ADAM Boyd was earlier this month released from Hartlepool United. Last week he shared some of his favourite memories from his time at Victoria Park with SportMail. Today, he recounts some other tales with our chief sports writer CRAIG HOPE, including his brush with death and how David Beckham helped Pools to the play-offs.
IT wasn’t common knowledge at the time, but Adam Boyd came scarily close to losing more than just a few weeks of football back in 2005.
It was during a home match with Yeovil Town that the striker clashed with the visiting goalkeeper, injuring his knee.
The diagnosis was positive, the damage wasn’t serious, but an operation to “clean-out” his knee was nonetheless advisable.
And so Boyd underwent surgery.
He awoke, however, to find himself dazed and on a drip.
His blood had become infected, a problem so serious that doctors feared for Boyd’s life.
He recalls: “We’d played six or so games that season and I got injured. I went for a challenge with the goalkeeper, he slid out and I slid in.
“I had to have an operation a few days later. It was just meant to be a clean-out.
“But I got an infection – I was close to death.
“The doctor told me when I started to come round that, with the level of infection I’d had, a lot less had killed people.
“He told me if I wasn’t so fit and strong then I could have died.
“But when the doctors said at one point they were worried for my life it was a bit mad.
“It was a shock. I was waking up in the hospital on a drip, sweating every night. I lost about a stone in a week.
“But because you’re 23 you just shrug it off.
“It was a big thing to come back from and looking back it was scary.
“I was out for nearly five months because of it when it should have been just a few weeks, but I was lucky in the end.”
IT was October, 2001, Pools were loitering perilously close to the very bottom of the Football League pyramid.
They were 22nd in League Two. Spirits were low.
Then came the suggestion of a squad day out to the bars of Newcastle.
It was a free weekend and the whole nation was set to tune in to England’s crunch World Cup qualifier against Greece at Old Trafford.
By the time David Beckham scored “that” free-kick to send the Three Lions to Japan and South Korea, the Pools boys were well oiled.
But it proved the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes which was to culminate in a most-unexpected play-off campaign.
Boyd looks back: “We always had that team bond in the early days.
“But I remember one season in League Two we were struggling down near the bottom and had had an awful start.
“We’d hardly scored a goal and were third bottom, it wasn’t going well at all.
“We had a free weekend so we went up to Newcastle for a day out.
“It was the day Beckham scored the free-kick against Greece to send England to the World Cup.
“We just thought ‘we need to do something, let’s have a few drinks together’.
“It worked – we got to the play-offs!
“So you could say that day changed our season.
“Sadly we were beaten by Cheltenham in the play-offs, but it was a great season and just shows the importance of having that bond.
“Even now we’re all still close and we’ve just been on a stag-do with a lot of the lads from that time.
“I’ve so many special memories from that first spell at the club.
“People often ask me ‘why didn’t you leave at this time or that when the bigger clubs were interested?’.
“I knew Sunderland were watching and there was interest.
“But I was happy – I was sucked into the moment and thought ‘I love this, why would I want to leave?’.”