Sunday, 1 May 2011
367 Jon Boardman
Position : Centre half
Played : 2005-06 to 2006-07
Appearances : 25
Goals : 1
We move into the 2005-06 season when the wheels started to fall off Parkin's wagon. While Grant Holt was still with us we were fine and hit 2nd spot three times. His departure exposed all sorts of weaknesses and sent us sliding down the table. It took a late equaliser at Rushden from under-used new signing Chris Dagnall to stop us slipping into real trouble. What laid him low was the quality of his signings (though some of them came good under his successor) and his January reshuffle made things worse rather than better.
There's a useful litmus test to find out whether a Dale fan was pro- or anti- Parkin. Ask who the worst player of the last decade was. The Parkinistas will almost certainly say Michael Simpkins; the anti-faction will nominate this guy (with perhaps the odd vote for Brisco instead) . Jon started out at Crystal Palace in the late 90s but didn't play for the first team and went out on loan to Margate and Woking who went on to sign him permanently. They'd had a decent season in the Conference in 2004-05 .
It sounds like hindsight but honestly I thought the signing was questionable from the start. We'd just let three experienced defenders go ( Evans, Burgess and Heald) and their only replacement was a guy without a League appearance to his name. How often had anyone been down to Surrey to check him out ? Why was he given a two-year contract ?
Jon always looked out of his depth. He didn't tackle well, gave forwards too much room and was all too easily turned. Even worse he was panicky (though not as much as us poor souls watching him) and given to slicing his clearances and heading the ball up in the air instead of away. His performance alongside Rory McArdle at Stockport in March 2005 was legendarily bad. Although Parkin made excuses for him he still dropped Jon for self-preservation.
He tried again with Jon at the start of 2006-07 but if anything he was even worse than before. His last League appearance for us ended with a red card for a wild tackle. Keith Hill offloaded him to Dagenham and Redbridge just a month after taking over the hotseat.
Dagenham stuck him in midfield and got three goals out of him as they won promotion from the Conference. However he reverted back to defence the following season. Their keeper Tony Roberts shared his negative opinion of Jon with the Dale fans when we played there. Jon made a solitary appearance in the Football League Trophy in 2008-09 then returned to Woking. He has since moved on to Kingstonian and currently Hungerford Town. He also writes a column for Shoot Monthly.
Sadly Jon also caused a bit of a rift amongst my match mates. My friend Carl thought our criticism of Jon was over the top and decided to abandon his seat in the WMG and return to our old spot in the Sandy instead.