PILGRIMS IN PROFILE: Leroy Chambers

Christian James remembers the Boston United career of popular striker Leroy Chambers...

Leroy Chambers.

A cult hero of the mid-nineties, today’s Pilgrim in Profile registered a better rate than a goal every 2.5 games across his 17-month spell at Boston.

An FA Cup double left Morecambe 'totally tangoed' in the words of the BBC on the way to 36 goals in 88 appearances.

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A United career condensed between August 1996 and December 1997, Leroy Chambers reached a dozen short of 100 appearances thanks to the Pilgrims’ involvement in six different cup competitions.

For modern comparisons, he made more Boston appearances than Zak Mills did (84) and his scoring rate of a goal every 2.44 games ranks better than Spencer Weir-Daley’s 2.68.

The 1996-97 saw Boston contest 64 matches across the league, FA Cup and Trophy, Unibond Challenge, Unibond Presidents’, Lincolnshire Senior and Mather Cups (played against Boston Town).

Chambers missed just four of those games, appearing five times as a substitute alongside 55 starts in his only full season with the club.

Leroy had arrived at the age of 23 on ‘trial terms’ in the Summer of ’96 after playing for Chester the year prior. His career had begun at Sheffield Wednesday.

Debuting on the opening day at Runcorn, Chambers’ first start arrived on September 7 at Marine and four days later he marked his full home debut with a goal in a 4-2 win over Emley.

The forward added another the following Saturday as the Pilgrims won 7-2 in the FA Cup at Maldon Town. He registered strikes in three of United’s five Cup wins that season, adding goals at home to Bishop’s Stortford in the second qualifying round and a brace against Morecambe in round one.

That double in front of the BBC Sport cameras was preceded by a goal-a-game start to November for the striker- goals against Witton Albion, Boston Town, Blyth Spartans and Emley constituted the longest run of goalscoring games Chambers enjoyed during his time in amber and black.

He ended 1996 with seven goals in seven games, including three braces in consecutive home games against Gainsborough (5-2), Hyde (3-2) and Runcorn (2-2).

He added another seven goals through to May 1997 as the Pilgrims finished sixth and reached the final of the Unibond Challenge Cup (a 1-0 defeat to Gainsborough at Sincil Bank).

His 24 goals were enough to share honour of 1996-97 top goalscorer with Phil Brown- without his 11 league goals United would’ve been 10 points worse off, while he struck in five of United’s ties on route to the league cup final against Gainsborough, including the only goal in a 1-1 draw at Hyde; two in the replay win in Lincolnshire (3-2) and the only goal of the semi-final first leg at home to Colwyn Bay.

Chambers played every game the following campaign until leaving in mid-December to move back into the Football League.

With United’s involvement in the FA Cup now beginning in the fourth qualifying round (instead of the first a year earlier) the Unibond Premier League took full advantage of the emptied autumn schedule.

Eighteen fixtures were organised in the opening eight weeks. Chambers started them all, scoring 10 including a hat-trick in a 3-2 home win over Emley.

A small side note to those noticing Emley cropping up often: the Pilgrims met them seven times in 13 months with three cup draws accompanying four bizarrely organised league encounters - the clubs faced off in consecutive midweeks in October 1997. Chambers scored six against the Yorkshire outfit in that time.

Three more Boston goals came Chambers’ way before his United spell reached an abrupt conclusion - the non-contract forward choosing a move to Division Three Macclesfield Town. Not only did the Pilgrims lose a star man, they didn't claim a fee.

The Silkmen enjoyed a second consecutive promotion but Chambers ended 1998 at Altrincham.

His career continued with various non-league outfits, including Hucknall, Bradford Park Avenue, Frickley, Belper and Droylsden.