The word ‘legend’ is not one that should be used too often in the footballing world, but every now and again it is the fairest way to describe a player that makes such an impact and leaves such a legacy at a club.
For George Boyd, who left Peterborough for Hull after six magnificent years at the club, ‘legend’ is just one of the superlatives that has been, and will forever be, handed to him by supporters of the Posh.
A total of 296 appearances were made by the midfielder since he signed at the beginning of 2007, with his 75 goals just part of the pivotal role he has played in the success achieved during this period.
Boyd formed part of ‘The Holy Trinity’, along with Aaron McLean and Craig Mackail-Smith and under the guidance of Darren Ferguson and Darragh MacAnthony, the club has transformed into a Championship regular; far from the struggling League Two side that Boyd and company were first part of when they signed.
Silky skills, precision passing and a knack of scoring goals were a common theme of Boyd’s game in the early days, with the new brand of attacking football that Ferguson and MacAnthony had instilled, fitting perfectly around the abilities of our new playmaker.
For someone that had never played higher than the Conference before, his impact was immediate, looking a class above the opposition in many games and in his first full season at the club he appeared in every league game, scoring 12 times as Posh moved up to League One.
Once again Boyd was an ever present in another successful season that saw Posh promoted immediately up to the Championship, which would be the first time the club had played at the second tier of English football since the early 90’s.
During these two seasons, Boyd was named in the PFA team of the year on both occasions and eventually went on to make a club record 144 consecutive appearances before he finally missed a game.
The 2009-2010 season was one to forget for the Posh who failed to live up to the challenge of Championship football and finished bottom, with Boyd spending the last few months of the season at Nottingham Forest and with every expectation of signing permanently in the summer.
He failed to make an impact at Forest, though and only managed six appearances as he returned to Posh for pre-season training, but with rumours circulating all the time that he would still make the move away from London Road.
With chairman MacAnthony desperate for an immediate return to the Championship and the failed loan move to Forest maybe keeping him under the radar, Peterborough pulled off the signing of the summer and delighted every fan by getting him to agree to a new contract.
Again Boyd’s class shone as he made a total of 43 appearances and recorded his best scoring season to date, hitting the back of the net 15 times, in helping Posh finish in the playoffs and then beating Huddersfield in a memorable final at Old Trafford.
This time around the club was better prepared for what was required to handle Championship football, with a relatively quiet season by recent standards seeing Posh rarely troubled by the threat of relegation and a final finish of 18th in arguably Boyd and the clubs greatest achievement to date.
Once again a summer of transfer rumours had most fans fearing a transfer was imminent, but the season got underway with Boyd in the side and still producing unforgettable moments – most notably a stunning strike from the halfway line against Huddersfield.
Boyd was to produce one final spectacular performance as a Posh player in his final appearance in an away game at Millwall. Setting up three goals and scoring the last in a stunning 5-1 win was the perfect farewell appearance before he signed for Hull.
Boyd has wasted no time in showing his quality at his new club by scoring twice on his full debut and with manager Steve Bruce saying he ‘looked the real deal’ and ‘if there has been a better home debut, I haven’t seen one for a long time’.
Substituted late in the game, he received a standing ovation from the Hull supporters who are right now probably filled with the same excitement that Peterborough had during his first games.
Aside from hoping the Posh succeed in their battle for survival in the coming weeks, it will put a smile on everyone at Peterborough to see Hull gain promotion to the Premier League so that Boyd can finally play on the big stage his talent deserves.
By Gary Cutler, FanZone’s Peterborough blogger.