The Deranged Ferret

This evening I’d like to talk a little bit about the Imps fanzine, The Deranged Ferret. For younger people who don’t know the fanzine was usually sold outside the ground before kick off and it contained much Imps related criticism, wit and what would now pass as banter. I suppose it’s a bit like Lincoln City Banter, but only the funny people got to write articles. It was always balanced and had the club at heart, and throughout the nineties it circulated the terraces of Sincil Bank.

I first came across it sometime in 1993 as a 15 year old slowly emerging from that naïve world of a teenager and become world aware. The Ferret felt like it had an edge, it offered an alternative a often irreverent view of the club. I was into satirists like Jack Dee and Rob Newman and it’s tone as well as its insights had me hooked. It was pretty funny too. I’d usually hunt out a seller around the ground to pick up one of the three or four issues released during a season. This wasn’t where you got your transfer news or rumours, it was a place to take a light hearted look at the club on one page, and then lash out at the chairman the next.

untitledddd

I became involved around 2002 when Shane Clarke was editing it. I was only writing occasionally but it was great fun to cotribute. Writing for DF made you try and look at things in a different way, and it taught you to really appreciate the fun at Sincil Bank. I remember I wrote an article about Scott Willis in one copy which he read. It alluded to him  being a thug from a family of thugs and deliberately committing a kung fu kick style foul against Cambridge. I’m told he enjoyed it although luckily I never actually spoke to him to find out.

I gave myself the title of Features Executive for the final editions as Shane suggested I had a title. I liked the ring it had, and I’d finally achieved a small dream to have my name in the credits of what I thought would be a Lincoln City institution for years to come. Then it just stopped.

I’m not sure the exact time Shane called it a day and it went to the wall, I’d say sometime in 2005. I’d contributed quite a bit of copy, but Shane hadn’t received anything from anyone else. Time passed and the internet began to take over, there was no more need for a printed publication when a thousand web pages could offer the same thing. Why pay £1 for a fanzine when you could get just as much opinion and people trying to be funny for free on your computer? I discussed editing a copy with a couple of mates but printing costs weren’t cheap and I had no disposable income to play with. DF disappeared.

df

Final edition cover

 

The 12th Man group tried to re-launch it back in 2010 and we did a decent job. I edited two editions available as PDF only and sent out to 12th Man subscribers. I promised four but after delivering two with only a handful of contributions it became too much. I’m not going in to why I stopped writing about the club, but in mid 2010 things changed dramatically and I stopped editing the fanzine. Nobody wanted to take it over and to my knowledge only one copy was ever printed, by me as a keepsake.

Recently I was talking to my friend Rob (whom I’ve never met in person but in 2016 who needs to?) about an article he contributed to one of the digital copies. I promised to look it out and put it on here for him, which I did. I also read both PDF files from front to back and realised how much I enjoyed putting those together. Had it not been for me keeping them Rob might not have seen that article again. I read a few other bits too and it really took me back to that awful time around us losing our league status. There were a lot of angry people and one or two of them were happy to speak out.

Without the files I wouldn’t have been able to get that sense of the clubs culture and fans thoughts. Sure the internet would have been awash with it at the time, but now five years on those pages are long gone. I began to wonder if maybe the fanzine does still have a place in the football world?

Office Lens 20160426-165816

Murphy out and Clarke in

 

I read a couple of my old copies of the Ferret from 1992 and my belief that a printed copy is invaluable for future generations of Imps fan was affirmed. Reading about Bressington, Hobson and Puttnam not being used enough at the end of Murphys reign was the sort of insight you don’t get from owning a programme from the era. Reading discussion about Alan Clarke and the future was fascinating too, because this was a journalist writing but proper rank and file Imps fans. This was how they felt in 1992, and without DF future generations simply may not have known.

I posted on Banter to see if a re-launch of DF would be popular and the response was mainly positive. A couple of people offered to have an advert in it as well, and now with a bit of disposable income myself perhaps it wouldn’t be so hard to get it off he ground.

So I have decided to launch the Ferret again and try and ensure we capture our feelings and analysis for future generations to come. The internet is full of great stuff but it is also bunged up with some absolute crap, and often to find the nuggets of wisdom and the truly amusing analysis you have to wade through hundreds of thoughts from moronic kids and ill informed armchair pundits that often make no sense. If I can get DF printed and out there perhaps I can filter some of that dross and leave you with something in your hand that is different to the internets offering, and something you can keep and read for generations, you know just so you can relive these glorious National League memories in a decades time.

Of course I won’t be doing this alone and that is where I’m turning to you. I’m appealing for anyone who may be interested in helping to get in touch. I’d like to form a loose collection of people who can not only contribute written stuff but maybe a few drawings, cartoons or even practical help like attracting a couple of advertisers? Maybe you’re willing to help sell it on a match day, or you can get it stocked in a couple of places in the city?

The email address to contact me on is derangedferret16@gmail.com. Let me know if you agree it’s a good idea and if you want to be part of finally getting The Deranged Ferret, an integral part of terrace culture back into print after almost a decade.

Advertisements

Imps 2 Woking 3

I’ve sat down to write something about yesterday several times now and I’m not really sure what I can write that sounds positive. It’s unfortunate of course because I think we were the best team, but the match and result really mean nothing at all in the grand scheme of things. Simply wanting to finish on a certain number of points is a way of trying to motivate some players once the real prize has gone, but in reality some of the player do look like they have nothing to play for.

So I think it’s only fair to start with a player who looks as if he is playing for his life every single game. Bradley Wood has become a bit of a darling to the Imps fans for many reasons. He has a strong presence on social media and is accessible and friendly to all who want to chat with him. This down to earth persona is something fans like, he’s just like us and with that he instantly becomes a fans favourite. Despite being a former Grimsby player he isn’t quiet about his distaste for them now, something else that immediately endears him to Imps fans. The overriding reason for his popularity though is his never-say-die, run-through-walls, hard-as-nails playing style which is both committed and uncompromising. He isn’t a dirty player but he is a tough player who never looks as if he’s going through the motions. If I didn’t know better I’d say he’s acutely aware that everyday blokes like him are paying up to £20 to come and watch the team and he’s trying to pay each and every one of us back.

Imps 2 Woking 3 090

Can someone give our lass a shout, we’ll need a trailer to take all my awards home.

Yesterday typified Bradley Wood for me. He was all over the pitch throwing in tackles and playing sensible balls into the feet of a team mate. He doesn’t try the extravagant or impossible, he plays a nice simple game when he has the ball. He’s cultured in that he knows where his teammates are, and he’s dogged in winning the ball in order to give it to one of those teammates. In the first half yesterday he was clattered by Matt Robinson (who received a booking for his troubles), and within ten minutes had exacted his revenge. It wasn’t Roy Keane style thuggery, much more a reminder that if you go in hard on him he isn’t going to forget. Early in the second half he had a coming together with Daniel Carr who appeared to push his head towards Bradley. A hot headed player might have lashed out but he kept his calm to a degree and photos of the incident show Matt Rhead involved more than Bradley. He won’t put up with being bullied, but he won’t react in such a way that jeopardises the teams position.

Quite rightly for me he cleaned up the end of season awards taking home an unprecedented triple crown of Echo Player of The Year, Fans Player of the Year and Away Player of the Year. I can’t think of a player who has deserved it more in my thirty years as an Imps fan.

Imps 2 Woking 3 097

He’s big, he’s awkward and he scores our goals. I used to try and do this on FIFA 10.

 

There are those who might say Matt Rhead was unlucky not to take at least one home with him, and I can see where they’re coming from. Matt is one of those players who suffers because of his physicality and sluggish pace. He gets pulled from pillar to post at times but often gets penalised himself for trying to use his massive frame to his advantage. What some people fail to see in Rhead is his inherent skill. His overhead kick from outside the area and his delicate chip against Eastleigh show that he can play a bit of football, and there’s no doubt that he’s a handful too. Rumours are strong that he’s going to Barrow next season but I feel it would be a massive loss to City if he did. Anyone who thinks losing a 20 goal a season striker is okay needs their head testing. Defenders hate him, goalkeepers hate him and opposition fans hate him, and there’s three reasons why we should love him.

I can’t help but feel there could be so much more to come from Liam Hearn as well, and had he been on the pitch yesterday I think we’d have scored four or five. The ball was loose in and around their area so much that a proper ‘fox in the box’ would have had a field day. That isn’t a criticism of Jack Muldoon by the way, I like Jack a lot. However there are players who can play up front like Jack, and then there are natural born goal scorers like Liam Hearn. We haven’t had a true natural born goal scorer for an awful long time. Rhead may have hit 20 goals but he isn’t even a natural goal grabber. Think Jermaine Defoe, Andre Gray and Charlie Austin: players that score wherever and whenever they play. That’s Liam Hearn. Sadly for us I think his attitude and fitness will always be questioned and therefore I doubt very much whether we’ll ever see him in a Lincoln shirt again.

Imps 2 Woking 3 071

Sorry boys but looking gone out at each other won’t help.

 

I’m not convinced three at the back is the way forward either, especially not the three we had there yesterday. I read someone praising Lee Beevers for his contribution this season, but frankly I think he’s been incredibly disappointing. He looks a couple of yards off the pace and was done almost every time someone ran at him yesterday. Similarly Howe and Waterfall never looked overly competent when players ran at them, and  there’s no doubt we’ve missed Jamie McCombe organising at the back. I’d imagine one of Howe, Waterfall or Bush will sit alongside him next season probably with Wood at full back and A N Other on the other flank. Of course it’s easy to speculate as we really don’t know who will be in charge.

Lot’s of names are being mentioned aren’t they? The non league paper needed to shift a few copies so they linked us with Robbie Fowler. Former Imp and prolific own goal scorer Frank Sinclair was seen at the game yesterday and the whispers of Billy Heath wouldn’t go away either. Maybe if Simon Weaver is in the frame he might fancy Liam Hearn having had him at Harrogate? If it’s Billy Heath there’s the potential of further investment, and if it’s Frank Sinclair we could be going through the recruitment process again in a few months once he bottles it. It’s a crucial appointment at a crucial time, and despite the progress made under Chris yesterdays game did lay bare a few things that need to be addressed. Without Power Stanley or Tempest we looked lightweight in midfield, even with Bradley Wood covering every blade of grass. We create chances but don’t score enough, and we still don’t have that water tight defence that we crave.

Imps 2 Woking 3 138

Point at him all you want lino, it’ll take more than a movement of his head forward to earn him a red card.

 

It’s also a shame that some of the loan players we’ve had probably won’t get the chance they’d hoped for under Chris Moyses. George Maris was clearly on the radar, but a new manager won’t have seen him and is unlikely to give him a deal. I probably wouldn’t anyway and I know 99% of you disagree with that, however he did put himself about relatively well yesterday. James Caton is another that it looks unlikely will be back next season, and despite some indifferent form I saw enough of him to convince me he’s worth a punt at this level. However a new manager will have his own players he’d like to add and is unlikely to use the notes and observations of his predecessor.

It’s the same with the out of contract players as well. Young Player of the Year Elliot Hodge is waiting on a deal as is the impressive Greg Tempest but both now have their future hanging in the balance while the managers role is filled. It’d be a bad thing to lose either of them as they’ve both shown enough to convince me they’d be assets next year, but in reality both have been left in no mans land. It isn’t anyone’s fault particularly, just one of those situations thrown up at a professional football club.

So ends another season of football at Sincil Bank, and bar the end of season showcase for Cheltenham we now have a long summer of Euro 2016 action to look forward too. However there’s no doubt each and every one of us will be glued to Lincoln City Banter, BBC News, Vitals and wherever else we get our information from as the potential for next season takes shape. 2,500 Imps fans turned out yesterday and left bitterly disappointed that an end of season fixture with little or no meaning went the way it did. I think that shows the level of expectation around the club at the minute and a new manager will have to handle that as well as fill in some of those cracks appearing in the squad. However if he gets both of those things right there’s no reason why in 12 months time I won’t be blogging about our up coming play off matches.

Indiscreet discretion

Before I start let me tell you that I like Bob Dorrian. He may have made mistakes but two things are very clear to me. He loves the club, and he is not responsible for the mess he inherited. I believe the club was in a state as early as 2006 and by the time Uncle Bob came to have the reigns we were already twirling around the pan waiting to be flushed out of the football league. Bob merely oversaw the result of the previous regimes mishandling of the club.

However Bob is different to most chairman. He likes to talk and quite often he finds himself saying things that maybe football chairmen shouldn’t be saying. I remember him talking about a potential transfer for Dany N’Guessan and mentioning how terms might be discussed over ‘a few pints’ whilst he was holidaying in Spain. I’m sure he’s always great fun to interview because you never quite know what he’s going to come out with next, something slanderous, insightful or all out ludhis evening Bob has once again surpassed himself with an interview in which he revealed everything he didn’t want to reveal by not actually saying it. His facial expressions did seem to (strongly) indicate that he was an admirer of Billy Heath, and that the North Ferriby boss had applied for the job. An out and out ‘no’ to Marcus Bignot was met with a much more subtle ‘it’d be unfair to comment’ when asked about Heath. To be fair he’s been mentioned from the very start of the process, and my previous blog explains that he might come laden with goodies.

I felt a little bit for David Preece tonight. I’ve applied for jobs before when in a builders merchant  looking to move up the ladder only to have the manager I’ve applied to openly discuss who else might get it. I have had the ‘you’re not getting it but here’s a interview to keep you happy’ routine pulled on me and it seemed to be the case here. It sounds like they’re going to hear him out, but the real coup lies with grabbing someone from another team.

It may just have been me but I wasn’t convinced about the young coaches bit. I’m not at all convinced we will end up with someone who has no experience as a manager at all. There’s a good squad assembling and there’s a little bit of money to stabilise things off the field, so now I think Bob will want to bring someone in already performing well as a manager.

The keenness with which Bob spoke about Billy Heath does convince me that he is the number one candidate now. Whether North Ferriby come up or not is irrelevant really. The investors are pulling out because they’ve gone as far as they can, and on their crowds they won’t have a budget that will push them towards the top of the conference. If they come up they’ll be another Guiseley, picking up a few wins but not seriously troubling the top five. However Lincoln City will be challenging for the top five, or at least are expected to be. We are traditionally a football league team and any manager that takes us there will improve his stock no end. Billy Heath has achieved things at North Ferriby and Bridlington with a good budget, but will he want to risk tarnishing that reputation by staying at a team that probably won’t compete financially? When he didn’t have that money at Frickley his reign was uninspired. Should he maybe cash out now and take the chance of managing a bigger club with more potential?

For Bob  to say cryptic things like ‘I’m not saying that it is the case we might have to wait for the play offs to finish’ and ‘it’d be unfair to say if Billy Heath has applied’ indicates to me that he has applied and we will wait until the play offs have finished out of respect for North Ferriby. Billy Heath fits with Clive Nates comments about investment the other day as well. What if the board had spoken to the North Ferriby investors before, maybe whilst looking for new investment? What if those investors spoke highly of their man Billy Heath?

For now though lets assume Billy is appointed but doesn’t come with Steve and Emam Forster in tow. Let’s assume he comes here as a manager with a point to prove. He does already know the city after all, he turned out for Lincoln United as a player. He may not have the playing pedigree that the likes of Chris Sutton had, but don’t forget Dave Bassett played non league his entire career and he wasn’t a bad manager was he?

Billy would almost certainly come with his assistant Mark Carroll which would mean another role for Grant. I expect a new manager to bring an assistant of his own choosing, and the pairing has worked very successfully over the last five years. North Ferriby may have had a bit of cash but they’ve won three cups, a league title and a runners up spot under the stewardship of Billy and Mark. It’s safe to say they’ve had success albeit in the leagues below us. However the FA Trophy is a competition we enter and they’ve won it, so it’s fair to say moving up a level wouldn’t be a massive shift.

I think my only real criticism of Billy is that he has had an up and down management career. Things weren’t great at Frickley for him, and his success at both North Ferriby and Bridlington could be attributed to the budgets on offer. I’m loathe to hold that against him though as winning on a good budget isn’t always easy, just ask Jose this season or any Darlington manager from the late 1990’s onwards. Money or no money you still have to win football games and for the last couple of seasons Billy Heath has shown he’s very good at that.

I still have this nagging feeling that there is another name that the speculation is missing that might show up on the scene fairly late in proceedings. Mind you with all of the internet speculation I’m not sure there’s that many people left who haven’t been linked with the job. I’m sure if Rob Makepeace just shouted names at Bob and waited ten seconds you’d be able to tell by his facial expression whether they were candidates. If you shouted loud enough he might start shouting his thoughts back and instead of dinosaur he might just shout ‘Steve Thompson’ because lets face it, it’s who he meant.

Archives: October 2010

I wrote this blog on the eve of our home game with Burton Albion that saw Chris Sutton and Ian Pearce leave the club. At the time I was supporting Sutton as I felt a change would do us no good, and how right I was. One extra 0-0 that season would have seen us safe, and yet somehow the crafty cockney Steve Tilson seemed to mess it all up for us.

It’s probably telling that my blog before Sutton left was about Poacher, and this was back when I tried to retain at least an air of mystery The football was miserable and off the pitch I was discontented as well. I will be writing much more about Poacher in my upcoming book (by upcoming it’ll probably be 2018 by the time I finish it) but below is a small taster of what’s in store when I finally get my arse into gear.

DSC00125.JPG

The mascot gang in Sheffield in 2007. My good pals Bladey, Roary and Len the City Gent are there.

 

Okay so in a nutshell Lincoln are conceding goals and not looking like scoring. We have players who don’t even resemble decent footballers, and then ones that do but we seem to hold in somewhat higher esteem. The fans are miserable and arguing amongst themselves and the manager seems to think that we’ve done nothing in 125 years of history which he is on a mission to put right. I hesitate to point out even Peter Daniel managed to take us into the conference, and he’d never played for England. Anyhow I digress.

Digress? How can I be digressing? This is a Lincoln City blog and that first paragraph was about Lincoln City. Indeed it was, but the headline maker over the next few weeks may be Imps mascot Poacher the Imp. Away from the amateur defending, toothless attack and fickle fans, Poacher may about to be involved in quite a sensational news story.

I had the pleasure of meeting Poacher once and he told me tales about all the antics he’s been involved in. The obvious question of course is ‘do you run that race every year, the one in the papers’? The answer to that was yes, but this year is going to be very different.

For best part of a decade and a half Huntingdon have staged the Mascot Grand National. Other courses have attempted and failed to emulate the media success of their event. In the early years the Sun newspaper were there, page threes finest were there and Poacher the Imp was there. The event went from strength to strength.

However things started to go a little sour. An extra from Coronation Street managed to get himself in the Oldham Athletic suit and start winning every year. Suddenly winning was the focus and some mascots started turning up in running shoes and very flimsy costumes. Genuine mascots such as Captain Blade from Sheff Utd weren’t so keen on this, and a 2005 spat saw the two come to blows at the en of the race. Integrity intact ‘Bladey’ as he is known retained his mascot status. The Corry extra resigned and Oldham appointed a much more suitable man to be Chaddy.

However The Sun continued their involvement, entering athletes in fancy dress masks and running shoes. Mascots started turning up from Sunday league sides such as ‘Finedon Volta’, running in no more than a tracksuit and balaclava. The racecourse seemed to actively encourage these ringers, and actively discourage good honest mascots. Indeed last year Captain Blade was given two minders to keep him in check, and for Bladey this was the final straw.

Many mascots have different reasons for boycotting the race. Bladey is a long standing mascot who has the respect of his mascotting colleagues such as Roary The Tiger from Hull, and our own mascot of 13 years Poacher The Imp. However as well as support for Bladey there is also the fear that football mascots might have been exploited just one too many times.

Back in the day, around the turn of the Millennium football mascots were everywhere. Poacher himself appeared in the early Huntingdon Grand National, appeared on Ant and Dec, filmed an advert for AXA insurance at Wembley and generally got everywhere he could. Mascots were treated as figures of fun, afforded a free reign to exhibit their unique brand of entertainment. However clouds started forming in 2005.

Rockingham racecourse put on an event in 2004 where each mascot got 50 free tickets to go along and watch a days NASCAR racing if they ran a race themselves. They did (Poacher finished 3rd by the way Imps fan, in front of 32,000 people). However in 2005 the ticket allocation was cut to just mascot plus 1. The bubble had burst.

rockingham2005 097

Some girls and me in 2007.

With the exception of the odd event mascots have mostly been treated as a free bit of entertainment ever since. Huntingdon are the worst offenders routinely cutting down on changing space and refreshments whilst all the time trying to squeeze as much fun out of mascots as possible. Indeed two years ago Poacher and Mrs Poacher raised a massive amount of money for their chosen charity and were named ‘Best Fundraisers’. Was this publicised? No. Instead the publicity went to the mascot of that famous football club Saffron Walden FC from Saffron Walden. With a mascot called ‘Wacky Macky’ bear, because he is a Macken. From Sunderland. 237 miles away.

Of course the winner from 2004 Graham the Gorilla wasn’t from anywhere near as far away as that. No he represented another football giant, Finedon Volta FC. You all know Finedon Volta, they’re from Finedon in Northants and play in the local Northants League. I wonder why they have a mascot? I’m sure it wouldn’t be to enter a national race as a ringer and win money in a betting sting. I’m 100% sure of that.

The thing is all of this is to be expected, but a venue should move to stop behaviour like this. Mascots such as Captain Blade, Poacher and others dedicate their time (for free) to supporting charities, entertaining fans and supporting their side. Events such as the Mascot Grand National should be a chance to come together and do what they do best on a national stage. However it appears that Huntingdon Racecourse doesn’t accept this, and are more than happy to have 92 football mascots boycott this year’s event.

Mascots. Men with principles, direction and a liberal covering of fur. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get 11 of them into a red and white striped shirt on a Saturday afternoon, because I can guarantee that you’d find more passion there than Imps fans saw on Saturday.

At the time of writing City have lost 2 in 2 and are just five hours away from a crunch home games against Burton Albion. Lose that and perhaps the mascot crusade won’t be the only newsworthy nugget creeping out of the Bank this month. Win it and at least Chris Sutton will give the fickle fans something to consider before they start chanting ‘Sutton Out’.

Fans didn’t need to shout Sutton out, by the time I published this he’d probably already made his mind up. However we did boycott the grand national that year, in fact I wasn’t to attend another mascot event again which is a shame. I’m going to be scanning a few articles I wrote for the ferret in 2004 on here shortly, and I might even look back at a few old programmes I have kicking about (well over 1000) with a ccouple of cheeky scans for you to see as well. Let me know which you’d prefer, DF or programmes by commenting here.

A case for Thommo?

I can guarantee you that the title alone means this blog will get significantly less hits than my City articles usually do. It has a word contained within that many Imps fans seem to find offensive and upsetting: Thommo.

Ever since Thommo left his job at Notts County he has been hanging around Sincil Bank, commentating on a match day and throwing his hat in the ring  every time the Imps hot seat becomes available. Each time he loses a little more credibility with Imps fans, and yet each alternative appointment takes us further away from where we once were. Granted CM has changed that recently, but nonetheless the job comes up and Thommo is mentioned as a candidate. Whenever he’s mentioned on social media the usual howls of derision begin calling him everything from a has been to an out and out irritant for the ears. It’s fair to say Steve Thompson isn’t popular with some of the Imps support.

thomspon

Now I want to play devils advocate for a bit, and tell you why the idea of Steve Thompson taking the managers job might not be such a bad idea Before you reach for the log out button though, I assure you he wouldn’t be my first choice at present. I’m not here trying to sell you him as a manager, I’m here to point out that the disgust the mere suggestion is met with is wholly unfair on a man who’s brash and outspoken demeanour actually masks an astute and experienced manager.

Firstly lets do the Wikipedia bit and discuss who Steve Thompson actually is. Steve was a very successful defender who played for City over 150 times during the halcyon days of Colin Murphy in the early 1980’s. His imposing figure and hard tackling earned him a move to  Charlton Athletic, which is where this blogger first encountered him on a Panini 87 sticker. He captained the Addicks into the top flight, and towards the end of his career came back to Lincoln as a player bringing his appearances to 180. He’s usually mentioned as a ‘legend’ at the Bank and fans a little older than me will recall him extremely fondly as an all-action, no-nonsense hard man.

In November 1990 he took over as Lincoln manager with us languishing near the bottom of the fourth division (what we’d give to languish there now). He guided us to a strong finish and the next season landed us just a couple of points outside the play offs. However rumours of his colourful personal life circulated the terraces and his contract was not renewed in 1993. I recall reading something by the late John Reames who praised him as a manager saying he took defeat hard, but also got carried away a little with success.

In 1998 he surfaced at Sheffield United and guided them to the Play Offs and the semi finals of the FA Cup. He has a bit of pedigree you see, and although he goes to great lengths to point it out on twitter, he does have a point. He has ‘been there, done that’. He worked under Keegan briefly at Newcastle and under Murphy again at Notts County.

Mind you a later spell as  Notts County manager and at Cambridge damaged his stock a little bit. He failed to keep Cambridge up in a six month spell there and after a relatively unsuccessful spell at County he returned to the radio to form a somewhat questionable double act with everyone’s favourite anti-Lincoln commentator Michael Hortin.

thommo

Unfairly an unpopular choice?

 

Since then I think he’s managed to grate on quite a few listeners of the radio with his strong outspoken views and his constant referencing of ‘his friend Nicky Law’. Personally I quite like his commentary, it is a nice relief from Sporting Hortin cheering opposition goals. In actual fact he speaks quite a lot of sense about the game. One thing that really stuck in my mind was an assessment of Josh Gowling in a city shirt. Josh had tried to be fancy and lost the ball and he remarked ‘defenders only have to do two thing. If it comes towards your head, head it away. If it’s in to your feet, kick it away’. It may be frighteningly simple but would we be in the position we are today if Steve Tilson’s defenders had heeded that advice?

Steve Thompson would also invariably come with one of his good friends, and I’d imagine the most realistic prospect would be his former team mate Mick Harford. I’m not going to wax lyrical about Mick, but he is one of my all time favourite footballers for his attitude and approach to any situation (hit it head on, and hard). He’s a respected coach and former manager himself, and he hasn’t sullied his reputation with Imps fans. If they’d take over after Sutton I think we would have stayed up because Mick as a personality brings reason and balance to the fiery cannon that is Thommo. Anyone at the 2010 Sports mans dinner that saw them together drinking will testify that!

Nobody has watched quite as much Lincoln City as Steve Thompson in the last eight or so years either. He’s travelled up and down the country watching Conference football every week, analysing it and studying it in order to pass opinion. He’s seen a club fall from grace to near oblivion and now begin to creep back up. He knows the current squads strengths and weaknesses and he knows how a majority of our opponents approach games. Once again nobody can refute that fact.

Queens+Park+Rangers+v+Ipswich+Town+DxBbg0v4GAVm

Genuinely a tough bastard. Lovely fella though.

 

I could go on but I won’t The sad truth is that if Steve Thompson, former Imps defender and FA Cup Semi Final manager got the job then crowds would drop. People seem to have a dislike for a man who has actually had a decent career and who has actually managed at a decent level. Those fans wouldn’t come to games because they disliked what he said on the radio or they dislike his brash and self confident personality. They don’t know if Billy Heath is the same, but it doesn’t matter. They’re under the impression that in order to be successful as manager of Lincoln you have to be managing elsewhere at this moment in time. I’m afraid Thommo doesn’t fit the bill for them, and apparently he doesn’t fit it for Bob either.

I find it a real shame that a man who should command a bit of respect at the club is often derided on social media. Any other player with those appearances and the career behind them that he’s had would be welcomed, and yet for some reason Steve isn’t. People consider him a dinosaur, and yet those same people have mentioned the likes of John Still as a good manager to get us out of the division.

I also find it a shame that some people say they wouldn’t come and watch City if Thompson was in charge. They’re great fans aren’t they? If we don’t appoint a manager they approve of they won’t support the team? Does armchair football really have such a strong appeal that they’ll use an excuse as flimsy as the manager to stay away? I haven’t approved of a lot of managers over the years, but as a Lincoln City fan they wouldn’t be a reason to not come to the ground.

To finish ponder on this. The last time Bob Dorrian picked a manager he got Steve Tilson. After that he got Holdsworth and after that he got Simpson. Not one of those three managers worked out, so maybe the candidate Bob doesn’t want should be first in the door for an interview? Before Chris Moyses took over he had been running an engineering company and he’s managed to take the club forward. He was a youth at Lincoln, made 4 appearances and had previously managed Lincoln Moorlands Railway, and yet fans backed him. So why would you not back a 180 appearance veteran and moderately successful experienced manager who has spent the last few years earning a living on the radio?

Friends with benefits

I’ve come home from a day at the office to find an interesting article from the Lincolnshire Echo regarding comments made by Clive Nates about the search for a new manager. I know some of you won’t go on the Echo website due to the intrusive adverts, but the basic premise was that appointing the right manager could bring potential investors closer to the club, in other words get a good name here and people might think about pumping money in.

Now this may well be a throwaway comment made to the press, but as a keen blogger I feel it is my duty to delve a little deeper and suggest something the words may mean. Read in the way an enquiring mind reads them Clive’s thoughts may well suggest either Billy Heath or Simon Weaver are in the frame.

Firstly Billy Heath’s name has already been linked with the soon-to-be vacant managers slot. He’s done fairly well with North Ferriby over the last few years, success which he has maintained this season despite the owners Steve and Imam Forster looking to sell the club. In April 2015 they released a statement saying the support had effectively not matched the level of investment and they were pulling out. However manager Billy Heath certainly matched the investment with a 2015 FA Trophy win and being on the cusp of the National League.

heath

Billy Heath. Nice jacket.

 

I think it’s fair to say that there is the possibility of a strong relationship between manager and owners, if this is the case are they on the lookout for a club with bigger ambition to take forward? If their exciting manager Billy Heath see’s Lincoln City as his next step, will they feel inclined to do the same?

The way Clive talks it seems he is pleased to have seen a certain name on the list. Would he be suitably aware of Billy Heath and the North Ferriby connection? If rumours are to be believed the Forsters have already been mentioned in relation to investing at Lincoln and therefore he may have been briefed on the situation already.

Secondly the article throws up the possibility of former Imp Simon Weaver. There’s no doubt that Clive will be aware of him with the club loaning players to Harrogate this season and Simon being an ex Imp. I understand Clive was a fan during the play off seasons so he’ll be well aware of who ‘Horse’ is. He was a part of a successful Lincoln team and would I’m sure be warmly received by fans, plus he’s up and coming having steered Harrogate to the brink of promotion.

What many people don’t know is that Simon Weavers Dad is minted, and I mean minted. He’s director of a company called Strata Homes based in York and has wealth that could certainly change a football clubs fortunes. He invested in Harrogate after Simon joined as manager and pumped a good amount of money into the club to push them on in search of success. Maybe there’s a thought that he could invest should we appoint Simon. A press release at the time of his investing suggested both felt awkward that the other was with the club, perhaps trying to avoid any notion that it was simply Dad helping out his boy. That obviously wouldn’t be the case, but maybe Irvine Weaver has a taste of football club investment now and wants to get behind a bigger project?

There is the down side to the Simon Weaver appointment though, Irvine is Harrogate based and he more than likely invested in his local club rather than just supporting his son. However if his appetite has been whet in Yorkshire there is a possibility that he wants a bigger club with more potential to invest.

weaver

Simon ‘Horse’ Weaver clearly distracted by something over your right shoulder.

 

It does seem to put yesterdays front runner David Preece down the pecking order. I’m not sure that his name would be the one Clive was hoping to read, unless he has been impressed by his demeanour and contribution at Lincoln. However I can’t see how David Preece would attract new investors to the club. I like him as a person and I think he’d make a good manager, but I can’t see how people with cash to invest would do so because our goalkeeper coach had stepped up to gaffer.

There will of course be more twists and turns. Steve Thompson has already suggested he feels aggrieved that his consistent application was ruled out by Bob wanting ‘up and coming’, and he took to twitter to list a succession of experienced managers (like Van Gaal…. go figure) as if that might change peoples minds. It won’t.

Of course it’s all speculation and conjecture at this point, and my little piece here will only add to the discussion and second guessing. However this appointment I think is as important as any since Keith Alexander, with so many factors to consider. When does a new manager ever take over at a team in which a continuation of somebody else’s work is needed? How often does that manager not only have to have football acumen, but also be impressive to potential investors? How often does the outgoing manager hope to have a say in who replaces him?

2005, the last time of optimism

I’ve already blogged previously about our 2-0 win over Scunthorpe back in 2005, but flicking back through my old files I found this assessment of our situation just over a decade ago. I don’t think I need to say anything else.

Mondays win over Scunthorpe seems to finally have convinced the watching world that Lincoln are not just about big balls forward to towering Neanderthal figures who terrify and traumatise opposition defenders into conceding sloppy goals. The watching world saw two fantastic strikes thanks to Sky TV, Simon Yeo and Gary Taylor Fletcher and were finally convinced City were a side with genuine automatic promotion hopes. The Sky nominated experts were ex European Cup Winner Gary Birtles and Yeovil manager Gary Johnson, both respected voices on the football circuit. Both pundits used those loud voices to send a vibrant and clear message to League Two and more significantly League One. Lincoln City are a team to be feared.

 

The result and goals rather than the performance had City fans finally believing that this could be the year they finally make the jump to League One. Many young fans couldn’t possibly remember league competition that features Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest or Bradford but the prospect of big clubs visiting once again rekindles memories of 1998, Man City and Fulham. Last time round City faltered and stuttered with a weak squad and ugly tactics. A second bite of the cherry next season would see the ugly tactics refined and repacked as an effective and exciting attacking game. The squad is getting deeper with five quality forwards backed up by three competent midfielders and a posse of strong and committed defenders. Alan Marriott has always been ready for football at a higher division and with an impressive crop of young stars such as Ollie Ryan, Jack Hobbs, Leon Mettam and Shane Clarke coming through the ranks the future certainly looks bright. The TV appearance simply pre warned the teams glancing over their shoulder in League One.

 

What the TV cameras didn’t manager to show was the sound foundations the club has laid down from the boardroom through the club and out into the community. Financial security seems to have been secured with ambitious but sensible transfer fees being paid out for apparently good quality players. How deep the club are willing to dig in order to keep the players whose contracts are close to expiry is a question yet to be answered, but the fans trust in the club to offer the right deals. Two years back their were rumblings of discontent as Stuart Bimson moved on and the same last year when League Two’s best right back Mark Bailey departed and moans both years over the failure to secure Simon Yeo’s signature for the coming seasons. This year the Yeo grumbling roll on but there is belief players like ‘Sloppo’ and Peter Gain might actually stay. League One football is an enticing prospect for any player, but with the close bond between the players and the fans certain favourites are much likelier to remain at the club.

 

As an ardent fan Mondays result whetted my appetite for visual reminders of successful Imps teams in action. Rushing down the club shop clutching my freshly earned bonus I lashed out on copies of Imps v Boston (2-0), v Grimsby (4-2) and bizarrely enough the 1988 win over Wycombe that sent the Imps back into the league. Coupled with Mondays nights game these moments were classics to savour and selected using a great process of elimination. Admittedly they were three of only six or seven available, but the significance of all four games I now own would have made me choose them from a list of hundreds. The reason was encapsulated by the coverage on Monday night – local pride and a belief if we go up we can stay up. Despite Scunthorpe being above us in the league City top the ‘Lincolnshire mini-league’ which this year signals Lincolnshire top side. Its official, we are the pride of Lincolnshire.

The two homes draws with The Mariners and The Pilgrims weren’t groundbreaking, nor the 3-2 reverse at Glanford Park. Our success was achieved mainly away from home in front of 2,500 fans at Blundell Park and York Street, as well as in front of thousands two days ago. All three games combined to earn an accolade that fans may remember for years. The promotion picture is peppered with our top county sides Scunthorpe and Lincoln so the possibility of the mini league breaking up is very real. This could be the only chance in history that all four clubs are pitched together in competitive action and it is beyond doubt that Lincoln will come out on top. The undisputed Pride of Lincolnshire. Sweet.

 

The other film I purchased on the wave of euphoria I’ve rode through the week was the scrappy 2-0 win over Wycombe in May 1988 that completed our year in the Conference doldrums. Played on an appalling pitch by two relatively poor teams by today’s standards the game doesn’t make pretty viewing, not aided by the fact that it’s a terrible quality having originally been filmed by one man and his camcorder. None of those reasons can detract from it obvious historical value to Lincoln City Football Club. On that day in May 1988 City weren’t certain they’d be promoted, but they were favourites. The players, officials and fans all knew in their heart of hearts they were going up. They were also reasonably sure they wouldn’t be coming back down again. Most the team had league experience and had been honed into a strong and committed side. Colin Murphy had quickly blended a squad of players capable of not only achieving promotion, but also sustaining life in a higher league. The team won the game by two goals to nil and duly got promoted not having yet suffered the infamy of a return to the non league ranks.

 

Which brings me to the copy of Mondays game that I have since watched twice more from start to finish. Unlike 1988 City aren’t assured of promotion but their fate is in their own hands. The Imps have five of their promotion rivals to play, but they aren’t the only side with a tough run in. All the sides around City have to play each other and relegation haunted clubs fighting for survival. Should they win all their remaining games City would be left with 83 points meaning that current leaders Yeovil would only be able to drop four further points in their run in, which equates to two of Rushden, Kidderminster, Wycombe and Southend. Food for thought or pie in the sky speculation? Either way a good spell in the final games against our competition will certainly leave us in the promotion frame, and for the first time since 1988 we have a great chance of getting up and staying up. The climb through the league pyramid can be an arduous and drawn out affair peppered with years of uncertainty and under achieving, and to finally see light at the end of the tunnel is both exciting a terrifying. 17 years may have passed since we last fancied our chances on a bigger stage, since we last felt our club could financially sustain football at a higher level. This could finally be our golden opportunity to make the step up and reclaim our place away from the basement division.

 The club certainly were on a sound footing at that time with a collection of good players, high crowds and the goodwill of the city behind them. Sadly of course Rob Bradley stepped down and we saw Steff Wrights reign start brining the infamous ‘Championship 2010’ campaign which saw money frittered away on training grounds and not playing staff. Heart breaking.

 

Imps 2 Chester 1

I was going to call this something like ‘things I learned’, but I think the genre gets covered well enough by John Pakey in the Echo, so I guess I’ll just furnish you with a few of my thoughts from yesterdays game against Chester.

As some of you probably know I used to be Poacher and on the odd occasion I get to do it, and yesterday was one of those days. I think recently I’ve found myself becoming more attached to our club again and it felt like my journey was complete when I pulled the suit on yesterday. I moved away to Cambridge you see, that is why I hung up the fur and stopped in the first place. Truth be told I’d become disillusioned with Gary Simpson and the direction the club was taking under him and my love of Poacher was my last real link to the club. However since I’ve become a fully fledged yellow belly again it seems my dormant passion has begun to flourish, and yesterday it came out in bloom once again. The exact moment it flowered again was five or ten minutes before the teams came out. I trotted over towards the Chester faithful to be met with a round of ‘What the f*cking hell is that’. It felt amazing to hear that barrage of abuse once again, and when the chants of ‘paedo’ begun as well I was smiling from ear to ear. As a mascot if the away fans give you stick they’ve noticed you, and therefore you’re doing your job. The 617 boys even replied with a round of ‘who the f*cking hell are you’ back at Chester. Pre match banter prompted. Job done.

I think I also enjoyed the game because my good friend Pete had come over from Sheffield to watch a game. Pete and I used to watch the likes of Colin Alcide and Lee Thorpe labour away on the hallowed turf, so we’ve both unduly suffered watching Lincoln. He’s now a Man Utd season ticket holder but remarked how refreshing it was going to be watching a team of players who were actually trying to win rather than not get beat.

Hodge

Hodge is a terrier like player with a good future ahead of him

 

Onto the game and once again CM tried a few different things. Given that he’s on his way and a new guy is coming in it did surprise me a little that the likes of Eliot Hodge got a run out. Is there a signal that the next manager of the club was in the ground? Given the amount of camera phones people carry there wasn’t anyone in particular caught out on social media, but David Preece revealing he is interested in management might be a teaser for us. Who knows? Mind you some of the names mentioned will have had games yesterday won’t they? Billy Heath and Dennis Greene were both winning matches in the league below us. I was quite happy when I heard Preece was interested in managing after the game as a part of me feels internal is the best way to go in order to achieve continuity.

Going back to young Eliot Hodge, he really impressed me yesterday. He looked quick with a good eye for a ball, but most of all he looks like a strong little bugger who won’t be knocked about easily. I think one of my issues with Connor Robinson is that he can look lightweight, but Hodge reminded me of a Jack Russell, diminutive but not one to be bullied. Of all of the youngsters I’ve seen this season he has stood out the most. His ball into the box often lacked height, but they were always whipped into a dangerous area, and he clearly wanted to impress as he covered every blade of grass, swapping wings with Caton when he wanted to.

I’m not as impressed with George Maris despite his goal. He came on at half time and for me he’s deceptively slow. He looks like he’s running quick but I don’t think he has that turn of pace that a couple of the other guys have. He also had a tendency to hang on to the ball long after it should have been delivered. I have a theory on that though, these players perhaps want to stand out in order to try and gain a new deal, and who ever stood out by playing the easy ball? I’m not the manager and I won’t be at any time in the future, but if I were I’d let George Maris go back to Barnsley at the seasons end. That isn’t a criticism of the lad, but I think we already have better in the area he would be adding to.

Chester Goal One

City celebrate McDaid’s opener

The game itself was interesting if not scintillating. Chester clearly came for a draw and at times in the first half had ten men behind the ball which made them difficult to break down. It wasn’t a classic, although Robbie McDaid’s header before half time made Chester change things up at the break. I thought once they brought the big lad Alabi on they began to look threatening, although it may have been his physical presence or it may have been that Lee Beevers wasn’t having a good game at all. He got in a real mess for the goal, although Echo Man of the Match Terry Hawkridge lost the ball just prior to the move and didn’t chase it back. I had to chuckle because had that been Alan Power a section of our support would have highlighted it all over the internet before the Chester fans had stopped singing! I disagreed with John Pakey this week, I think the sponsors got the MOM spot on in picking Jack Muldoon. He didn’t have any joy in front of goal but he worked hard and was always available. He’s another important player that will be crucial next season.

CM showed that the criticism of not changing and reacting to situations is wrong when he brought big Matt Rhead on and I’m concerned about rumours he’s going next season. He is immobile, he doesn’t put himself about nearly enough and he is built like a bouncer but there’s no doubt he scares teams. We had our best spell once he came on, and although some of his lay offs went awry I have a suspicion if he leaves next season for Barrow we will really live to regret it. Him and Muldoon look capable of forming a decent partnership over time, it’d be a shame to see a twenty a season man going out of the door. Pete did notice after the goals that as everyone ran to congratulate Maris, Rhead was looking for someone to come and pat him on the back for the flick on. Some might see that as arrogance, but perhaps as a striker you need a bit of that? Perhaps he was just happy with yet another assist.

Rhead

One of the rare times Chester didn’t have three men marking big Matty Rhead.

 

I thought Bradley Wood had a cracking game again. He seemed to sit in front of the back three in a role his combative style really suits, and although he didn’t produce anything outstanding he looked capable of providing that workaholic midfielder service that few recognise (think David Batty or Scott Kerr). It’s hard to tempt any MOM awards doing the dirty work, but I didn’t see him play many passes wrong or miss too many tackles. I also noticed we were very quick to the second balls in midfield when Wood was challenging. He never knows he’s beaten and I suspect when his lottery numbers don’t come up he keeps checking the same ticket over and over refusing to accept he’s lost.

There was lots of comments about Alan Powers absence and as I understand it there was a slight injury concern and with nothing really riding on the game it wasn’t sensible to risk him. However there’s no doubt we did miss his industry, and I feel him and Wood could make a good midfield duo. Power is creative and he could be freed up a little more knowing the engine behind him isn’t going to let him down.

The fact is whatever happened yesterday is largely irrelevant. CM was looking at the squad but it won’t be his decision in May who stays and who doesn’t. If the new manager was in the ground then maybe it holds more relevance, and I suppose for those paying best part of £20 every game and every win holds some form of relevance.

For me of course it wasn’t anything during the 90 minutes that will stand out, but finally hearing that oh so sweet abuse from the visiting faithful. It’s why I really want to end todays blog not with words or some heartfelt and genuine sentiment about players / managers / match day announcer etc, but just a photo. It’s a photo of the Chester  fans approx. 10 seconds after George Maris had put us 2-1 up, and it’s a photo of the same people who an hour and a half earlier had been calling me a paedophile because I wear a mascot costume. Enjoy your trip home lads, and thanks for reminding me why I bloody love it when I can be Poacher!

Chester fans

I especially like the guy six seats in from the right in the Parker jacket with his half hearted gestures. They might not have known what Poacher was before the game, but they’re all too aware of who WE are afterwards.

The day after.

So the search for a new manager will start while Chris still has games left to contest Yesterday we were clicking on Facebook likes offering support and goodwill to Chris. Today the posts are switched to those about who we want as the new manager. Like todays news is tomorrows chip papers, the chatter on social media soon moves on. Unless you’re on Banter, then it just goes around in circles until someone blocks Duncan.

I’ve thought long and hard about what I might like to happen and who I might like to see in charge and have come up with a list of possibilities as I see them.

Firstly the club could offer Chris the position on a proper full time contract for a year. I appreciate it’s unlikely, but maybe an additional wage would tempt Chris to delegate some of his company responsibilities and focus on the club. I understand the reasons for leaving and wouldn’t want to start a cringeworthy campaign if it caused distress but maybe a proper job offer would be tempting? The very best thing now for Lincoln City is continuity and that could only fully be achieved if Chris were to do a U-turn. I fully respect his decision of course, but I hear that this is one of the tightest dressing rooms some players have ever been in, and Chris is responsible for that. Anyway this isn’t about me gushing over CM again, so on with the other choices.

If his decision stands then for me the best option is David Preece. I’ve read comments that this would be a poor choice given his experience, but in actual fact it makes perfect sense. I personally have been very impressed with the former Aberdeen player who is an articulate and witty man but with a good level of intelligence and expression. I think he’s been an influential figure around the squad while Chris has been there. I don’t know if it’s his desire to progress to management though and despite the chatter he’s remained quiet on the subject.

Simon-Clark-manager

Clark managed Worksop after leaving us and is now at struggling Charlton as a coach.

 

If it’s tactically nous we want then a suggestion by John Pakey in the Echo makes sense, Simon Clark. He was another one that really impressed me in his spell at the club with his ideas about the game. He’s currently first team coach at Charlton, and if he’s looking to get into management then he’d be an obvious contender given Bob’s intention to go for up and coming.

Of course up and coming didn’t serve us well with Chris Sutton, and I  think the lesson learned there is to make a choice from managers who understand the game at this level. Neil Warnock is a great Championship manager, but he doesn’t cut it in the top flight. Similarly talk of Ronnie Moore is worrying me. He’s got lots of managerial experience, but at this level he is unproven and could have the same impact Sutton had.

Billy Heath and Simon Weaver have both been mentioned at North Ferriby and Harrogate respectively. There’s equal merit to both. Weaver obviously has connections with the club, but his father is involved with North Ferriby. That said his father is the owner of Weaver Construction and may switch his money from Harrogate to here? Billy Heath has had a bit of money to spend but has built quite a side at North Ferriby. Both would be interesting appointments. Let’s not forget managers like Martin O’Neill worked their way up from the league below us, through our league and onwards.

There’s also mention of Grimsby Town manager Paul Hurst, should our fishy foes fail to get promoted this year. Now I know he’s had success of sorts with Grimsby but his days could be numbered if they don’t make it this season. He’s got Wembley experience and knows the league inside out. However I can’t help but think of Alan Buckley when I consider Hurst. Buckley was all things great up there, but put him in a Lincoln tracksuit and the magic died. For me Hurst is a none starter.

There’s all sorts of other people being mentioned, and you know that a pairing of Steve Thompson and Mick Harford will be somewhere about. I can honestly say that I believe those two could have kept Chris Suttons team up after he left had they been appointed and I always championed their cause as Mick was a legend in my family as a kid. However I think that bus has been missed and sadly there isn’t another one due along. That’s not a slur on the two as I think they’d do an alright job, but I know how unpopular the decision would be with sections of the support. Steve’s profile on the radio doesn’t do his cause any favours as his commentary has made many Imps fans irate, but he does actually know a lot about the game. I know if there’s any negative Facebook comments on this blog later, the subject will undoubtedly be Steve Thompson!

_88313430_danny_cowley-2

Cowley has got Braintree on the verge of the play offs.

 

A couple of other names that have cropped up are both managers in our league, Gary Mills and Danny Cowley. Both have done good jobs this season with Braintree and Wrexham and know the league well. However I don’t see either of them upping sticks and coming to Lincoln City. Bob wants to hold talks before the season is over, and why would Cowley who is on the verge of the Football League want to enter talks to stay in this league? The same goes for Gary Mills. We have to be realistic with the level of investment we’ve received as well. I keep hearing about Clive Nates and his money, but in essence that amount is to ensure the stability of the club and boost key areas, not for trying to buy simply another manager. We need to look for someone who has the motivation to come here aside from the wage packet. Bob is quite right in that respect, young or up and coming with a drive and desire to match that which has been lost.

There will be a name mentioned that is completely out of leftfield as well. Chris Sutton wasn’t on anyone’s lips when he arrived and no doubt someone will be staying under the social media radar ready to enter the frame at the last second. People will be spotting Gary Brabin at The Bentley, or a guy they know who works down the Bank just saw Gareth Ainsworth leaving with a red and white scarf in his hands.

I’m not sure I really like all the talk of who will replace Chris. Once upon a time I was manager of a Builders Merchant and I accepted a job elsewhere. I stayed on for four weeks working at my depot whilst speculation raged around me about who would replace me. It was unsettling for me and for the staff at the depot. I know my bosses had to replace me, but being there while the rumours and speculation started wasn’t healthy. I was even asked about who best to replace me and it was unusual how empty and unsatisfying that felt. For me I feel like we’re contributing by openly speculating but I guess it’s the nature of life isn’t it? After all if I didn’t speculate I wouldn’t have anything to write, and that means I’d be sat on the sofa playing FIFA.

Whoever come in this is an unsettling time for fans and players alike. Over the years the club has become fragile with manager after manager taking away a little piece of what Keith Alexander had built up. When Chris took over we were a broken husk of a club staring down the barrel of financial oblivion. I know many people have been involved in the revival but ultimately a manager is responsible for the most precious of all things, the end product we pay to watch. If he gets it wrong fans don’t go to games and we go backwards. Right now we do not know which direction our club will be heading in, and because we all have different views on who should and shouldn’t take over it does mean when a decision is made inevitably some people will not be immediately happy.

So whether its David Preece, Danny Cowley or Steve Thompson we all need to get behind the manager and make this an even better football club, to continue the upturn in our fortunes and to get out of this football league exile. Remember I thought Keith Alexander and Chris Moyses were the cheapest options at the time, and both won me over one way or another. It isn’t necessarily the candidate who looks best on paper that turns out the strongest.

preece2

One from the archives….