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.
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.
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.
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.