John Nutter

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Nutter in action for Gillingham

 

John Nutter is a bit different to my usual A to Z choices. The feature is meant to highlight the nowhere men and the nearly men, but with John Nutter I wanted to highlight another type of player: the decent player who struggled with relocation.

Nutter had a good career before he came to City. After good performances in the non league with Aldershot and Stevenage he ended up at League One Gillingham where he made 135 league appearances in a three year spell.

He arrived at Lincoln as part of Steve Tilson’s attempt to get back into the football league at first attempt. He arrived with a reputation as an attacking full back who had dropped down a level too far. Even by his own admission he felt he’d dropped down further than e needed to.

He was ever present in our first appalling season scoring a couple of goals. He never had a chance to shine in such a poor City side but he also never let the team down. I liked John Nutter as a player but he really suffered from the inconsistency that came with Tilson being sacked and Holdsworth coming in. He scored in a crucial 2-0 home win against Newport after a fans demonstration that sparked a run of three wins to help us towards safety.

In his second season he was named as captain but began to struggle with travelling as he had a young family. His last goal for Lincoln was in a 3-3 draw with Stockport, and his final appearance was in the 3-2 AET win at Walsall in the FA Cup. Shortly afterwards due to family commitments he moved initially on a two month loan down to Woking.

In just his second game for Woking he was on the end of a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Hyde, but they still made his move permanent and he went on to make 70 appearances for the Cards spanning almost two seasons. His last professional game was as a last minute sub in a 1-0 over Forest Green.

After football John settled in the south and has recently been working as a PE Teacher at a prep school.

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Anthony Pulis

Another failed Chris Sutton loan signing, Anthony is the son of West Brom manager Tony Pulis. He signed on loan from Southampton to try and add steel in the midfield which he didn’t do.

He started out at Portsmouth before a move to Stoke City. He never really broke into the first team but spent a lot of time out on loan at the likes of Torquay, Grimsby and Plymouth. After four fruitless years at Stoke he moved to Southampton which is where he signed from when he arrived at Sincil Bank.

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Anthony Pulis

 

He never looked comfortable or able to fully adjust to the tempo of League Two football and one has to wonder if his move here was an attempt to curry favour with his father for loan deals. He dropped straight into the Imps first team without making any major contribution, and it was felt perhaps he’d come for game time to get over injury.

After playing for us he spent time on loan at Aldershot and Stockport but never made regular first team appearances for Southampton. Upon completion of his Southampton contract he was released.

Later in his career he found regular first team football with Orlando City making 44 appearances before retiring to move into coaching which is where he is today.

DF meets Bradley Wood

In the first re-launched edition of the Imps fanzine Deranged Ferret we met Imps full back Bradley Wood for a chat. To promote our second issue which will be available next Saturday we’re bringing you the full interview with Bradley here online. If you haven’t read it and you like it why not seek us out on Saturday and get issue two, where we meet keeper Paul Farman amongst other things!

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to achieve when I initially interviewed Bradley Wood for this brand new DF. I like him as a player, strong and reliable with a great attitude, but that wouldn’t make a good interview. Maybe his slightly controversial comments about Liam Hearn going to Barrow made me think there would be some juice I could pick up on. I’m not really sure and as a writer it’s important to know where you want to end when writing a piece. You can’t take a journey without knowing where you’re going to, and the same applies here. However once I’d finished chatting to Brad I knew where I wanted the piece to go. I want fans to see that Brad the player might be a bit special, but Brad the bloke is just like you and me. He claims to tell it how it is, but instead of being a Katie Hopkins style ‘tell it like it is’ he is measured and fair when he speaks. He knows the right and wrong things to say, and although he won’t shy away from the bad stuff, he’s always very honest and reasoned. Anyway you didn’t read this piece to listen to me bang on did you? No. Off we go then.

Bradley Wood is one of those players that you like from the very first time you see him. I remember the first time I saw him in action, he clattered a winger in a solid but fair challenge and then set off down the wing in true Mark Bailey style. The similarity between Mark Bailey and Bradley Wood is uncanny. They’re both up and down full backs, they’d both run through walls for their team and they’re both nice blokes. Mind you Bradley has something Bailey doesn’t have: three player of the year awards won in one campaign. It’s something he’s very proud of.

“Winning those awards, it felt great to know that my hard work was getting recognition. I loved last season. Enjoyed working hard and playing football. First time I can say that for a few years now and to be voted player of the year by 3 different sources was incredible. The lads all congratulated me and were spot on. Great group of men, which a few wouldn’t have been far away for the prizes.”

It might have been a great group of men, but one man in particular seemed to bring the players together. Success by some is measured by league position, but by this writer success could also be measured by progress and the outgoing manager oversaw a period of progress. He clearly had an influence on Brad as well.

“Moysey understood me. He knew how to get the best out of me. It’s always great when you’re wanted too. He bought me from Alfreton so I was clearly someone he wanted as a player. I just hope I repaid him.”

I don’t think there’s any doubt that Brad did him proud, but what was it Chris had that made him special to the players?

He respected the lads. In the changing room the lads knew Moysey’s door was always open for anything and he was a genuine top guy. In my seven years as a pro he’s the best gaffer I’ve had.”

There’s no doubt that Chris was the catalyst for a group of players battling at the right end of the table, despite falling away late on. I was interested to know if anyone stood out as a talented player in the City ranks. The fans and media saw Brad as the best player we had last season, it interested me to see who he thought was talented.

“There are many lads in the squad with different talents. Rheady is the best target man that I’ve lined up with, 9 times out of 10 you can guarantee he will win a header or hold the ball up. There’s plenty of talent at Lincoln it’s just playing to everyone’s individual asset to get the best out of the player.”

Wood

I got the impression that this answer was more genuine than an attempt to avoid naming individual team mates for praise. Part of me hoped it was because the players might get to read DF and might even submit to an interview with me!

Brad really came to the fore in the wake of Liam Hearn’s departure from the club to go on loan to Barrow. He summed up in an interview how many of the players felt, and although his remarks may have seemed inflammatory they only echoed how a number of fans actually felt. I was interested to know if this caused any friction on Liam’s return.

“To be fair to Liam he came back and was fine with the lads etc but you could tell he wasn’t himself. I got on well with Liam at Grimsby such a shame it ended the way it did as he is a good goal scorer.”

Brad may tell it how it is, but he isn’t controversial for the sake of it. Liam has gone and yet the knives are not out. Telling it like it is doesn’t always means you have to be undiplomatic. I was beginning to understand there’s more to Bradley Wood than the ‘heart on sleeve’ and ‘never say die’ attitude he has on the pitch. He’s an emotionally intelligent and well spoken man who understands the impact of the things he says. I wasn’t going to get any quotes that could cause trouble and I respect that in a player. I thought I’d fish (pun intended) a little harder for some anti Grimsby stuff, I knew he’d had a bad time when he left and I wondered how he saw it.

“I signed for Grimsby when they were in the football league before relegation. My deal was a 4 year contract and if I started 120 games it triggered an extra year. The more appearances I played the more money I was on. I was 1 game away from extending my deal for another year and I fully knew they knew this. They offered me a reduced contract on basically half my wages as they couldn’t justify a 21 year old being on the money I was on and I rejected it as it was poor and went to Alfreton.”

I knew from some Town fans that he’d been on a decent deal, but even so the way the Cods went about it seemed unfair, especially for a player who would never let

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“I’m very patriotic so representing my country was a very proud moment for me and my family. Just signing the national anthem before a game makes hair on the back of your neck stand up. I loved it. It’s up there with the best moments of my career.”

I was interested in the mention of his family. Those who are on the Lincoln City banter site will know that his other half is very prominent on there, and it’s no secret that he is a dedicated family man with very strong family values. I wondered how he felt about some of the stuff on banter, and how Loren reacted to things on there as well.

“Loren is very outspoken and tries to interact with all fans. It’s not a case of her opinion is the only one that matters. She’s learnt that there are people out there who like me and people who don’t. Football is a game of opinions and at the moment I’m liked more than disliked. That can all change. I’m visible on social media as I like interacting with fans as I’m just a normal person like everyone else. I’m down to earth. I’m sure it has an effect on people when there being either slated or praised as football can be a confidence game at stages.”

It was fascinating that chatting about a proud moment like England got a shorter response than chatting about his family. I’d always known he was a family man, and when he talks about them it becomes very obvious what drives him. It’s the same thing that drives me to get up and go to work: family. Not all professional footballers have family as a grounding in their life, but for Brad it seems to be a priority and that makes him all the more likeable and down to earth.

Last season wasn’t all roses and sunshine for the versatile full back though. A red card against Tranmere left him gutted at the prospect of letting the lads down, and then in the final game of the season he became a light snack for Cheltenham thug Kyle Storer.

“When I got sent off I was gutted mate. I try and do my best for the team week in week out. I thought the lads were spot on that day and earned a point but last few minutes let it go. Afterwards I just felt it had happened and I had to get up and get on with it.”

“Against Cheltenham, he was shielding the ball out of play and I closed him down. He fell down and dragged me down with him. I tried to get up and could feel something on the back of my arm/shoulder like a pinch mark. Then I noticed he was clinching on with his mouth. There was a bit of handbags with the other players but I told the ref and everyone involved that he bit me. I don’t mind the physical part of the game at all, but not biting!!!”

Throughout my talk with Bradley I was impressed by his honesty and how down to earth he was. Even when talking about being bitten he was reasonable, and the dejection at his Tranmere sending off was clear for all to see.

Time and space is running out on me here, so I just wanted a few words on Danny Cowley, Clive Nates and where his career goes from here.

On Danny Cowley: “I’ve met the gaffer once (this interview was done on June 14th) and he seems to be driven to do well and progress which is a good asset to have. He seems to have his own method which has bought him success so I hope that continues here.”

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On Clive Nates: “I’ve met Clive once at a fans forum. He seemed a real genuine nice guy who has a lot of knowledge about the game. He comes across as someone who, if he wants something to happen then he is driven for it to work. In football that is great as we can all go the same way and get this football club back where it belongs which is the football league.”

Finally I asked him about his Lincoln City career. With three player of the season awards in one campaign he is rapidly becoming a fans favourite, and in my household he is already up there with Mark Bailey, Peter Gain and Simon Yeo as a firm favourite.

“I’m happy to stay here and finish my career here as long as the management want me. Never ever been so happy playing football. I love the way the club treat my family too. That’s the main thing!”

I don’t think it’s any surprise that the well being of his family comes in as important as the quality of his football. I like that in Bradley Wood, he has values that are in line with most average blokes, he just puts bread on the table a different way. He is far removed from the controversial ‘tell it like it is’ figure some have him down as though. He’s honest but he won’t speak out of turn. He’s aware how his actions are viewed by people, from comments in an interview to red cards on the pitch. I can tell this isn’t just a job to him, he is committed to helping get us back where we belong. I believe another season like the last one will see him a very important cog in the upcoming Cowley’s campaign.

DF would like to thank Bradley Wood for taking the time to answer questions for us. Top man.

 

Shoe are ya?

Some regular readers of my blog may be aware that for many years I ‘portrayed’ Poacher The Imp down at Sincil Bank. I gave up in November 2013 to accommodate a move away with work, but recently I’ve put a few sneaky performances back in. I could never give it up completely!

As it’s a quiet news week I thought I’d do a quick blog about one of my away trips many years ago. Now for the last eleven years or so I’ve been planning on writing a book about my experiences and the club as a whole: I’m delighted to say I’ve actually started to pull it all together now and you never know, I might just get something published before I turn 40.

Anyway I recall an away trip to Shrewsbury on the opening day of the 2004/05 season. I had a decent relationship with their mascot, Lenny the Lion (or Ron the builder to give him his real name) and I knew there would be free tickets laid on. My old man would drive which would give me room to fuel up on the amber nectar before getting out there as Poacher. Nothing screams ‘top mascot performance’ better than a few pints of the jungle juice.

The game was at the old Gay Meadow which was a classic lower league football ground. They did they best they could with limited access and often suffered a winter break when the River Severn burst its banks and encroached on the playing turf.

 

The game was even more important as they’d just bounced back from a spell in the non league scene, and we were their first game back against ‘proper teams’. There was a carnival atmosphere in the ground and in the football pubs, not that we found that out though.

My old man and I had decided to have a few beers around town, and we’d blagged some street parking. I didn’t tell Dad we’d parked on the same street my ex girlfriend lived on, it seemed a bit stalker-ish. It probably was looking back….

Before I go on I should elaborate why Shrewsbury is my preferred away trip. Back in 2001 I had met and made future plans with a Shrewsbury girl. It hadn’t worked out as I’d intended due mainly to her not wanting it to, but I’ve always had a bit of a bee in my bonnet about the town. I loved it there, I was made really welcome whilst dating her and I often went to their games if we weren’t playing. I felt comfortable and therefore whenever it came up on the fixture list I made the journey. Looking back now it seems even more stalker-ish than the last paragraph.

We made our way into town and frequented a few of the pubs I’d been in when I was dating her, although to my Dad’s disappointment they weren’t really football pubs. We spent the whole pre match build up making our way from one disinterested family pub to another doing our very best to unintentionally avoid the several hundred travelling Imps fans. I think he was glad by the time we made our way to the ground to actually feel like he was going to a football game.

Ron had come good and provided a couple of tickets for us on the proviso I did a stint as Poacher. I’d always known Ron as an energetic mascot who put in his all, so it did surprise me somewhat to still be drinking in their players bar at 2.45pm. He got changed much quicker than I could, but we managed to get out on the pitch for ten minutes or so. It was a warm day anyway so the longer I spent ‘hydrating’ the better. Those suits get pretty warm in December I’ll have you know, so August is no fun at all.

 

You’d imagine that there isn’t much trouble you can get into in ten minutes on the pitch, and you’d be right. I did a full lap  mainly to antagonise the home support as I loved to do. Secretly I hoped maybe they’d appreciate seeing a football league mascot again, but they didn’t. I didn’t ever do it to cause trouble, just to build a bit of atmosphere. Just before I made it to our fans something hit me.

It was a size ten blue and white Adidas Samba.

I must admit to be a little taken aback, so I turned to see where it had come from, and this kid was leant over the hoardings shouting abuse at me. I popped the mouth open on my head to get a good look at him. I say he was a kid, he looked about twenty one but he had thrown his shoe so in my eyes he was a child.

“Did you just throw your shoe at me mate?”

He described to me how he wasn’t my mate, how being in the suit probably meant I preferred my sexual partners to be underage and how I should go back where I came from and mate with somebody. It wasn’t entirely pleasant but it wasn’t entirely unexpected either. Again I asked if he had thrown his shoe at me.

In response rather than actually answer he hoisted his socked foot up onto the wall in front of him and smiled. He had thrown me his shoe. Suddenly the vitriol subsided as the severity of his situation hit him. He only had one piece of footwear on his trotters.

“Can I have my shoe back please?”

I thought briefly for a moment. I often saw odd trainers or socks on the road and wondered at what point someone goes out and loses a shoe or sock and doesn’t retrieve it. Maybe here in my angry young aggressor I had some sort of answer. However as a fan of Adidas trainers it did pain me to think of a pair being parted due to the owners inability to focus his aggression in any other way than taking off his shoe and throwing it.

I retrieved the trainer and did my best to get it back to him. I couldn’t throw it too hard as the stewards would think I was being aggressive, but I couldn’t get too close as he looked like he might lash out at me. I gave it a weak wristed toss over the hoardings and turned to make my way to our fans.

As I did I felt the trainer hit me again. There’s no helping some people.

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Gareth McCauley. Didn’t score in this game as I first wrote, but did score the year after!!!

 

We won the game 1-0 thanks to Gary Taylor Fletcher, and we ended the season beaten at the Millennium Stadium by a decent Southend side. We’d witnessed arguably the last great Lincoln City team, and I’d started the roller coaster ride by being hit by a trainer. Twice.

On our way out my Dad and I spotted a wheelchair bound Shrewsbury fan talking to a fellow Imp. We made our way over and complimented him on his sides potential for the season ahead.

He also told us to go home and multiply, I’m not sure whether he meant separately or with each other. We were in Shrewsbury after all. It took all of my diplomacy to convince my Dad that tipping him out of the wheel chair was simply not cool, no matter what he said.

So there we go, a small taste of the sort of anecdote you may get in my upcoming book. I’m 40 in November 2018, so if you haven’t seen it by then can you start getting on my back please? I want to publish something other than a blog before I depart this earth.

Tweet: I am voting in @TheFBAs for @staceywestblog as the Best #New Football Blog

Julian Kelly

I have a system for deciding which players to feature on this bit of my blog. I pick games that stand out for me and one that stands out as an almighty low was our 6-0 home thumping by Rotherham under Steve Tilson. I looked down the players who featured that night, and after being revolted by the thought of looking at Pat Kanyucka I chose to focus on Julian.

On paper he looked a good prospect. He’d been with Arsenal up until he was 16, then switched over to Reading to turn pro before dropping down to Wycombe Wanderers on loan. He had a reputation as a quick and lively full back who could play on the wing. He joined us on loan (as most f the football leagues rejects did under Tilson) In January 2011. His debut saw us lose to his old club Wycombe.

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His next five games saw the Imps take maximum points and steer themselves away from the threat of relegation. Five wins in five was unheard of in that awful season and Kelly looked every part the rampaging full back we needed. However a 5-1 home defeat by Shrewsbury halted that run of form, and from there on we looked a ragged side. Kelly’s last home game for City was another drubbing, 4-0 by Gillingham. He featured in a surprise away point at Gresty Road before leaving the club.

He turned up next at Notts County and had reasonable success there scoring 4 times in over 50 appearances. However at the end of the 2013 season his contract wasn’t renewed and he drifted into non league football despite a trial at Grimsby.

He was last seen turning out for Grantham Town, and despite being a decent player with over twenty Imps appearances for me he will always be remembered as part of the worst defence I’ve ever seen at Sincil Bank. 6-0. At home.

 

 

DF SOLD OUT

That’s right folks, if you’ve missed out on issue one of the re-launched DF then I’m afraid your luck is just about out.

There are just a handful of copies left which have been put on Ebay – we’ll post a link shortly.

Thank you to everyone who has bought it, and special thanks to everyone who took the time to speak to me at the Sutton game with nice comments about it. we’re relieved that it seems to have gone down really well, and shortly we’ll be doing another survey to try and gauge what you liked and what you didn’t.

Work on Issue Two stats soon and we’re already after your articles and thoughts. The email address is derangedferret16@gmail.com and all submissions will be considered. Anything we don’t use will either be saved or used here on the DF bit of my blog.

We ploughed over £350 into the crowd funder and will be putting a little bit more in before the deadline which is great news. We haven’t launched DF as a way to make money for the club, but it is nice to be able to help out the new managers in some way.

Issue two is shaping up nicely as well. We’ve already announced that we’ve got Marcus Stergiopolous to give an interview about the Imps side of the early 2000’s, and we’re oping to have a current player on board as well. There will be more from the 617 lads as well as a variety of other articles. We’re even hoping for a Sports Stadium Architect to give us the pro’s and cons of a ground move!

Congratulations to Gaz ‘Gambler’ Ambler who will be joining us in the executive Boxes for our Bank Holiday clash with Gateshead. He was the lucky person who liked and shared our status on Facebook recently. We’ve got many more prizes to give away in Issue 2 that will only be available if you buy DF!

I’d like to end with a massive thank you to everyone who has helped get this first issue out and into peoples hands. Special mention to Mike Downs who has been selling on match days for us, I may enjoy editing etc but ‘in your face’ sales is not something I do well but Mike has done us proud. Without people like him Ben, Ian and I couldn’t make this happen.

Right I’m off to write Issue Two. 

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.

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.

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.

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