Bastock feeling at home in new King's Lynn Town role
For a player who spent the bulk of his career up the road at arch-rivals Boston United, Paul Bastock looks very much at home in the King's Lynn Town dugout.
After thwarting the Linnets at one end of the pitch for the best part of three decades, their record-breaking assistant boss has wasted no time getting his teeth into a fresh challenge.
The charismatic Bastock barely paused for breath as he touched on a whirlwind first few days in his new role with a club he has always held in high esteem.
Bastock, who will join Ian Culverhouse on the touchline at The Walks tomorrow, said: "I haven't been able to sleep, I've been that excited.
"I came in to meet the old Gaffas who were interested in me becoming goalkeeping coach and obviously things turned around massively and when Ian asked me to come in and be his assistant.
"He doesn't really need an assistant, he's probably one of the most tactical and best managers I've come across.
"I'm learning off Ian and I don't think there's anyone better I could learn off."
Reflecting on his first game on the bench against Alvechurch, Bastock said: "I've watched games this season and for me that was like a Premiership performance in non-league.
"We were heads above anything I've witnessed in any game this season and Saturday was an unbelievable start to a new adventure.
"I've played against King's Lynn many a time and I know what potential the club has got.The fans have always been very vocal and vote with their feet when the club is doing well.
"The Walks has always been a difficult and hostile place to play at and that's how we want to make it for other sides."
Bastock began his career as an apprentice with Coventry City, helping them beat a Southampton side led by Alan Shearer and Matt le Tissier en route to the FA Youth Cup final, which they won 2-1 against Charlton.
He never made a senior appearance for the Sky Blues, being released and making his professional debut as a 17-year-old for Cambridge United.
Bastock holds the all-time record for the most competitive appearances in world football, having played 1,277 times in league and cup competitions.
The likes of Colin Hoyle, Andrew Stanhope, Ian Stringfellow, Shaun Keeble, Paul Raynor and Adie Hayes all donned the shirts of both Boston United and King's Lynn during their careers but Bastock, surprisingly, was one who didn't.
But the man, who many fans have seen as the pantomime villain in the past, always felt his “destiny” would see him involved in some capacity at The Walks.
"I always thought one day I'd come here and play," admitted Bastock.
"When I dropped out of the Football League at Boston, I thought maybe that I'd get a phone call but I ended up going south, so this is special for me."
Bastock has experienced many ups-and-downs against Lynn, none more so than in 1999/200 when he was an ever-present between the posts as the Pilgrims went on to win the Dr Martens League.
A 2-1 Boxing Day defeat by Lynn, where Dave Robinson netted for the Linnets from the halfway line, was followed by a double penalty save from 'Bazza' in the return fixture at The Walks.
"I can remember saving two penalties in one game at Lynn that season but I can't remember Robbo's goal," quipped Bastock.
"I've had to live with that goal for a long while and will probably have to live with it for the rest of my life."