Player Of The Decade #5: Adam Boyd
Our countdown of the top 10 players of the past decade continues, remember you can leave your comments and favourite moments in the comment box at the bottom of this article.
5. Adam Boyd
A product of the club's youth system, Adam Boyd broke into the first team at the turn of the turn of the century. After a couple of brief substitute appearances in late 1999 he made his mark with a last minute goal against Shrewsbury in February 2000. After chasing down a lost ball he stole possession from Shrews' keeper Paul Edwards and curled the ball into the net.
Over the next few seasons he failed to hold down a first team place despite showing promise. It seemed his Pools' career was at an end as Neale Cooper sent the striker out to Boston United on loan in 2003. The Pilgrims were keen to make then move permanent but were unwilling to match Pools' £10,000 asking price.
The Hartlepool-born striker returned to his home town club nine-pounds overweight and was advised by manager Cooper to 'lay off the pies'. He was surprisingly included in the squad to face Stockport and the rest, as they say, is history.
His performance convinced Cooper to start him the following week and he rewarded his boss with 2 goals as they saw off Grimsby. He would grab 12 games in the final 10 games of the season as Pools reached the Division 2 play-offs. He would hit his peak the following season as he fired an astonishing 29 goals, leading Pools to the play-off final, including a memorable hat-trick against Sheffield Wednesday.
His partnership with Joel Porter was simply mouth-watering. They complimented each other perfectly, always on the same wavelength and ready to tear apart opposing defences. The club has never seen a strike partnership so lethal. Between them they grabbed 45 goals that season with Boyd only narrowly missing out on the accolade of top scorer in the country to Thierry Henry.
With scouts from Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Newcastle and even Liverpool tracking Boyd, his career looked like it had finally taken off. Unfortunately a long-term injury picked up at the start of the 05/06 season kept him out for months, by the time he recovered Pools were fighting relegation and he was unable to prevent the club slipping in to League Two.
That summer he made the move to Championship side Luton Town for £500,000 to join up with former boss Mike Newell but his career at Kenilworth Road was blighted by injury and he was allowed to join Leyton Orient just a year later. After two seasons as top scorer at Brisbane Road he returned to Hartlepool for £50,000. While not quite reaching the same highs of his first stint he began scoring regularly for the club once more.
On his day he is simply sublime, lack of pace meant he could never make it at a higher level but in terms of skill and tricks, as well as scoring ability, he can't be matched at this level. Often criticised for being lazy, the true genius about Boyd is his ability to turn the game in an instant.
Our Favourite Moment
We've selected one of the best games of the past ten years as our favourite Boyd moment. The rain at the Vic was torrential as fallen giants Sheffield Wednesday made the journey north. It was an exhilarating night of football and Boyd was at the centre of it.
He put Pools 2-0 up at half time but his work wasn't done as he scored one of the greatest goals ever seen at Victoria Park. He latched onto the ball, twisted and turned his way past the defence and lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net. Simply sublime.
Click here for our Player Of The Decade page where you can find out more about the other players in our countdown