Michael Bostwick. Unassuming, but certainly not underrated. And we’re sure that all Boro’ fans speak highly of both the man and the player. Mark Poplett – or Sev as you might also know him – is here to tell us why Bozzie has a special place in his heart. And what makes him ‘My Favourite Player’.
“When I was asked to write about my all-time favourite Boro’ player, three player came to mind straight away. But then I thought a little harder – and decided not to write about any of those. Instead, it was Michael Bostwick who powered through to take it at the line.
I hadn’t heard of him when Graham Westley signed him from Ebbsfleet ahead of the 2008-9 season. But he soon showed himself worthy of the shirt; not from a one-off magnificent display, but by constantly delivering what we brought him in to do.
He cut an intimidating figure on the pitch; recognisable from an often bandaged hand and wrist, despite never seeming to have a wrist injury,
Why Michael Bostwick is my favourite player
Like a few of the lads in our 2009-10 title-winning side, he was instrumental in its success. At ease at both centre back and centre midfield, he was arguably the best player that we had in both positions. He was many vertebrae in the spine of the side; Daisy, Robbo and Beardo making up the rest.
Big, strong and physical, he epitomised the whole team ethos. He gave his all on the field; tough tackling, good in the air and comfortable on the ball. There was also the thunderous shot in his locker. He was the player I wanted to be. Not a headline grabber. Didn’t want to be. But he still led by example.
With more than 200 outings in four seasons, he won the Conference, achieved promotion from League Two and reached the League One playoffs. It just goes to highlight how vital he was to us. Was he fortunate to be part of one of our greatest ever sides? Yes – maybe. But was that side fortunate to have a Michael Bostwick in it? Oh, most certainly.
What is my favourite Michael Bostwick memory?
One of my more light-hearted memories of Bozzie is handing him the coveted runner-up Borochat ‘Player of the Season’ trophy. Yes – it is a thing. It happened in the car park as he was walking into Stripes for the end of season jolly. With a puzzled look that said “is this a joke?”, he said something along the lines of “oh cheers” and continued in on.
This is what I admired about him. He seemed a little shy and he wasn’t in it for personal glory or attention. It was all about being the best he could be for the team.
For a defensive player, it’s hard to pick out a stand-out header, clearance or tackle. But, luckily for us, Michael Bostwick wasn’t just a great defender.
(It’s almost as if we planned this!)
As well as his defensive qualities, he also scored some superb goals. According to this here BoroGuide, it was 21 in total. Most of them were strikes from outside the box. Few were perhaps more celebrated than in our 5-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday. Barely 15 minutes were on the clock when he rifled one in off the post from distance to put us three up. Three-nil up against Sheffield bloomin’ Wednesday. After just 15 minutes!
More of my favourite Michael Bostwick memories?
And who remembers our 3-1 win over Newcastle in the FA Cup? Again, Bozzie fires one in off the post from a similar distance to put us 2-0 up just after the break as the #Lamex erupts in excitement at the prospect of a giant killing. The image of that evening I always remember is of him walking off the pitch surrounded by pitch invaders.
Other notable goals include his sweet, 20-yard half volley against Bournemouth. And the calibre of opposition we’re talking about here is indicative of Bostwick’s class. I always felt he could play in the Championship. And we were lucky to have him for as long as we did. It was a sad day when he left for Posh, like George Boyd before him and Matty Godden after. Hmmm. There’s a pattern here. But no one begrudged him the move.
It was the end of an era; one to which he contributed a lot.
Can I sum up Michael Bostwick in three words?
Bozzie, Bozzie, Bozzie!
And now you’re left wondering who the original three were. Well, one already featured in this, err, series. The other two? I’m sure will be written about in the coming months.
MY FAVOURITE PLAYER:
Michael Bostwick – 206 (0) appearances, 21 goals (2008-12)
• Do you want to tell us about your favourite all-time Boro’ player? We’d love to hear from you. Just drop us an email and we’ll tell you what you need to do…