John Bostock signed for Notts County on the 7th December 2022. The deal was signed following a successful ‘trial period’ if you like, which was a period of time that saw Bostock train with the squad in hope that he would later discover a want to play for Notts County. Luckily for us, he did and went on to sign an 18-month contract.
The purpose for this piece in to explain why this free capture was one of and if not THE best piece of free transfer business the club has made in years and by years I am talking to the lengths of the past decade.
With full honesty, I will be the first to admit I felt the signing of John Bostock was going to turn out like Harry Arter did in the 21/22 campaign. Another player with a high profile, who had played for a lot of the top clubs within the country that joined Notts and failed to reach expectations. I remember when he first appeared for the club and I thought I was correct, however I was far from it and that delights me because the player he is for the football club is one we have all fallen in love with.
My first reasoning for why I believe John Bostock has been the best free piece of transfer business we as a club have completed for some time now is his personality. We have had plenty, and I mean pages full of names that have come to this football club with exceedingly high egos for what they produced on the pitch, had a huge falling out with managers at the time sometimes even the Meadow Lane faithful and left in a disrespectful manner towards the club. With this guy, its completely different. It sounds very cliché to say his personality but when you strip it down and look behind the different aspects that build up the word itself, it becomes more evident as to why I believe that it is a big factor. Really, you only have to watch some of his interviews to grasp a beginner idea of the kind of guy he is. It’s rare with footballers these days, when you listen to interviews, and they sound really robotic and almost as if they are reading from a script. But, with John Bostock, when he speaks he is one of very few players before this collective of footballers we have now that have come to this football club and spoke in a manner where you actually sit and listen with full attention to what is being said and you begin to believe what he is saying and it is all straight from the heart, on the spot and in the moment with no planning involved.
What is quite unique with Bostock and something I especially am quite proud to have within the playing squad is his beliefs. Firstly, it is definitely worth emphasising the importance of his beliefs and the admiration I have personally for the way he pushes his love for them through his social media platforms. You only really have to look at the number sixteen shirt exchange with Geraldo Bajrami in pre-season to understand the importance of what it means to him to pull on the number sixteen week-in-week-out to play for this club. I think his introduction to this club and his beliefs that he brought with him has been nothing but a revelation. His teammates seem to have really invested into them and it has improved the quality of working environment undoubtedly. The most important part with this though is the signings of Junior Morias and Daniel Crowley. Two players, like John, who share the same beliefs and have come to this club and made that clear personally too. I do believe without the introduction of John Bostock in December 2022, these signings may have not happened.
It is no secret that when footballers hear of interest from potential buyers, they typically look towards players who are already there and who they could speak to in order to conclude whether the club is right for them. I remember especially in Daniel Crowley’s first interview that he was in quite heavy dialogue with Bostock before agreeing to join, and the fact he is now a regular in our starting eleven tells you that the club was sold well to him. For this pair of signings in particular, it is not hard to imagine that Bostock himself was arguably the biggest pull factor of the club. Since both have been here, the relationships have blossomed and again it has helped improve the working environment behind the scenes and one that has improved massively since the signing of John Bostock himself. In 2023, religion deserves to be celebrated and loved and I for one am extremely proud that we have a group of players that display their beliefs consistently, as a fan it is something I enjoy viewing because it is more than evident just how much it means to them.
My next reasoning behind why I believe the free transfer of John Bostock was the best piece of free business the club has made in the past decade is the partnership he has made with Matty Palmer.
I mean, wow. Saying that, what is more wowing? The fact we have had both from the fifth tier to now or the fact the partnership strengthens with each game. That is a different cause for discussion but regardless the partnership in place is a huge factor behind the fact we have returned now back home to the EFL. The duo is one that any team in this division would take in a heartbeat within their ranks and you could argue the same for some in League One too.
The main reason I believe the partnership has blossomed and will continue to do so is the fact that neither player has an ego. Both players have been higher in the pyramid before, at clubs that are currently bigger than Notts County and I add emphasis on the word currently as I personally believe this club has all the right things in place to be challenging for a place in the Championship in the near future. However, with Palmer and Bostock, both as mentioned have played higher but both now know that is the past and in the present day they are both Notts County players and Notts County players that want to succeed with the club, players that have fallen in love with the club and players that perform well constantly to ensure like last season that their dreams of being successful at this club become a reality.
I mentioned before that these two are big reasons as to why we were promoted in the summer and anybody who watched us and strapped in for the rollercoaster ride would agree. To have those two alone in the National League is almost unfair, for them then to click like they did make it absolutely unfair. Even now, in the Sky Bet League Two, it almost feels unfair to have them both. However, when you sit back and rejog your memory into some of the midfielders this club has signed in the past, you quickly understand how much we have deserved this partnership. Good things come to those who wait they say, well we had to do waiting and more for a duo like this, but it arrived, and we later reaped the rewards the duo helped to provide.
What we have also seen so far in what has not been a full year of John Bostock being at the Lane is that he is a man for the big occasions. We have to start with that free kick at the Racecourse in what was the biggest game of our recent history. Although the result did not go our way on the day, that moment in itself is one that will take an awful lot to forget, especially considering the timing of the strike and the celebrations that followed. However, when we talk about the big moments and John Bostock in the same sentence, you immediately think to that free kick at Wembley Stadium that ultimately kept us alive in the final. There is no guarantee that would have been the final opportunity we had, but thankfully and courtesy of the man himself, we will never have to worry about that outcome. That moment really adding the cherry on the icing of the cake on what had been a great first half season at the club for him, and we spoke previously about his partnership with Matty Palmer being a huge reason behind our promotion, but that moment at Wembley was even better.
Less said about his penalty the better…
Overall, we have been very fortunate to have signed some fantastic additions on a free piece of business. The likes of Jodi Jones, Matty Palmer, Kyle Cameron and David McGoldrick all spring to mind and as much as they all have been fantastic additions, I feel like when you look beyond on the pitch (where Bostock always performs well) and look deeper into the different aspects that create a football, I believe John Bostock edges it.
From the connection with the fans, the already infamous ‘the marathon continues’ catchphrase, his impact on the changing room, the big moments such as at Wembley and the continuous top quality performances, this has been why I believe John Bostock has been one of the most impressive free pieces of business Notts County Football Club has made in the past decade.
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC John Bostock has settled into life at Notts.