebration [BBC]

Ian Warsop, who has supported the club for decades, said "it's been brilliant" to see it promoted "back to the big time."

"It means a lot," he added.

Nick Watson, who has been a Pilgrims fan for 55 years, said the club means "absolutely everything" to him.

"It's massive for the club, it's massive for the fans. I've seen all the big games and it's so great to be part of it," he said.

Stuart Grooby, who has followed Boston United from his US home for the last 27 years, sees it as his connection to his hometown.

"It's just a great feeling. We finally got back up," he said.

"It's a very community event and I don't know anything else in the world like this," Mr Grooby's American wife Christine added.

Picture of the three fans
Fans Stuart and Christine Grooby (left and centre) and Ian Warsop attended the celebration [BBC]

Eight-year-old Samuel said he was "very proud" of his dad and uncle, who are scouts for the team.

His mum Kelly said: "My life is literally Boston, all the time."

Kelly and Samuel
Kelly Musson and eight-year-old Samuel are "very proud" of the team's promotion [BBC]

The celebration included a parade of Boston United's players from Under 7s, up to walking football players, and the winning first team.

The club's management said it wanted to provide a chance for all fans to gather to celebrate promotion after just over 900 tickets were allocated to the club for the final.

The club regularly has attendances of over 1,500 people.

Boston United have not been in non-league football's top division since 2002.

The team was relegated down two tiers from the football league in 2007 after former manager Steve Evans and former chairman Pat Malkinson admitted "conspiring to cheat the public revenue between 1997 and 2002".

Fan Malcolm said: "We got demoted twice and that was a sad time, but we've climbed back.

"It's amazing. Me and my son are absolutely buzzing."

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