Paul Bastock, a 47-year-old who rightly earns the term ‘veteran’, will surpass Shilton’s record of 1,249 career appearances if he turns out for Wisbech Town against Sleaford in a United Counties Premier Division match on Wednesday night and then in an FA Vase clash at Thetford on Saturday afternoon.
That’ll mean he’s racked up an impressive 1,250 outings during a career spanning almost three decades and 17 clubs. His roll of honour includes winning the FA Youth Cup with Coventry City in 1987.
Bostock, from Leamington Spa, was handed his debut at Cambridge United by Chris Turner and went on to become a legend at Boston United, helping the Pilgrims win promotion to the Football League in 2002.
He admits he’ll be delighted to pass Shilton’s record, though he would love to speak to the European Cup winner about the remarkable achievement and hopes to be able to get in touch with his hero.
“I’ll be thrilled when I finally get past Shilton’s record, but even more thrilled if Peter or the FA would get in touch to acknowledge it.
“I’ve tried to contact Peter, but I’ve been ‘custard pied’ so far! It’s a shame as Peter was one of my heroes growing up,” he said.
Nicknamed Bazza and The Cat, Bastock made his debut at the tender age of 17 and holds the crown at York Street for the most appearances for Boston, which stands at 678.
He’s already surpassed one Shilton record, when he played in his 1,005th league game in March 2015, and reflects on a career he’s enjoyed immensely.
“I’ve loved every minute of it,” the father of two told the Boston Standard.
“A lot of hard work has gone into lasting this long, but I’m as buzzing for this weekend’s FA Vase tie as I was when I made my Football League debut.”
Having joined Wisbech from Corby at the beginning of the season, he says he is enjoying his time at the Cambridgeshire club, playing in the ninth tier of English football.
“It’s great at Wisbech,” he said.
“The team are playing well under manager Gary Setchell, who has been a breath of fresh air.
“I left Corby after I was sent off in the fourth minute of a game. It was the centre-half’s fault as he underhit a back-pass by about 10 yards, but I’ve landed on my feet at Wisbech.
“I hope I’m selected at Sleaford and at Thetford as I’ve kept four clean sheets in a row. If I can keep another clean sheet on the day I break the record that would be perfect.”