DF

I’ve been reading through old copies of DF recently in order to gain inspiration for the up coming issue. We’re due to go to print in three days and the issue is coming together nicely, but I went off looking for a bit of filler from some old copies. I read issue 5 and issue 12 as well as one from around 1994 and another at the turn of the century.

Reading back it made me realise that the filler I was looking for wouldn’t be suitable to use, because we don’t want to bring back a ‘best of’ collection with a few new jokes in. We want to bring back the Deranged Ferret fanzine, a fanzine representative of fans views and opinions. We want to bring back a cultural snapshot of the team from that time, not a comic book or a travel guide. Roger Bates crucially wrote “we still need continued contributions from as many people as possible to remain representative of Imps fans views”. It was important then that DF wasn’t just a collection of Rogers views, just as it should not be a collection of me or Ben’s opinions alone. That means contributions from 1990 are not what we need to make the new DF as relevant as it was before. We need your views.

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There’s still time to win this little lot, just subscribe by sending £18 to derangedferret16@gmail.com or sending me a cheque for the same amount. Don’t forget to include your address.

 

So I’m going to push back printing by a week until Tuesday July 5th in order to ensure you’ve all had a chance to be a part of this.

It really doesn’t matter what you write about. Don’t like Alan Power and have a good argument why? Write a bit about it. Angry we don’t have our proper home end? Angry people still want a home end? Write about it. Send it to me. Don’t trust the trust still? Maybe you are the Trust and want to reach out fans. Write. Write. The kit, the new backroom staff, your favourite away game last season, your stance on the food, your stance on the Echo coverage…. Write about it and send it to me. This isn’t just a comment on a Facebook page, destined to disappear in the next ten days never to be seen again. This isn’t you telling your mate over a pint to be forgotten ten minutes later. This is to be published in a Lincoln City fanzine that will be kicking around someone’s collection in twenty years time. This could be read by your kids and serve as a permanent reminder of your (hopefully well argued) views on Lincoln City.

So send in your opinions on anything and everything this weekend to derangedferret16@gmail.com. If you don’t you’ll essentially be served up a fanzine representative of just three peoples views at present, which isn’t representative at all.

Thanks to all those who have subscribed to the new DF and thanks to those who have volunteered to sell on match day. It may not sound rewarding but it is, you’ll meet a broad spectrum of other Imps fans and hopefully a few visitors as well. I’ll also buy you a pint if I’m about. Get in touch if you’re going to the Reading friendly and want to be part of the return of DF.

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Cowleys Campaign Launches

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Bet these two could manage a team to victory against Iceland.

There’s no hiding from it, fans are optimistic for the coming season. Our new managers are exciting and fresh, and they’ve brought some wonderful talent with them already, to add to an already half decent side. Clive Nates has arrived in town as well with a few quid securing the clubs immediate future after a couple of years of uncertainty. It feels like a good time to be a Lincoln fan.

 

However we must not mix up optimism with complacency. As fans we have always come together to help the club financially. We (not me, too young) signed Peter Grotier from West Ham. We saved the club itself in 2002. The crowd funders of previous seasons saw £30,000 raised, and the fans players scheme is constantly topping up those figures. This impetus and fan motivation must remain, and that’s why I was delighted to read of the launch of the new crowd funder.

I’ve worked a bit with Helgy on fundraising in the past and there’s no doubt he is a highly motivated and passionate Imps fan. He’s one of the people behind the latest crowd funder which see’s excellent Imps based prizes being given away for certain pledges. Last season we saw fantastic sums raised, and this season the Imps newest board member Ian Reeve has pledged to match the first £25k pound for pound.

Now if you’re an Imps fan there are some fantastic prizes to win. For £20 you get a pint in the trust suite, for £50 you get to watch a training session with the first team. £100 will get you a pair of VIP match tickets, and excitingly £250 will get you a place in a 22 man squad to face off against the first team at the end of next season. There’s also a director for a day package on offer and a for a big £500 there’s a VIP package….. who knows what that might be!

Those behind the crowd funder believe the Cowleys’ can deliver us our football league status, and the more money  we raise the better chance we have. We’ve heard James Caton is with the squad at present, perhaps a lot of nice early pledges will free up the funds for Danny Cowley to move for him? With every pound you pledge meaning two pounds to the club, never before has a fund raising effort been so important in pushing the club on. We’ve fought to bring players here in the past and won. We’ve fought to save the clubs very existence, and we won that too. Now it’s time to help them fight to get back into the football league.

Can I just ask that they don’t have the training session in August again please, I pledged last season and missed out as it’s our busy period at work. Nov 18th would be best for me. Ta.

Do it here: crowdfunder

  • Update: £730 pledged in the first 14 hours. There’s a start for you.

Patience is a virtue

There’s been no rumblings of discontent yet, but the apparent lack of new faces will no doubt have some fans hoping that the club soon get a move on, grab a neck warmer from the club shot and give Sporting Hortin a call to get down the Bank. When Alex Woodyard signed I think some people expected a glut of other Braintree faces to follow suit. Aside from young Taylor Miles this hasn’t happened and to the ill informed it could cause pointless panic.

Of course nobody reading this is panicking because the signs that our new manager knows what he is doing are there for all to be read. His recruitment follows a classic manager pattern from any industry: bring in familiar faces to help settle yourself in and implement your ideas. Of course we were going to sign a Braintree player or two, it’ll be easier for the managers to influence the dressing room with a few friendly faces in there. I was delighted to see both the boys arrive from Braintree as that young, hungry player is what we want to see. Taylor Miles has a great youth pedigree and in these times of foreign owned top flight clubs it is better for young English talent to drop down the leagues in order to climb up. West Ham don’t have youth players if they can’t play a bit of football, so I’m expecting big things from him.

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Just looking at this picture makes you nostalgic, right? All those goals, the rock star persona… he was our little slice of Britpop.

 

Missing out on Dayle Southwell was harsh, but his amiable personality and the fact he chose Gareth Ainsworth has made it a bit hard to get mad. I’m sure Mr Ainsworth could defecate on any Lincoln fan’s car bonnet and we’d still take him out for a steak meal afterwards. He’s a legend and very few people begrudge young Dayle a stab at league football. Plus he’s from Louth so if I write anything nasty about him he might come to my house.

We are used to seeing a mass of out of contract players signing up on June 1st, so to be three weeks into June with minimal news of new faces is a little alien to us. It is also a very good barometer of how far the squad had come under Chris Moyses. There’s no big clear out, no wholesale reshuffle of the pack. There’s a tactical player here and there, tweaks to an already talented bunch of players. I like that we’re not signing players like mad, it always frustrated me. I loved Keith as much as anyone but his transfer policy was a bit like throwing shit at a wall: eventually something would stick. For every Gareth McAuley there was an Omari Coleman, for every Simon Yeo a Dene Cropper and for every Jamie McCombe there was a Michael Blackwood just waiting to let you down. This summer I don’t think you’ll see many players join who are there to make up squad numbers, the signings will be well thought and right for the club. We don’t need squad fillers with youth like Hodge and Everington waiting to get a game, we need game changers and that’s what we’ll get.

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You remember Omari Coleman, right? Former Watford and Dulwich Hamlet star? I tipped him to be a big player for us when he arrived. My bad.

 

Of course the one thing we do need is a striker, and to get the right one will be a true barometer of what these Cowley boys can achieve. There’s been so many times when the signing of a striker has been badly messed up. Remember Steve Torpey? Ben Hutchinson?  Chris Fagan? Every time these players came to the club we were looking for the indication that the manager had his head screwed on, looking for that number 10 to shoot us on to the next level. Instead we got poor attitudes, journeymen veterans and Chris Fagan who I’m not sure falls into any category other than ‘anonymous’. He’s still the reason I hate Glenn Hoddle, academy my arse.

We need to find the next Jamie Vardy, the next Aaron McClean or even the next Gareth Ainsworth. If the new men can pull a name like Moses Emmanuel out of the hat, maybe I’ll start to believe they do have a midas touch when it comes to football management. If they manage to bag a player who can score twenty a season and run about a lot at the same time then I think we could be in for quite a season.

Let’s just be patient, eh?

The Gambler

In the absence of any real Lincoln City news I have to satisfy my urge to blog by finding some other football related topic to write about. I’ve got the writing urge tonight, my other half is at The Stone Roses gig and I have the house to myself. What better way to celebrate than write something and get an early night?

 

Those who are friends with me on social media already know that this afternoon I wrestled with a bet that ultimately could have won me £322. I had a six match accumulator starting with France and Romania and ending tonight with Iceland to beat Hungary. The cash out after England’s last gasp win over Wales stood at £100, but I chose to see out the Iceland game. If I looked back at my betting history I should have known better.

I would have remembered my very first bet as a fresh faced 18 year old on the weekend of November 19th 1996. Aston Villa were playing Leicester and I took Leicester 2-1 with Muzzy Izzet to score at anytime. £5 stake to return over a ton, not a small sum for a struggling teenager trying to run a car and impress girls. When you’re sporting ginger curtains you need money to impress girls.

Muzzy Izzet scored for Leciester. He scored in the last minute to make it 3-1. No money for my celebrations, no splashing out on Diamond White down Horncastle Town Hall.

If I had a calculated and reasoned mind I would have thought back to the McAlpine Stadium on 19th May 2004.  I had Mark Bailey to score anytime and Lincoln to win 2-1 on 90 minutes, at a tasty 65-1. I had £10 riding on that, but a Rob Edwards goal seven minutes from time robbed me not only of my big win but also of a play off final spot for a great Lincoln City side. Double heart break.

By 2007 I’d switched to long accumulators with a small stake. I decided that playing the lottery was random, but me guessing the outcome of six matches wasn’t. I’d win smaller amounts, but at least I’d have some reasoning to my selections. However I got greedy and ended up putting 12 matches on for a couple of quid. I stood to win over £75k nearly every week. Every week of course only one or two games came in. I kept betting but stopped checking my betting slips on the Satruday. One week where a cursory glance down my coupon revealed that I had secured 11 of my twelve picks, I’d accidentally picked a Tuesday night game in with my weekend selections. That was most unlike me. However all I needed was the Tuesday night match at Ipswich against Watford to be a home win, and for 89 minutes of the match it was. For 89 minutes I had an awful lot of money in my pocket.

Back in those days there was no ‘cash out’ available to me. I’d taken my choices into the bookies and got a betting slip. Had I had the option of cashing out for something like £50k before the game I would have bitten their hand off. By the time the 90th minute arrived and Ipswich were still 1-0 up I would have likely got £68k out of them. £68k. I doubt I would have held my nerve up to £68k.

Nathan Ellington scored in the last minute for Watford. I lost every penny.

Only a month before I’d had my first proper win as well. I’d had a five match accy consisting of some Euro qualifiers. I’d wanted Greece and Moldova as a home win, but I used a different bookie to usual and I accidentally marked it as a draw because I got confused with the betting slip. I was gutted, until a last minute Moldova goal snatched a draw and earned me the princely sum of £42. However knowing my only win was a fluke and seething at the perceived loss of a life changing sum of money I gave up betting.

Only now I’ve worked myself into a position where I can afford a £10 bet every now and again, and with apps on phones and cashing out options it makes uninteresting games very interesting. That’s how I came to be sat in front of the TV at half time of the Iceland and Hungary game with a potential cash out of £220 available to me. Iceland were winning and Hungary had looked subdued. Had I learned my lessons from the past?

Yes and no. In my opinion if you put a bet on you owe it to yourself to at least try and see if it comes in. If I’d had that £68k available to me then maybe it’d be different, but £322 isn’t life changing. There’s a saying with gambling, only bet what you can afford to and with the introduction of cashing out that has also become only cash in what you can’t afford not to. If it’s £68k you can’t afford to be brave, but at £322 you can.

However I’m also sensible so I took £110 and waited. Under normal conditions, and in line with my betting history I would have lost the lot in the last minute. I would have screwed up another betting slip and vowed to start playing the lottery again. At least when you lose on the lottery it’s not random. When losing on a accy you’ve failed with your picks. It’s directly down to you. That’s enough to stop any man betting. When Hungary scored I smiled a wry smile. I tucked a ton in my bank account and immediately searched for some nice Mexico 86 stickers to add to my burgeoning collection. I’m a gambler but I like vintage Panini stickers much more and can never justify buying them with money I actually earn. I’m not 12.

I’m not really sure where this piece is going from here if I’m honest. I wanted to deliver some moral at the end of it, or come at your with some sentimental image to take away, but I’ve got nothing…. Actually I do have something, I have £10 on Portugal beating Austria 2-0 and Ronaldo scoring at anytime. Set to bag me £80 if it comes in, which should help fill those spaces in my Orbis World Cup 90 folder that I first started collecting as an 11 year old in hospital with whooping cough. I’ve come a long way.

Gamble responsibly kids.

What should you believe?

It’s that time of year where every newspaper, message board and website is packed full of rumours and half rumours about players joining our club. Someone has seen Michael Bridges at the Bentley, Daryll Clare has just pulled up at Sincil Bank and ‘my sources’ tell me that Dwight Yorke will be on the coaching staff by tea time.

Everyone claims to have an insider or a secret source. Aside from Paul Dawson (who did) I doubt anybody actually has a reliable source, but language is a great thing. People read ‘my insider says Habergham is on his way’ and immediately you assume that insider is Sam Habergham’s Mum and it’s solid gold truth. More often than not it isn’t. I used to edit a website called Lincoln City Mad, and when Michael O’Connor left us it was rumoured he was going to a Championship club. I looked down a list of clubs, picked Scunthorpe because it would be news worthy and pretended a source had told me his arrival was imminent. As it happened he did sign there within hours of my article, but I didn’t have the inside tack. It was guess work, click bait if you like and that is what a lot of these half rumours we’re reading now are. I’d guess the Lincolnshire Echo just have to put the word Southwell in a headline and hundreds of anxious City fans would click it hoping to read something about the Boston striker. ‘Dayle Southwell eats sandwich in Lincoln’ would probably get them some valuable clicks.

However the last 24 hours have seen us linked with James Caton, a player we’re familiar with. At first the rumour mill had him poised to sign, then it had him unconnected with us and now apparently he’s had a medical and talks. The truth of the matter is only James Caton and a handful of insiders who wouldn’t divulge the information will actually know the truth.

Now I haven’t said too much recently as I’ve been tied up with getting the Ferret up and running, but being linked with James Caton has got my blood pumping and my writing fingers all itchy. I blogged about him the first time I saw him and his permanent arrival could be a major coup that some fans could under estimate. While talk of Southwell and Habergham grabs the headlines, a player who ended the season on our bench might not get pulses racing. It should.

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Get your hands out of your shorts lad, and grab a pen….

James Caton is football league quality, fact. His early appearances for City were full of energy, switching flanks, finding space to run into and hitting the back of the net. He freed Muldoon up to offer us a ‘plan B’ in the centre alongside Rheady, and he looked a constant threat. Towards the end of the season we saw George Maris and Eliott Hodge take preference as youth got a chance, and when he left I didn’t think it likely he’d be back. The boy has talent, make no mistake. Had he not got injured we might have finished a place or two higher. Maybe.

I think he is exactly the type of player Danny Cowley will want to bring to the side, but he comes with the added bonus of already knowing the squad. The management team have watched DVD’s of all our games, and they would surely have seen stand out performances from him during our little spell of form after McCombe arrived. He’s young, he’s quick and he can create and score goals. He’d fit right into the squad as well having been here before. He basically ticks all of the boxes the manager will want to be ticked. We’re light up top and he can play centrally as well as wide so he’d offer us options. In my opinion signing him is a no brainer, but then again I’m paid to sell kitchens not buy footballers.

I hope we sign Habergham, Fry and Southwell but over and above all three of those I hope we sign James Caton. Players like him make a difference, they have the ability to influence a game. He’s not unlike Gareth Ainsworth and David Puttnam, two of my favourite players of all time. Players of his ilk will be the difference between challenging the top five successfully or fading away. I know Clive Nates reads my blogs (cheers Clive) and I sincerely hope Danny Cowley does the same. I may not be involved in football, but I know enough to hope that this rumour is one that turns out to be true.

Subscribe to the new DF – please!

 

Subscribe to DF

Yeah I know it’s getting boring now. We’ve talked about the fanzine, you know it’s coming. I expect you’re bored by reading about it all the time.

I bet you wouldn’t be bored if it was an interview with Bradley Wood you were reading would it? I expect that would make for a good read. Well that’s one of the great features we can offer in the new DF coming out in time for the first friendlies.

That’s right, you’re interested now aren’t you? However we need our subscribers! So once again, here is how to subscribe:

You can send us payment through PayPal using our email address, derangedferret16@gmail.com.

You can post me a cheque, Deranged Ferret, 1 North Farm Cottages, Withcall, Louth, LN11 9QY.

That’s it. I suppose you can send cash recorded delivery if you wanted to.

The cost is £18 and that includes postage to your UK address. Overseas subscribers may need to stump up a bit more, I’m investigating. For your hard earned money you get four issues throughout the season.

This is the only way to get hold of my exclusive interview with the triple crown winning full back with his heart on his sleeve. That’s only a couple of pages of content that you can get delivered to your door in time to see Danny Cowleys first match in charge of the club. So get on PayPal or get the cheque writing pen out and subscribe to DF!!

How it nearly all went wrong.

I’m a Lincoln City fan. I don’t have a second team that I fervently support, or a big club that I go and watch and cling to when they’re doing well. When Lincoln lose there is no escape route for me, no plan B to turn to. If we lose, I lose.

However it could have all been very different for me. Instead of the Stacey West blog you could be reading the Kenilworth Roader or the Mad Hatter. You see for a short while at the end of the eighties I was a fan of a second club as well, the uninspiring side from Luton.

I’ll elaborate for you, but first I want to cement the fact that I am and always have been a Lincoln City fan. My Dad is a Lincoln fan and before him my Granddad was a Lincoln fan. In 1986 with hooliganism still rampant I was punished for swearing as an eight year old by being forced to go to Lincoln City with my Dad. My Mum didn’t want a potty mouth at home and so I was packed off with Dad to the (empty) den of iniquity that is Sincil Bank. It was October 5th 1986 and it was bloody cold. It was also a Sunday and the turnout at the Bank was less than we average now.

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It was this  exact sticker that almost caused me to be writing about League Two football right now.

 

We were thumped 4-1 that day by Hartlepool and I’m sure we were outplayed. I can’t remember the game though, but I remembered so much more. I mainly remember it being alright for everyone to swear a lot which as an eight year old kid is pretty cool.It’s probably why I think the odd F bomb is okay nowadays. I came away transfixed by everything, and when a few weeks later I watched us beat Swansea 4-0 I was hooked for life. On the way out of the game I actually dived into a dog turd whilst trying to mimicking the Swansea keeper as he dived for a penalty. I probably wasn’t cleaned up properly until I got home, and I certainly hadn’t stopped telling my Dad how much I loved Gary Lund and Lincoln City. I imagine as he scrubbed that vile canine excrement from my legs I was telling him I wanted to be Steve Buckley and score penalties.

My Dad had reservations though. He knew that school was an unforgiving place and he suggested I pick a second team to tell the kids at school were my main team. I could be a Lincoln fan, but it was best all round if I didn’t admit it. I often wore jumpers my Mum had knitted herself whilst at school and I had ginger hair, I was prime bullying material. If I supported a big club though he assured me I’d be fine. He had chosen Chelsea back in the late 1960’s as Lincoln faltered and he wanted a big club. The Kensington Road boys were winning the FA Cup and being stylish and trendy. It was alright for him though, if it back fired he was always able to handle himself.

At eight I couldn’t fight a cold without getting a kicking. I needed to chose wisely.

In order to facilitate my choice I was handed the Panini 87 sticker album and told to pick a team. Would it be the dominant Liverpool all my friends at school supported? Would it be a Ron Atkinson led Manchester United like my best mate Danny? Would it be the emerging Everton?

No. I picked Luton Town.

I picked them because my Grand Dad had sort of taught his budgie Dusty to say Mick Harford (his favourite Lincoln player) and I spied Mick Harford in the white and blue of Luton Town, so I picked them. When you’re a child if your family pet can actually talk a word or two then those words are worth heeding. I imagine my Dad died a little inside at the thought of having a bullied first born who supported two shit clubs.

By the time May 1988 came around I was in a pretty good place on the social ladder at my primary school. Luton had beaten Arsenal in the Littlewoods cup and finished 7th in Division 1. Lincoln had won the GMVC at the first attempt and given me the greatest day of my life as my whole family watched us beat Wycombe and return to the football league. I was like the Wolf of Wall Street at ten years old strutting around with a big club, pride in my other club and a bag full of Panini 88 swaps. I’d arrived.

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Luton v Arsenal 1988. I watched it on a black and white TV as punishment for swearing at my Dad when Arsenal equalised. I must learn to watch my mouth.

 

I stuck with the two club method through into my first year at secondary school. It began to become difficult to talk about following two clubs because most my friends had big clubs as their first choice and absolutely no interest in Division 4. Luton became the club I championed, swapping the Pro Set cards featuring their players. When they came to Sincil Bank for a friendly I even almost went in the away end. I remember getting Alec Chamberlain to sign his own Pro Set card that night, and then I remember being physically sick drinking a concoction I called ‘Polo Water’. I won’t tell you what it consisted of, I hope it’s self explanatory.

However after that game I remembered how much I enjoyed being on those terraces, and how secretly I’d wanted Lincoln to win the game all along, despite what I may have outwardly projected. After my Granddad had been presented on the pitch with a signed football for his birthday as well,  I knew my heart lay with Lincoln. I began to drop whole Luton pretence in a slow and well planned fashion.  Football wasn’t about picking some club from miles away and reading about them in Shoot, this was about my family, and how Lincoln City brought us together. I didn’t care that we weren’t in my sticker album and I didn’t care that my friends wouldn’t know our results.

When my Granddad passed in April 1992 I finally bit the bullet and pledged myself to my one true love (at the time, now it’s my fiancé Fe obviously) Lincoln City. My Granddad’s signed football passed to me as a full Lincoln City fan, and even to this day it’s possession signifies me carrying that Lincoln torch for our family. I had to carry that flame on for him (not literally, I never took the ball to a game) so I took a couple of my non believing mates to watch us beat Blackpool 2-0 on the final day of the season. Matt Carmichael scored twice for us and Blackpool fans invaded the pitch. My mate Adam loved it and even took up Lincoln as his little club. After one year at secondary school I was once again arriving on the football scene.

It helped Luton got relegated a season or so later. Yeah, that helped a lot.

So there you have it. If a talking budgie had got its way I wouldn’t be writing this now. However an god awful drink made from a spearmint polo dissolved in tepid water and a Pro Set card signed by a goal keeper I doubt you’ve ever heard of somehow convinced me that Sincil Bank was my home. Well either that or the strong family passion shared by every generation, but I’m sure it was the water.