George Boyd's journey from a sweet shop to Hull City
GEORGE Boyd made no attempt to disguise his motivations behind a move to Hull City after calling time on six years with Peterborough United this week.
"Playing in the Premier League is everyone's dream, isn't it?" he asked, knowing full well the answer to his question.
"And I've got a fantastic chance of fulfilling that dream here."
All of a sudden, Boyd is closer than ever to realising an ambition he has held for over a decade.
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Parachuted into the business end of City's bid for promotion out of the Championship, thanks to a 93-day emergency loan, the 27-year-old has swapped an anxious relegation fight with Peterborough for what could yet be the finest hour of his career.
Little wonder he was smiling when unveiled at City's Cottingham training ground on Thursday evening.
Persistence has brought Boyd this far and makes his new-found pursuit of the Premier League one of the more uplifting tales in the Tigers' camp.
The journey has not been easy. Released by Charlton Athletic at 16, he juggled a college education alongside shifts working in a sweet shop at Hitchin station before Stevenage Borough opted to offer their promising schoolboy a full-time deal.
Four years of Conference football at Broadhall Way were rewarded with a £260,000 transfer to Peterborough and, at 21, came a belated first step up to the Football League.
New heights were scaled with Posh in a climb from League Two to the Championship and, as Boyd begins life at only his third pro' club today at Bolton, the ascent from non-league makes his next chapter one he is determined not to waste.
"Coming from the bottom makes you appreciate football and the life you've got from it," Boyd told the Mail. "It makes you love the game that bit more.
"I started off at Stevenage and moved there when I was 16 to do the whole college thing. I was working in a sweet shop during the day alongside my college work and it wasn't until I was 18 or 19 that I went full-time when I broke into the first team.
"I wouldn't have changed the experience for anything else. It made me grow up. It's better coming from the bottom rather than starting at the top and falling down."
Boyd was fearful that progress had stalled and once learning of Steve Bruce's firm interest on Wednesday evening, he begged Peterborough chairman Darragh McAnthony to sanction his loan move to the Tigers.
Cajoled by a £200,000 loan fee, Posh relented and granted an emergency loan deal to a star who will complete a free transfer to the KC this summer on a two-year deal. Peterborough's frustration would be City's joy.
A man-of-the-match performance in Peterborough's 5-1 win at Millwall on Tuesday night, scoring one and creating three, proved to be a fitting send-off for the man known at both Stevenage and Peterborough as the "White Pele".
Six years at London Road brought 75 goals in 297 appearances, but an amicable divorce was unavoidable.
"It was three promotions with Peterborough so it's going to be sad when you leave a club where you've had so many good times," he added.
"But it feels like the right time to move on.
"Peterborough will always be a special club for me and I really hope they're able to stay up."
The Championship strugglers have been resigned to losing Boyd since he made it clear he would not extend his contract beyond this summer.
A deadline day switch to Nottingham Forest was scuppered last month by an "inconclusive eye test" in the final hour of the transfer window.
Boyd prefers not to discuss the subject. "Everything happens for a reason," was the only fleeting acknowledgment. "I knew I had to get away when this chance (to join City) came up. I'm at a good age and it felt like the perfect time for a fresh challenge. It's a great chance to kick on."
Boyd knew just who to contact before agreeing a move to the KC Stadium this week.
Former team-mate Aaron Mclean, currently on loan at Ipswich, was one third of Peterborough's attacking trinity for three years, alongside Boyd and Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith.
Their exploits remain the stuff of legend, but Mclean assured Boyd similarly happy times beckon at the KC.
"We always had a great team spirit at Peterborough and that played a big part in our success," said Boyd.
"I spoke with Aaron and he said the team spirit here was very similar to what we had at Peterborough."
Boyd is no stranger to a promotion and completed his hat-trick with Peterborough 18 months ago.
To complement the back-to-back climbs out of League Two in 2007-08 and League One in 2008-09, his artistry helped Posh to win the League One play-off final against Huddersfield in May 2011.
With City second ahead of the trip to Bolton, a fourth promotion is back on the agenda for Boyd.
"You always see a team picking up momentum at the right time and this team seems to be doing it right at the business end," he said.
"I can remember in League One going 13 or 14 games unbeaten at this time of year and going on to win promotion. There's always one team that does it and I see no reason why it can't be Hull."
City's excellent 2-0 win over Blackburn had Bruce purring and changes to the side are unlikely today.
Everything points towards Boyd settling for a place on the bench, extending the debate as to where he will fit into Bruce's plans.
Boyd has played out wide, as a second striker and an advanced midfielder. That versatility and his undiminished goal threat will go some way to filling the void left by Sone Aluko.
"I'll play wherever," he added. "I'm comfortable in three or four positions and that will be up to the manager.
"Any position I take up it'll be important for me to score and create in the last 13 games. That's the main thing."