DF pledges to the Crowd Funder

We promised you we’d donate all the money from sales of DF over the last two games and we are delighted to announce we have just done that. Sales from this afternoon and Tuesday evening came to just under £200, so we’ve pumped £200 directly into the crowd funder a few moments ago.

Thank you first and foremost to everyone who has bought a copy at the last two games. We haven’t quite sold out yet, but rest assured by the end of the North Ferriby game we’ll have to decide whether to go to print again or not on the first issue. We’re delighted with the response from you lot, the feedback has been very good.

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27 years and still going strong.

So we’ve amassed a fair few rewards for the pledges, and we’ll be giving them away for free in the next issue. If some of the rewards come a little too quickly for the issue then we’ll be drawing names from our Facebook page to attend. However at present we have the following to give away:

2 x VIP match tickets (£100)

1 x Pink Paul Farman signed keeper shirt (£75)

2 x Spaces in an exec box for an upcoming match (£80)

1 x Signed away shirt (£50)

1 x Watch training and dinner with the players (£50)

You do the maths if you want, but to save you time that’s £355 cash poured straight into the crowd funder, and with Ian Reeves generous backing that is a whopping £710 raised purely and simply by the production of DF.

 Of course we can’t keep putting every penny in, that second issue won’t print itself, but we’re delighted to have been able to support the club in such a strong way from the start. Thank you to Mike Downs and Ian Greaves who have helped me sell on match day, it’s been a delight to meet some of you guys as well through selling. We’ve still got about 40 copies left which will go some way to covering our print costs next time out.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped me to make this first print run a success. I’m hoping to get Bradley Wood and a couple of players to sign a few copies in the next week to try and squeeze an extra few quid into the coffers!

Remember DF will only be a success if we keep getting varied and interesting views from you, the rank and file Imps supporter. One the season gets underway there will be plenty to write about, so email any contributions to derangedferret16@gmail.com. You can still subscribe to all four issues by sending £18 to derangedferret16@gmail.com, or by sending a cheque made payable to Gary Hutchinson for the same amount to 1 North Farm Cottages, Withcall, LN11 9QY. If you’ve already bought a copy and fancy securing the next three through the post then please send £13.50 by the same methods as above.

Tell your friends. DF, UTI.

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Reasons to be cheerful

I’ve been reminded recently how football is a great escape from real life, whether your issues are personal or professional an afternoon at Sincil Bank can make you feel a whole lot better. I’ve had a pretty bad day so I thought I’d touch on some reasons to be cheerful for Imps fans.

1.  The new signings and rumoured players have all tasted success at this level already. We know the boys from Braintree were pivotal in their success last season, and they know what it takes to get a side into the play offs. In addition we’re being widely linked with Nathan Arnold and Craig Clay, two players who actually touched the Holy Grail of play off success. Being linked with players like this suggests to me the Cowleys have much more than a ‘young and promising’ agenda, but they are acutely aware that hey want to add proven winners to our current squad. It’s a wise move, we had a good nucleus thanks to CM, but a few winners added will always be a good thing.

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Could he be coming? Has he checked out of his Lincoln hotel? Do you want your hair cutting?

 

2. The only signings they’ve made who haven’t really been at the top of our league are both gambles on players who have the potential to be much better than our league. Adam Marriott excites me and as yet we’ve not seen him, but that scoring record for Cambridge City says it all. Stevenage didn’t work out for him, but if he can come back as sharp as he was pre injury I have little doubt he’ll score goals and maybe earn us some big bucks. Margetts has threatened greatness wherever he’s been, ten goals in thirteen games for Gainsborough, four in six at Stockport and goals almost wherever he’s turned up. He’s young and just screams potential, and with regular games who knows what he can do? Essentially DC has signed proven winners in all positions bar strikers, and up top he’s bought proven goal scorers.

3. The Cowley Brothers. Let’s be honest we’ve all got a little caught up in the hype. Very few Imps fans truly believe we’ll be anywhere other than top ten this year, and I’d wager most half expect a sustained play off assault. The managers can talk about restricted budgets all they want, but they took a part time team with restricted budget and training time to third. These guys seem very good, and if their transfer policy is any indication of how we’ll do then we could be very lucky. A full overhaul might have been tough for the likes of Kev Oxby and Grant Brown who have been around the club for ages, but it really does give us a fresh look across the playing staff and training staff. Fresh faces, fresh tactics and a fresh new Lincoln City, grounded with that strong nucleus from last season.

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Exciting time ahead?

 

4. The club is finally looking to move onto a sound financial footing with the board room problems seemingly being washed away. Since we’ve been down there’s been EGM’s, protests and votes of no confidence. There’s been the collapse of the Trust and the different factions playing out the pantomime on social media. Finally however the board have got some good press, not least through the arrival of Clive Nates (a very shrewd man from what I’m told) and the much less lauded input of Ian Reeves who has snuck onto the board quietly but with strong financial commitment. Bob has found his feet as chairman as is assembling a varied and experienced board around him. Kevin Cooke is a strong influence as well, and a man who is incredibly passionate about Lincoln City. I also have to mention Roger Bates, someone else I have a huge of amount of respect for. He was once just like me and you, writing about the club and supporting it fervently. The strength of our upper management should not be under estimated, and most importantly they have finally won the fans over. I think Chris Moyses had something to do with the fans support turning, and his involvement helped convince some fans of the clubs integrity and ambition. Whatever happens and wherever we do end up, his contribution should never be under estimated.

5. Pre season. Okay it’s actually not a reason to be cheerful. It’s all about player fitness and assessing the squad. Anyone thinking the results we’ve had are an indication of how we’ll do is mistaken. I saw us beat Middlesborough 5-1 one season and we didn’t get a sniff of success.

6. The Ferret is back. Bit of self promotion never went amiss. Selling fast chaps.

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7. The fund raising is superb recently and the club actively backing Helgy’s efforts is great news. It’s taken a while of pushing but finally the key fundraisers and the club are able to work together, and it only increases the unity between fan and board. The giveaway with the crowd funder is something special, and the fans player scheme is another great initiative to carry on from last season. Any income is vital to the Imps, and the relish with which people are putting money in shows that the relationship between fan and club has never been stronger. At times in the 90’s and 00’s the fund raising often seemed forced with bucket collections and the like. It almost felt like the club was begging, whereas now we’ve moved on to a mutually rewarding scheme where everyone is a winner. Of course the Lincoln and District Supporters Club have been a constant and it’s worth dropping their name when talking about how fans groups should be.

8. The old school players whom I believe were very good last season have stayed put. Bradley Wood and Matt Rhead I covered yesterday, but Jamie McCombe is still a quality defender, and for my money Paul Farman is the best stopper in this league. He might be in for a tough season but Alan Power does have the ability to turn a game and will have to fight hard to keep himself in contention. Player like Hawkridge and Muldoon were strong performers last season as well, and with a years football behind them they’ll be raring to up their game as well. Finally youngsters like Alex Simmons and Elliot Hodge have stayed put to keep pressure on those first team spots. We can talk about freshness all day long, but the players I’ve mentioned will form an integral part of any success we have this season.

I’ll stop there, if I write much more I’ll convince myself to put £50 on us winning the league. Let’s hope the scarf comes out tomorrow folks. UTI.

Five Things I Learned From Peterborough

I know how much everyone will miss John Pakeys ‘five things’ reports, so I thought I’d wade in with one early doors myself.

I finally got to a friendly last night and had an opportunity to see the new look Imps in the flesh. There was plenty to take in, and with it being a meaningless friendly plenty to disregard. The actual score is irrelevant, the real interesting parts are team selection and how certain players look to be reacting to their surroundings. Here’s five things I learned from Peterborough.

1: James Caton probably won’t be an Imp next season. His omission from the squad gave a pretty strong message about his future, something that was confirmed after the game by DC. The deal isn’t completely dead, but it’s also no longer active business. It does come as a bit of a surprise as Caton has been virtually ever present in pre season. Their are rumours that he doesn’t track back enough but I suspect it’s more about the type of player he is. Caton is a wide player with the ability to cut inside as well. However it looks like Jack Muldoon will be deployed out wide, and Hawkridge too probably when he comes back from injury. I’m sure there’s also much hope being placed in Eliot Hodge stepping up this season as well. Maybe it’s just a case of too many players of a similar ilk.

2. Alan Power has found a decent barber. This one is self explanatory really. I have poor eyesight and without the hipster haircut he was a little harder to spot, especially when his usual trade mark twists and turns are being replicated by Taylor Miles as well. I’ll bring my glasses next time, cheers Alan.

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Bradley Wood doesn’t change too much. He’s got new boots.

3. Bradley Wood doesn’t change. He was up and down the line all night last night, and friendly or not he was in the thick of the action kicking whatever moved around him. He has a basic remit which is clear to see, win the ball, pass it and then get down the channel. His final ball in wasn’t always on the mark, but the sheer number of times he was able to overlap is encouraging. Full backs and wingers alike won’t want a player of his drive coming at them, and his style will surely leave him amongst the favourites of the fans. I haven’t ever seen him have a bad game.

4. The Braintree boys certainly bring something. The two we’ve seen enough of both look incredibly handy players, and look able to deliver on their billing as bright young stars.  We’ve lacked that ball winner and distributor in the middle of the park for a few seasons now. Both Craig  Stanley and Matt Sparrow tried it last year but didn’t mak it, and players like Gary Mills and Mo Fofana have failed to make it theirs. However in Alex Woodyard we do appear to have found a player with the ability to protect the back four and allow a creative man ahead of him to cause trouble. Usually that’s Power, but having seen Taylor Miles I suspect the freshly shorn Irishman will have to fight hard for his place. When I saw West Ham were his educators I thought he might have a bit about him, and he looks tricky with a wicked delivery. We haven’t had a free kick taker of note since Dean Keates (Sean Newton doesn’t count. Probably can’t count) and I suspect Miles might just thrive in the part time game. West Ham know their players, and he will have been brought up on a diet of passing and creativity.

Sam Habergham we haven’t seen enough of, but the performance of Lee Beevers did make me come home hoping he gets some minutes under his belt soon. I think Lee is better in the centre of defence as a back up for Jamie McCombe, his pace isn’t great and he simply doesn’t cause enough problems down the other flank. I’m sure when Sam is back we’ll pose a threat down both wings, a weapon crucial to us scoring plenty of goals.

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Write this man off at your own peril.

 

5. Matt Rhead. Initially I’d planned this blog to be all about him, but I like to get plenty of words down, so I just saved the most striking thing I noticed until last. Matt Rhead has had his copybook blotted somewhat over the past few weeks. He didn’t win an award at the end of the season and after the campaign he had he was desperately unlucky not to. His transfer request tarnished his reputation a little, and nobody really expected him to still be here less than a fortnight before the big kick off: but here he is. I tell you what as well: he still looks the business.

I think his attitude has been spot on, and his work rate has picked up significantly. In those final games of the season he looked lethargic and lazy, but we now know he was carrying an injury and playing through the pain barrier. Now he’s looking sharper and moving much more freely than he was. If he stays on board, the signs are he could be a big player again, and I don’t mean that literally.

Last night his knock downs were intelligent and measured. He does more with his chest alone than some strikers do with their feet, he seems to have an ability to get power into a ball simply by sticking his chest out. He won a majority of his headers and I saw him at least once deliver the ball out wide and then make a thirty yard run to try and get on the end of it. So he missed a penalty, it isn’t a barometer of his overall performance.

It would have been easy for his head to drop, but I think he is aware he could now be here next season. There’s little doubt he was expecting a move to Barrow, and as a player in his early thirties he would have fancied a bit of a payday to help set him up. I wonder if his injury has made Paul Cox think twice about investing too much in him? £10k was derisory for our leading scorer, but more would have been a risky investment. It could be that Barrow are waiting for him to get fit before upping their bid, but with the recent signing of Byron Harrison it could also be that they’ve decided their money is better invested in a less risky player. If that’s the case then Matt needs another big season to keep his stock high for another year, as he’ll want a contract somewhere once he’s seen this one out.

There’s no doubting his talent. I thought his goal against Eastleigh was our goal of the season, his technique was superb and he twisted acutely to get in position to deftly flop the ball into the net. The fact that it is followed closely by his over head kick from outside the area shows there’s much more to the big man than just physicality. That said, he has physicality as well, and he must terrify goal keepers and defenders alike. Matt Rhead is a little bit different, he’s someone that can have the ball in the air and at his feet and have some method of getting it held up or moved on. If he got it right all the time he wouldn’t be here, but he has enough to change games, and we’ll need that next season.

No Pyro, No Party?

s “Legislation has existed since 1985 concerning the use of pyrotechnics at football grounds. Under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985 it is an offence for a person to enter or attempt to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework. The sentence for these offences can be as much as three months in prison, and in many cases, fans who have no previous convictions are given prison sentences for attempting to enter a football ground with a smoke bomb in their pocket as the courts take these offences very seriously. Recently, fans who have been caught at football matches with smoke bombs have been given sentences between 1 and 2 months and banned from returning to football grounds for up to 6 years.” 

 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmpublic/seriouscrime/memo/sc13.htm

Seems a pretty straightforward ruling, and the consequences also seem to be pretty clear as well. So why are we still seeing ‘pyro’ being used at matches involving Lincoln City? Why when we take a handful of fans along to a friendly match at Lincoln Utd does someone feel motivated to let one off? Why is the message not sinking in?

The scenes at Ashby Avenue weren’t unique to that game, we also saw a smoke bomb let off during our game against Gainsborough Trinity recently. They’re very quickly blamed on the fan group the ‘617 Squadron’, self styled Ultra’s making a mark on the fans scene in the country. However social media comments saw them distance themselves from the pyro, but certainly not condemn those who are using them.

The argument polarises opinion with a majority of fans against seeing any sort of pyrotechnic used in a football match environment. The older fan will recall the tragic events of  Bradford in 1985, but I must confess I find that a little dramatic when talking about smoke bombs in a modern ground. If we were seeing flares or fireworks then there’s a whole different argument to be had, but the smoke bomb doesn’t really provide any danger of ignition.

However it is the danger associated with breathing difficulties and the nuisance caused by obstructed views both from the stands and on the pitch. On Saturday Paul Farman could be heard swearing in the direction of whoever let the pyro off. Although the players want an atmosphere I’m fairly sure they object to obstructed views and air thick with smoke. On the terraces there are many elderly fans and increasing numbers of very young supporters whom will not greet the smoke with such joy as those wanting to be like the European Ultra. Indeed an asthmatic 80 year old could soon find himself in extreme difficulty, and if smoking a simple cigarette is considered dangerous to fans then I’m absolutely sure that a smoke bomb provides a health risk.

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Flares in football grounds are simply not acceptable

 

Now I’m not from the PC brigade that thinks everyone needs to be wrapped up in cotton wool before a game. Football is a working class game and even if the Premiership is trying to gentrify the game we love they will never manage it at clubs like Lincoln City. I expect to go along and hear swearing, singing and even a degree of good-intention led aggression. The bad things in football are being eradicated, like fighting in the stands and racism, and I firmly feel we need to see the same with ‘pyro’.

Now I’m trying very hard not to link the 617 and the pyro with seen at games recently. I understand the intention the boys have when coming to a game and whilst I don’t agree with some of what they do I also feel they do a great job in other areas. Today members of the 617 have distanced themselves from the events but have admitted that they feel it does add to an atmosphere. If at any point it appears I’m laying this at their feet then please forgive me as it is not my intention.

I can only assume that anyone setting off a smoke bomb in the ground is attempting to in some way emulate that actions they see on the continent in particular at matches in places like Poland, Italy and Turkey. Pyro is common place there, and at Euro 2016 we saw Croatia fans letting off flares and smoke bombs during their game with the Czech Republic. However did it really add to the atmosphere? Does widespread condemnation from fans and officials help the team in any way at all? The idea behind the ultra scene (as I understand it) is to support the club by creating an audio and visual display at the ground. If that visual display actually ends up costing the club, which it could, wouldn’t proper fans find another way of supporting the club? I appreciate these incidents were not 617 led, but wouldn’t a fans group of club supporters condemn those who were acting in a way that could bring both the club and that group into disrepute or conflict with other fans? Surely impressive visual displays include things like flags, which the 617 do very well, why isn’t that sufficient? Again I know it wasn’t them this time but it came from near their flag, and the person setting it off clearly wanted to be linked in some way with the ultra ‘scene’ as it were.

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Pyro done properly can look impressive, but it is still illegal in this country.

 

I can only imagine that someone letting off pyro at a meaningless friendly between two non league sides is far more interested in how it makes him (or her) look that what it does for the team. It screams of someone trying to impress on an individual level. There’s only so much atmosphere you could generate at a game like we had on Saturday, I’m not sure even Guns and Roses playing the music and Ed Sheeran leading the chanting could raise it to much more than ‘mildly exciting’. I’m not saying that letting pyro off anytime is right, but I can understand it more in a play off semi final or a massive local derby. Understand it, but never condone it of course. I’m not one who believes the law to be infallible either, I’ve entered a ground drunk before, and I believe a crime that has no actual victims isn’t a ‘real crime’. Driving at 75mph on a motorway when no one else is around endangers only one person, you. A bloke smoking weed in his living room is hurting nobody but himself, and therefore in my eyes it isn’t a proper crime. However letting off pyro in a public place surrounded by people who object affects others, and the law of the land states you shouldn’t. So don’t.

Half an hour ago I asked on social media what the motivation was for pyro at a football game. At the time of writing I don’t really have a satisfactory answer to write about. I wanted to try and put the other side of the argument across: maybe I should have waited for more responses, but I’m a busy man and needed to get writing. One person said it creates a hostile environment, and yet another said it would never been done at a home game. Surely it’s your home ground that should be the hostile place to visit? Surely a hostile environment is something you want to create at an actual competitive fixture, not a pre season work out? Aside from that I’m not sure I will get answers that vary too far from the themes of ‘atmosphere’, ‘displays’ and ‘ultras’. I sort of understand the atmosphere argument, but is it sufficient to break the law and risk alienating and angering a large section of other fans? Is it worth a potential prison sentence or banning order? Is it worth getting the club you’re supposed to be supporting a fine?

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This is not creating an atmosphere. This is borderline laughable.

 

How would the ‘fan’ that let off the smoke bomb yesterday feel if the £20k or so we raise through the crowd funder had to be put straight back into the bank account of the FA because we were hit with a fine? I’d wager he probably wouldn’t care, because a true supporter of the football club would not do something than runs the risk of causing the club major problems. As I explained I don’t feel the person who let this off is a fan in the truest sense of the word, because I feel the display is much more for their own purposes than anything appertaining to be creating an atmosphere. Yesterdays ‘display’ of pyro whilst we’re losing 2-0 to Lincoln Utd was nothing more than a selfish attempt to grab attention. Had it been us scoring late against Grimsby in the derby I could understand why, and perhaps wouldn’t have felt moved enough to write. That said anyone who lets off a smoke bomb or flare in a football ground will deserve the punishment they end up getting, atmosphere or no atmosphere. I wouldn’t imagine watching Sky Sports Saturday while serving a banning order will have much of an atmosphere attached to it.

Cowleys Campaign Update 

Since the launch of Cowleys Campaign Crowdfunder over £7K has been raised, meaning £14k in real terms. If we carry on at that rate then we could easily raise the salary of an extra player. James Caton anyone? 

As fans we have always come together to help bring players to the club.We (not me, too young) signed Peter Grotier from West Ham. Kevin Austin was signed after an appeal by John Beck, and last year’s crowd funder helped bring Callum Howe to the club. This year’s effort has already been significantly more successful.

Could he be an Imp next season?

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, hence our £7K becoming £14K. Can we get to £25K for a total of £50k? Can the optimism felt around the club manifest itself into pounds and pence?

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. New awards are being added all the time, just last week DF bagged a pink Paul Farman shirt to be raffled off to one lucky subscriber. Recently signed balls and shirts have appeared and there’s always something new being added. The club are behind this and on present numbers so are the fans. We must keep the pressure up though!

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, and he was the only trialist with a printed shirt. Perhaps a few more 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.

DF will be on sale against Peterborough and Crewe, and thanks to the generosity of our own ‘mystery backer’ all print costs have been covered which means every penny raised by matchday sales from those two games will go into the crowdfunder with prizes going into a draw. Buy DF, support the crowdfunder. 

Alternatively just support the crowd funder. You know it makes sense.

Do it here: crowdfunder

Money for the club already!

We’ve not even got an issue on the streets yet, and we’re already supporting our football club financially!!

A run of subscriptions coupled with a generous offer of some free printing from our only advertiser has meant we have been able to pledge £75 to the crowd funder, worth £150 to Lincoln City football club! The pledge has also meant that we will be in possession of the highly sought after Paul Farman signed pink keepers jersey, a crowd funder prize that went inside 30 minutes!

This is a superb achievement for the fanzine given we haven’t gone on general sale yet, and a big thanks to both Howdens Joinery of Louth and to our subscribers. For the first run of copies we’re printing and binding ourselves, which hopefully will give us more money to plough into the club as the season starts! It does give the fanzine quite a retro feel as well which hopefully will go down well with you lot.

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The free printing and self binding does mean a bit of extra work on our part, but if it means getting pennies into the clubs bank account then why not? We’re hoping to have a good run on copies through the friendly so we can pledge more via the crowd funder. Every pound we pledge is £2 to the club, it’s a no brainer!

So what of the Paul Farman signed pink jersey we’ll be receiving once the crowd funder is complete? Well there’s great news for our subscribers…. you’ll all be entered into a free draw to win it. Literally all you have to do is be a paid up subscriber to Deranged Ferret by the time we finally hit the streets. If you subscribe for all four copies, you’ll get two entries into the draw. If you buy the first edition on a match day and then subscribe to the next three copies you’ll get one entry into the draw.

We’ll be drawing for it before a game in August, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

So there we go, not on the doorstep and already the Ferret is putting money into Lincoln City Football Club. It may only just be re-launching, but it is our hope that the Ferret will now be around for many years to come.

The EGM

It hasn’t always been sunshine and flowers for Bob and the board. We may have financial security now and a manager who could take us places, but just a few short years ago the board faced a difficult EGM from a disgruntled section of the support. I covered the story (loose terminology of course) for the digital DF. For all but the 50 people who subscribed back then, here is the original piece I did.

With hindsight the EGM does sound more viable to me than it did at the time. I was focusing on the disruption to the team rather than the inherent problems already in place. Steve Tilson was (lets be honest) a bloody awful manager and nothing could hinder the teams on field progress more than him.

However I also feel the pro Bob stance was very fair and ultimately the best thing for the club. At times Bob Dorrian hasn’t shown perfect judgement and he has left the club with some terrible managers. However since then he has done everything he feels is right for the club and his judgement hasn’t been too bad. Anyway in 2011, here’s what  I thought.

The EGM movement started in early July, but the origins can be traced back to the much maligned Lincoln City Mad website, under the watchful eye of he who shall not be named. Just after the dismal relegation the message board there experienced some chatter about the need for an EGM.

However it was late June when the story broke: Imps fan Paul Wilson declared he had the backing of enough shareholders to force an EGM. At that early stage the names of his cohorts remained under wraps, and Harry ploughed a lone furrow in the media.

By early July some names had been added in Keith Roe, Neil Foster and Shelly Harris. They had a ten point list of resolutions they wanted a vote on, from sacking each member of the board to reinstating Chris Travers as chairman of Lincoln City.

Bob Dorrian wasn’t happy with the timing of the move.

“It will probably come as no surprise that we are unhappy with the timing of this request for an EGM, the uncertainty is very damaging at the moment for a whole host of reasons.”

Those reasons included hampering Steve Tilsons attempts to sign new players, and the potential damage it could do to season ticket sales.

“Season ticket sales are lower than expected and the actual financial cost to the club of holding this EGM could be £5,000 as a result of time spent, legal and other costs the club cannot afford.”

“The four requisitioners want to sack the whole of the board, to date there have been no proposals for the membership of a new board or indeed any sign of new investment.”

In his letter to 1300 shareholders Harry had outlined the basis for the EGM.

“The nature of the business to be dealt with at the meeting is that the board have failed in their duty to exercise reasonable care and diligence for the benefit of its shareholders, the fans’ forum held on May 26 confirms the business failed in almost all important areas.

The fans forum had intially been regarded as a success by both the club and the fans, with Chris Travers and Bob Dorrian answering some very difficult questions. However in the weeks following that forum Travers had stepped down from the board and some fans had speculated that their might be trouble in the upper echelons of the Imps hierachy.

By July 9th former director Keith Roe had spoken to the press and added to the list of concerns outlined in Harrys letter.

“In the last four years, the problems have started. In the 2006-07 season, although the club only made a couple of grand, it was still very viable.”

Roe himself left the board in 2006.

“They probably thought the cashflow was not bad, and they had money from previous seasons in the kitty, so it was not a problem. Steff Wright obviously was quite happy and in the second year, when the losses started, we were still using the monies from the past.”

He then suggested that Steff had departed for that reason.

“In the third year it started to become a tricky situation and at the end of that season Steff resigned. Bob took over and you know from looking at the figures, that every year it has got worse and we are getting into a cashflow problem.”

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Bob Dorrian himself was apparently fighting for his Imps life. A lifelong Lincoln resident and supporter Dorrian had been criticised for his business know how. He counter acted that doubt just a day later when he revealed he was putting £100,000 of his own money into the club: that move was a master stroke. The fact he had £100,000 cash to invest showed that in business he is no fool. he fact he wanted to pass it to the club showed his commitment to the cause.

“Had we been in the Football League, we would have been set to receive a payment of £200,000, but obviously now we have been relegated we are not going to receive that,” he said.

“Although we have made saving of £650,000, we are not going to really feel the effects of that until three or four months’ time. So in the meantime there is a slight problem with cash flow in terms of day to day costs and other areas of the football club that might be a little bit short.The problem is exacerbated as we have to pay the players we released at the end of the season who haven’t got clubs until July 31.”

The problems at City weren’t being hidden from anyone. Neither was the chairmans commitment.

“I am prepared to stump up £100,000 of my own money just to tide us over and that’s on top of the £50k I put in last month. I can’t really afford to do it, but the football club is vitally important and it’s a case of needs must.”

Bob also feared that the move was hiding some personal agenda’s from some individuals, but careful to avoid a repeat of the Michael Foley situation, he chose his words carefully.

“My own view why this EGM has been called has nothing to do with football, it has nothing to do with the football club and everything to do with personal agendas,” he said.

“They have a vested interested in painting us in the worst possible light and it all comes back to personal agendas.They would say differently. Of course they would. A lot of the things they have said on paper look feasible, but when you dig underneath them a lot of it is just hollow talk.”

If there was ever proof that Bob has the power of hindsight, perhaps these words are it.

Keith, Harry and the gang were already beginning to enter defence mode, claiming that the positions of directors would be uttenable if they harnessed less than 25% of the popular vote. Battle lines were being drawn.

So what were the Supporters Trust doing during this period of posturing? Well they were refusing to ballot their members on which way they should vote. Despite them being pro club (a stance I wholeheartedly agreed with) they were not exercising the democratic responsbility they have to their members. A former LCST chairman wasn’t impressed.

“I am somewhat disappointed that the Trust Board did not have the courage to ballot their members to receive a convincing mandate,” he said.

“While they are now going to consult with their membership and they are staying within their constitution it would have been nice to have seen individual members allowed to do something democratically.

Indeed it would. The Trust did agree to take all the views of members on board before deciding how to cast their vote. Although it was a compromise, just like the ballot on AV by the government earlier this year it was no more than an miserable compromise.

The D-Day moment in the saga came from the mouth of Chris Travers, who under one of the proposals was put forward as the alternative chairman of the club. A Facebook group appeared entitled ‘make Chris Travers the chairman of Lincoln City’. A movement had begun.

The only problem was that nobody had thought to inform Chris, nor had they consulted with him. He wanted no part of the debacle, and stated that publically for all the fans to digest. The war was won by the board in that one incident.

By the time the EGM came around it seemed like it would be a formality. Steve Tilson had begun to bring in some decent players and the squad was looking competitive. Off the field the EGM conspiritors had hit another snag.

The Championship 2010 plan had included improving our training facilities by building a training ground on the outskirts of town. This facility would bring a certain kudos to the club when searching for new talent. However it didn’t work out that way. At the fans forum Bob Dorrian admitted the ground was not fit for purpose, and it would have to be mothballed for the coming season.

Could Bob and the current board be held responsible for the mistakes of the past? Well it appeared not. A photo came to light from the launch of Championship 2010, a photo showing Steff Wright and Dave Roberts making a presentation. There was a third face in the picture as well: Keith Roe.

Whatever the facts of the case are, the picture built up by a majority of fans was clear. The training ground debacle could be attributed more to Keith Roe than to anybody currently sat on the clubs board. Couple that with the comments from Chris Travers and the EGM momentum had been slowed. In fact it had stopped. Before long it imploded.

The non league paper described the event of July 21st creating ‘farcical scenes’ and quoted an Imps shareholder as saying:

 “They didn’t have a plan, they didn’t have a clue. They haven’t come forward with any proposals or plans to bring further investment on board. It was a wrecking job, absolute madness”

The facts back up the sentiment of those words. Of the ten proposals put forward by the shareholders, two were returned with 99% of the support. This meant that not only had the pro board shareholders voted for them, but the rebels had voted against their own resolution!

Chris Travers spoke at the meeting to state he wanted no part of the planned over throw. He spoke to a table containing Roe, Wilson, and the former editor of Lincoln City Mad. The LCM website had come under heavy criticism from some quarters for its heavy anti board stance in the weeks leading up to the relegation. Although previously unconnected (and not a shareholder himself) his arrival on the scene late was no surprise.

Bizarrely they had even proposed the removal of David Leonard as a director. Mr Leonard isn’t even on the board!!

Bob Dorrian was overjoyed.

“The popular vote is actually ours and that’s important because the rank and file shareholders, the small shareholders, literally all voted for the board.”

Keith Roe was disagreeing.

“The results are as we expected and that was the board would win the vote. I accept that, but on the resolutions one to five, the rank and file vote, in every instance was a majority. If they want to move on, that’s fine by me. But when the rank and file against certain members of the board is two to one although they can stay on the board, and there is no issue with that, their position in my mind is untenable.”

He was clear on his feelings.

“The members of the board where the rank and file vote is substantial, should resign.”

In the face of condemnation from fans the rebel group continued to claim a victory of sorts in the local press. In a statement released to the Lincolnshire Echo they announced that the move had been justified.

“The call of an EGM was well justified, and has given the board a firm kick up the backside. Shareholders should not allow ongoing financial losses to be overlooked, and hopefully this will not happen again. The fact remains that the vote made clear that four of the individual directors, as well as the board as a unit, do not have the confidence of a significant proportion of shareholders.”

Furthermore Bob’s claim that there was a personal agenda seemed to carry some weight as they moved onto him.

“Bob Dorrian did say he wanted everyone onside going forward. Few would argue with that, but confidence and respect has to be earned. It will be interesting to see what initiatives he has to rebuild this apparent breakdown in shareholder relationships.The chairman has a great responsibility and should take careful deliberation on any statement he makes.”

The clubs Chief Exec Steve Prescott had kept a dignified silence in the run up to the EGM, but did have a comment afterwards.

“The results of the EGM were pretty emphatic and it now has to be treated as a watershed moment. We had hoped that, after the fans’ forum back in May, that would be it as far as the recrimination of last season was concerned, but obviously it was not.”

Steve has overseen a promising period of investment from sponsors recently, including bringing David Parman on board from main sponsors TSM. The success in doing this should not be under estimated.

“However, I do think we shouldn’t dismiss it as a pointless exercise because there have been positives to take from it. For a start it’s no bad thing that the board of directors understand they are answerable to the shareholders.”

“The Supporters’ Trust, for instance, need to galvanise more fans to join them because their relationship with the club is vitally important.”

Meet the opposition

It’s not been possible to put everything submitted into the printed copy of the new Deranged Ferret. I got two guides to the opposition sent in, one was a well constructed interview with fans of the promoted clubs, the other was…. well it’s below.

We’re going to print this week, but as I’m in Italy from next Tuesday onwards for a week there’s a possibility we won’t be hitting the terraces until the Peterborough friendly. Subscribers can expect their copies weekend of July 23rd.

Meet the Opposition

Your ‘in depth’ guide to teams in our league this season.

Aldershot Town

You’ll probably remember Aldershot Town as the team that sent us down to the Conference. I’ll never forget Danny Hylton’s horrible celebration in front of the Stacey West when he scored the goal that started the defeat off. Dean Holdsworth was their manager that day, and David Holdsworth did his best to take us down further a year or two later. Neither are with The Shots now, so it’s basically just a trip down to London (I know it isn’t in London by the way, that’s the joke…. didn’t get it? I’m not sure this article is for you if you didn’t)

Barrow

Moneybags outfit owned by a Dallas trillionaire (probably) and intent on just buying our good players and everyone else’s too. I suspect Paul Cox believes if he buys everyone in the league then he’ll stand a chance of winning it. He’s wrong. If I had such deep pockets I wouldn’t be trying to tempt Matt Rhead away from Lincoln, I’d be more intent on bringing in Akinola from Braintree.

Boreham Wood

They’re one of those pub teams that make stories of the conference seem horribly real. These guys even have to loan their hooligans from bigger clubs with a Tottenham mob causing havoc in little old Lincoln when we met last year. Exactly the sort of team we should be beating, but in the absence of Welling probably the sort of team we’ll lose to.

Braintree Town

I’m going to be nice, because we’ve done to them what Barrow want to do to everyone. The Cowleys took them to third last season, and now we have taken them, their star player, their star left back and a top notch youth (at the time of writing) and I feel a little sorry for them. I hope they do relatively well, apart from home and away against us. Another trip to London.

Bromley

Whenever I hear the name Bromley I think of Moses Swaibu and his chicken dinners, but there’s much more to them than that. Last year they had lightweight Ali Fuseini as well which maks them a bit of a dumping ground for rubbish ex Imps. Another team who we’ll struggle against. Their badge is an apple. Probably. It’s in London, quelle surprise (French for ‘what a surprise’, a joke about lots of clubs being down south… just in case you missed it)

Chester

They never get a mention on Hollyoaks, if I were them I’d want to know why. Despite so many fit girls on the Chester based show their own fan base is as ugly and weathered as any National League side. They’ll win some games and lose some games and I think we’ll play them twice. That’s all I really know about them.

Dagenham and Redbridge

(I’m genuinely bored writing this already. Unbelievable) Dagenham are a team that give this league a ‘1988’ feel along with Maidstone, Sutton and a few others. They’re back where they belong though now, and that won’t change this season, unless they do a Stockport. It’s in London.

Dover

Wankers.

Eastleigh

Moneybags wankers.

Forest Green Rovers

Vegetarian, hippy led, poorly supported, village based, moneybags wankers.

Gateshead

(Okay I’ll take it seriously against no). Northern wankers.

Guiseley

(Okay, okay I’ll do it properly). A local derby of sorts. Once upon a time they’d be a novelty FA Cup first round draw, like Billingham Sythonia, now they’re a tricky away trip. I expect the Cowleys will want revenge for the ghost goal from last season, and I’d wager that we get it as well.

Macclesfield Town

I thought after the battle of Moss Rose back in the day I’d always dislike Macc, but since Keith and Butch there’s a mutual respect between us and them. They treat the memory of our ex crown jewels in the manner I’d expect a club too, and they shared our pain when those two great men were lost. If I had to pick a team to get promoted alongside us, it’d be these boys. I’d take another 5-3 home win too.

Maidstone Utd

I really wanted Truro to get through the Conference South play offs, but I didn’t get my wish. We now have to travel to the Kent town in London for the first time since something like 1992. (I once did a day’s work in Maidstone measuring stairs for TSM and it’s pretty grim. It’s so bad the nearby castle type tourist attraction was pinched from Leeds).

North Ferriby

The new Alfreton, a real barometer of how far we’ve fallen. If you’re in the away end you can either watch the match, or turn 90 degrees and watch locals tend to their allotment. I can’t wait to see Agnes Murphy tending to those prized carrots next season. They’re here on the back of money, but they’ll be gone now it’s gone. One season wonders, without the wonder.

Solihull Moors

(Until March 2016 I genuinely thought this team were called Solihull Motors. I think they’ll be a surprise package this season, despite me imagining them as a Sunday league team full of mechanics). It’s not in London, but you’ll find the locals just as hard to understand. Not sure if they play on the Moors, but if they do then I’d imagine it will still have better facilities than Dover.

Southport

I quite like Southport for a couple of reasons. The first is we always seem to beat them, and it was the first trip I made away in non league. I actually blagged being ill to miss a wedding to be there, and I found them very accommodating and friendly. Hopefully they’ll keep flying the flag for the north in the Conference, but as they seem to get worse each I doubt it. At least it should be six points. Near Liverpool so make sure your tyres aren’t on display on your car.

Sutton United

(Gander Green Lane caused such merriment for me as a kid, and the same day I worked in Maidstone I also travelled to Sutton. I drove past Gander Green Lane and chuckled to myself like a 9 year old again. I later got a parking ticket so I hope the bastards get relegate).

London, obviously. If you go to Sutton Coldfield you’re going to be very disappointed. More so than usual.

Torquay Utd

Finally a proper team that pops up on our radar. It’s a great trip away if we play them on a Saturday in August, but if it’s a Tuesday in December we’ll take less people than FGR took to Wembley. They had a torrid time last season, but like us they’ll be hoping to regain some dignity by entering the football league again. (I’ve got a mate who runs Topps Tiles down there, if you ever have any tile needs whilst on the English Riviera give him a shout)

Tranmere Rovers

Probably the biggest club in our league now, a team that have fallen even further than us. They’ll be tough, but they’re a proper team again so when we play them it’ll feel like a proper league game. They have a few fans and they won’t want to be in this league for a moment longer. They’ll be a real challenge for us having signed Connor Jennings and Andy Cook (there you go, one team to last and I decide to do some analysis. People often ask why I’m not a journalist…….)

Woking

Another trip to London, this time to the home of McClaren. I’ve run out of funny things to say about endless trips to London. Watch out for their striker who’ll score goals, and also some defender they have who’s half decent. I dunno, I didn’t research this article as you know. If you thought it’d be a bit more in depth and full of analysis then you’re wrong. I just basically wanted to write down all the teams in our league and my research extended to finding out Solihull were not affiliated to a local garage.

Wrexham

A real club but one featuring Sean Newton so there’s no kudos for them. These are the (other) guys that didn’t play Jon Nolan before he fired Grimsby into the Football League. I hope it goes badly for them and that loud mouth scouse prick Newton. They got £50,000 as Danny Ward started for Wales in a Euro 2016 game. (That’s research right there for you. Back of the net)

York City

(I went away to York in 1992 and got into trouble for throwing sucked Polo mints at my Dad’s boss standing a few rows in front. Then we sang ‘you can stick your miners up your arse’ before running back to the car to go home. Great days. Back then it was called Bootham Crescent. Now it’s the Kit Kat or something). They’re having a break from the football league (pun intended) and they’re probably as close as you get to a derby unless you count North Ferriby, and who counts North Ferriby? Signed Matt Fry when some of our fans wanted him to sign for us, so I’d imagine the ill informed will boo him or something.

Hope my guides helped you a bit. Next month we’ll probably put some proper travel information in or something.

Peter Jackson: Looking back

This article first appeared on the Lincoln City Mad website before I relinquished control and it became a vehicle for one mans fight against the club. I’ve added a second bit which was intended to appear in the third digital Deranged Ferret, had we ever actually got it out.

In the eyes of most Imps fans, ex manager Peter Jacksons reign will be defined by the name of one other man – Adrian Patulea. The Romanians persistent exclusion from the side despite finding the net 11 times for City was the turning point for a large section of fans. In the eyes of the average man through the turnstile, Adi was the best striker to grace Sincil Bank since Simon Yeo. If he caused trouble it didn’t matter as long as he hit goals in an Imps shirt. Surely only a manager of immense ego could leave a successful player out?

He will be remembered fondly for a few things as well. He’ll be remembered as the manager who made a massive profit for the club by selling off star players. Dany N’Guessan was a fringe player until Jackson stuck him out wide and told the remaining ten Imps player to pass to him. Jacko will be remembered as the man who saved us from relegation and the man who successfully beat cancer in a spell that saw him fully endeared to the patrons of the City. He also brought Richard Butcher back to the club, a player set to figure in a massive way for The Imps in the coming weeks (gutted reading this back). He also stuck by the Imps youth policy bringing numerous young players through. It might be said he relied too heavily on it, but Messrs Hutchinson, Adams, Coleman-Carr, Miller and Bennett will disagree.

adrianpatulea-1332423062

The Romanian enigma, Adrian Patulea

 

However as well as Patulea he’ll be remembered as the man who swept out the old guard. Keith Alexander stalwarts such as Alan Marriott and Jamie Forrester were farmed out as the new Jackson faces came in. There will be those who cannot forgive the constant references to his budget, constantly bemoaning the war chest he had. His comments often made the club look like a poor side when the truth is we are competitive with 70% of our league financially. Then there is the unique stubbornness he has that saw him stick with 4-3-3 when all the fans around him called 4-4-2. When he changed at half time of a game we trailed against Accrngton, the 4-4-2 brought 5 second half goals, with substitute Patulea playing a big part. Needless to sat Jacko took the credit.

There’s his debatable transfer record to hold against him, with only Moses Swaibu, Aaron Brown and Rob Burch emerging as quality players for the club. Other faces such as Gall, Graham, Horsfield, and Sinclair will be seen as flops. His magnificent seven turned into decent double a five of failure last season, and so far this season few of the new faces can hold their head up high, perhaps only Paul Connor.

jacko

Likeable but not popular.

 

Although results have been cited as a reason for his departure, the love / hate relationship with the fans will probably be the most memorable feature of his reign after Patulea. He breezed into the club winning many friends, and the battle with cancer further cemented the special relationship he developed across the City. However the Patulea incident definitely signalled the end of the love affair, and him blasting supporters for not turning out proved unpopular. When he stated he expected seven thousand for a friendly with Arsenal Youths, fans were left scratching their heads at where he thought the attraction lay. His berating of Stefan Oakes in the press won him few friends, and the ones that stayed were beginning to waver when he persistently commented on transfer targets before losing them.

LCM lost faith in Jacko last season after Frecklington’s departure came too late for adequate replacement to be found. Perhaps Michael O’Connor would have changed our mind, had it not been for the 5-1 defeat at Grimsby in his first game. We were prepared to throw our weight behind Jacko this season, but the meek surrender against an average Burton side convinced us nothing would change. A 3-0 demolition at Dagenham on Saturday further enhanced the view that his days were numbered, but even we didn’t expect a move to come so quick.

jacko2

I do love a Panini sticker

 

We are in favour of his dismissal, which did come suddenly but not wholly unexpected. Word hit LCM at around 11pm on Tuesday that his days were numbered, in the aftermath of yet another defeat, this time a cup exit against Darlington. Arguments on the pitch between players suggested he’d lost the dressing room, and the 60 or so travelling fans chanted ‘your getting sacked in the morning’. When people who are prepared to travel 250 miles round tip for a JPT 1st round game want to have their say, we think they’ve arned the right, and those loyal followers were maing it well known Jacko had entered the final straight of his tenure as Imps boss.

The big matches of Jacko’s spell in charge

Chester (H) 0-1

The first game and a breath of optimism breezed over Sincil Bank. Chester were half an our late, Jacko waltzed into the supporters bar before the game and gave an impassioned speech and we lost 1-0. Jacko was sent to the stands and everyone felt despite the result a new era was dawning. Oh dear.

Wycombe (H) 1-0

Jacko’s last game before a spell recovering from cancer saw us beat Wycombe 1-0 thanks to a terrific Louis Dodds strike. Thoughts of Jackson leaving the club at this point seemed more ludicrous than thoughts of merging with Grimsby Town 

Dagenham (H) 1-3

Cruising at half time thanks to a Lennell John Lewis goal, and having had a Ben Wright strike cancelled out for offside City seemed to be on a crash course with success. However a complete second half collapse saw us lose 3-1, and the first minds began to turn to thoughts of trouble ahead. 

Chesterfield (H) 3-1

Not remembered at the time as anything other than a good win over a decent side, but the result was our last win at home on a Saturday last season, and it came in October. A miserable home form came to typify the Jacko regime, and this win soon became linked with the future failures of the side. 

Kettering (A) 1-1

The race row game that saw Jackson and Onuora both end up giving evidence in court. A hostile home support witnesses a terrible Imps display, lit up only by a strike from enigmatic Frenchman Dany N’Guessan. The replay perhaps gave us our best chance at prgression in a cup competition for year, but we lost 2-1 thanks to a last minute Craig Westcarr strike. 

Accrington (H) 5-1

A role reversal as City are 1-0 down after an appalling first half. Jacko bows to fans pressure and changes the system from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2. A Mr Patulea inspired comeback sees us bang 5 past hapless Stanley to record a win on a cold Friday night. Possibly the last time anyone saw David Graham in an Imps shirt.

Grimsby (A) 1-5

A truly terrible result that codheads everywhere still see as last season’s only achievement for their side. Trailing 2-1 Jacko gambles and goes for broke, City concede 3 more times for an historic defeat. Eve the staunchest Imps fan won’t forget that debacle in a hurry. 

Dagenham (A) 0-3

The match which finally confirmed City were making no progress at all under Jackson. A weak City almost at full strength are rolled over by a hard working Dagenham side in some style, and the nails in the coffin began to get knocked in. Perhaps the manner of the defeat lingers longer than the implications of simply losing three points, but from here only a miracle could save Peter Jackson. Three days later a goal from Imps nemesis Lee Thorpe saw Jacko and Onuora leave the club after under two years at the helm.