Andrew Abbott's Blog

Friday, 31 December 2010

Where have the holidays gone?

New years eve and I haven't written a thing, well almost. I did an article ready to go for the Shrewsbury game. I was sure it would be and my article was all ready to hit the send button when the go ahead came through but, once again a postponement.

Off down south now for new year, back for the Bantams game.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Neighbourly thoughts at Christmas

Lincoln Correspondent bemoans lack of local action.

Your correspondent spends his working days toiling away in the pleasant market town of Boston and is sometimes asked when he is going to write an article on Boston United. It is not the role of the Lincoln correspondent to write about United but with the Pilgrims riding high in Blue Square Bet North maybe there wil come a time when the Lincoln City and Boston once again lock horns as they did in the not too distant past.

Lincoln City have never occupied a position in the league that justified a tag of "giant" but when Boston United gained league status a few seasons ago and therefore equal status on the radio and in the local paper, fans of the Imps had to re appraise their view of their place in the football hierarchy. Ask any Pilgrims fan who his most deadly rivals are and he will almost certainly cite Lincoln but that is not really the case with Imps, they will state Grimsby or Scunthorpe, Notts County, Peterborough or Mansfield, indeed when Boston started to mount a promotion campaign that was to lead to promotion to the football league their results were read out at Sincil Bank and cheered, sometimes even when Boston had won!

Having said all that attendances for games against Boston were the best for some considerable time, apart from the play offs and nowadays are very rarely attained. Many fans would like to see a return to those titanic tussles of seasons past . Alarmingly City have lost fixtures against Peterborough, Notts County, Hull and Scunthorpe for reasons of those clubs success and good luck to them. Perhaps even more surprisingly Mansfield and especially Grimsby Town have been lost due to on field failure. It's customary for neighbouring fans to gloat at the misfortune suffered by their nearest and not so dearest but those thoughts soon evaporate when Christmas comes around and the Boxing Day clash is Port Vale away followed by Shrewsbury at home. Very local! Don't blame the fixture computer too much though; there just aren't any truly local games for Lincoln at the moment. It's come to something when the nearest fixtures are Chesterfield followed by Rotherham, even then those sides constantly threaten to desert the Imps as both sides are are at the right end of the table.

So from this Lincoln City supporter to our local sides who find themselves in the unaccostomed role as non league teams and to our friends in the South, we've had our fun at your expense and very much wish to have you back to resume our traditional rivalries in the near future. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to football fans of whatever hue. May you enjoy your football and continue to support your local team and to Lincoln City fans in particular all the very best this Christmas. Maybe one day we'll even play a game of football again. Up the Imps!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A nation unprepared?

Out for my lunchtime stroll today I was struck by the thought that maybe as a people we actually like to muddle through and resist the temptation to prepare for anything. I looked at the way people were dressed, alright there are a lot of foreigners in Boston and they're no better but it's quite obvious that very few people have done anything about their wardrobe to cope with the bad weather we've had. I thought of those mountaineers in Victorian times attempting to climb snowy peaks dressed in tweeds and brogues and a tie of course. Maybe that's the way we like to be, gloriously unready and then we get through somehow.
Take motorways, they're grudgingly built 50 years late, at 100 times the original cost. Our houses are built to a price not a standard, you could say that about a lot of things.

We laugh at the continentals with their snow blowers and silly hats. Studded tyres and triple glazing. Where's your backbone? We won the war didn't we and we weren't ready for that. What's that? Your neighbour died of hypothermia? Skidded off the road?
Maybe one day we'll learn.
Picture courtesy of BBC website.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Lincoln hoping to get Shot of the snow with a trip down south

Tilson will not want his team on the slide at Aldershot.

Never mind the prize, Lincoln City's players and fans were on the skies as, after a brief interlude, snow began to fall on Lincoln again on Thursday as the squad busied themselves at Lincoln County Hospital giving out presents to children unlucky enough to be in hospital over Christmas.

Next up in league two are Aldershot and all will be hoping that winters icy grip will not have reached Hampshire before Saturday and Imps will be able to view the vide-printer with more than a passing interest come five o'clock.

Delroy Facey is back from his sunshine winter break in Martinique where he helped Grenada to a fourth place finish in the Caribbean Cup . International football is not to the battling forwards liking though. He told the Lincolnshire Echo:

"I've missed the hustle and bustle of our game because international football is different in terms of tempo and style,"

"Here in England it's a lot more physical while playing for Grenada the tempo is different and the opposition go down too easy.

"Free kicks are often awarded against you so I'm looking forward to using a bit of muscle in a Lincoln shirt.

"I'm feeling fit and sharp and given the weather I've probably played more times there
in the last two weeks than I have in two months here.

"As you can imagine, I just cannot wait to pull a shirt on for Lincoln
and get going."

Young Nathan Adams has now left the club by mutual agreement , not that the fans got much of a look at the striker since he was handed a six month contract , he has recently been on loan at Stamford Town. Another Imps career that may be over before it has begun imay be Kern Miller. Miller has been training with Barnsley and is out of contract in December. Steve Tilson is keen to keep him but he will be free togo if he does not sign on the dotted line.

Tilson told BBC Lincolnshire "Were in the process of offering him a two-and-a-half year deal but he's been training for a couple of days at Barnsley.

"He's out of contract in Decmber which isn't fantastic for us. At the moment he's keeping his options open but he could well go to Barnsley."

Tilson added "Since I've come in he's done well which is why I've offered him a new contract but we'll have to see.

"If Barnsley do take him we could get compensation and a sell on clause but that's more out of courtesy because they don't need to give us anything."

Fingers crossed for a sporting Saturday and even more reason to hang on to those weathergirls every word. You wouldn't want anyone to think you're an uncommitted Imp would you?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Always a late night on Thursday

Snowy Lincolnshire scene by Graham McFarlane

It's always a late finish on Thursday. Normally the press conference is on City's official website although today I had an article more of less finished before I took the lap top home. I contacted the Echo's Leigh Curtis through twitter and he confirmed the press met up at Lincoln County Hospital where the players had been giving the children Christmas presents. Steve Tilson , interviewed on BBC Lincolnshire said how much he enjoyed it and how he was moved by the plight of some of the kids. Top marks to City and the manager for keeping on that tradition. Most of the children said they were already Imps fans and that was nice to hear.

Not a lot you can say about the weekend except that we all hope to have the Aldershot game on, so that's what I've written. It should be on line about 6 tomorrow.

Let's hope that if we get snow again we cope a good deal better because this country cannot afford to grind to a halt again.

Will they or won't they?

Will City be taking a shot at an away win

Well it's raining at the moment here in Boston but the question is , what will the weather be like come Saturday? The Imps desperately need to be playing to avoid a serious fixture pile up. It's bad enough at the moment but any more postponements and it will become farcical.

I'll be starting an article for Give me Football later in the hope that it will still be relevant when it's published on Friday evening.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Always nice to have comments in Give me football

Stewart McLuckie enjoyed the history lesson and Twitter demon Dean Burley made the perfectly correct observation that an agent was earning his 10% or whatever it is they earn. Quite right Dean and I'm just grateful for something to write about after all this bad weather.

Keep 'em coming.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Hone doesn't want to be the forgotten man

Imps defender impresses in the North east but now has to convince the manager.

In medieval times many castles and large houses had a sinister strongroom or cell called an Oublie, it's French for forgotten and it's where you went if you crossed the Lord of the Manor or started to become inconvenient politically. Needless to say there was no policy of early release for good behaviour because, as the name suggests once the door closed that was it.

Daniel Hone must have feared the worst when he broke in to the first team having graduated from Lincoln City's academy only for former manager Chris Sutton to farm him out to Darlington on loan. At least that was better than the fate of some young players who were paid off but he has been getting rave reviews from fans in Darlington who will be sad to see him return to Sincil Bank.

Despite City having a distinct shortage of centre halves an early return to the team cannot be assured. Manager Steve Tilson has been to watch his young defender but, whilst the boss will give the player his chance, was not overly impressed with his performance. Tilson told the Lincolnshire Echo:

"There's no question I would like to see him another couple of times before January, although I know his agent has been going around telling everyone how well he has done.

"Of course he will be going round saying he's this and he's that because Danny is his client.

"Danny will have to do better than when I saw him-but I accept that you can't judge him on one game and I'll need to watch hime again"

That sentiment is not shared by the Quakers hierarchy. Assistant Manager Richard Dryden said,

"We will sit down and talk to him"

"One way or another , whether he stays here or not he has had a great six months with us.

"If he does go back he needs to be in their 16, playing otherwise what's the point in him going back? He has done extremely well"

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Boston Lincolnshire

Poor old Boston, every survey they do, if it's about good things, they come bottom, if it's about bad things, they come top.
Here's some photograps from my lunch time walk so you can see there's plenty to recommend it.

City's Bank Frozen!

Let me see, Ceefax, Sky Sports,twitter
Anything I've forgotten?

Lack of action highlights need for cash

The way the weather looks at the moment your correspondent is considering more ways of describing the same old Arctic conditions and, even with a milder period forecast it is beginning to look as if this coming Saturdays fixture against Oxford United could be a doubt. Tuesdays FA Cup replay was a victim of the freeze and, even with several days to go the snow is so lingering and frost so established that another early pitch inspection could be on the cards giving rise to consideration of Lincoln City's financial situation, particularly if more home games are lost.

City's finances could hardly be described as parlous but, like most clubs in the lower reaches of the league they do rather lead a hand to mouth existence and, as previously touched upon in give me football have now announced a hefty loss again after a period of relative financial calm brought about by previous manager, the now sadly departed Keith Alexander, having engineered regular visits to the play offs and a gradual increase in the average gates to over five thousand. In League Two home gate revenue is all and, whilst the cup game would not have meant all of the gate receipts going to Lincoln the loss of the forthcoming league game would be a big blow.

One possible way of clearing City's debts might be the much touted sale of former Centre of Excellence product Scott Loach, now with Watford. Loach left Lincoln for just £35000 in 2006 but a 15% sell on clause could eliminate City's overdraft and even produce a surplus for manager Steve Tilson's war chest. With share sales at a twelve year low, gate receipts down and the club shop not chipping in as much as previously, chairman Bob Dorrian will be keeping an eye on the situation with Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool all reportedly interested in the player who has recently figured in Fabio Capello's plans. With a certain inevitability Manchester City are now said to be entering the fray.

Dorrian told the Lincolnshire Echo:

"The fans and myself will be monitoring what is going on with Scott because we have a vested interest in him as we have a sell-on clause."

"But we will only receive a percentage of the actual fee and not an overall package. So if he moves in a deal worth £5m but the upfront fee is £3m we will only receive 15% of that.

"But even that would earn us a serious amount of money which, given the last financial year would certainly wipe out the losses we incurred.

"It just makes you realise how important the Centre of Excellence is in producing these young players who end up being courted by big clubs.

"Obviously there is a lot of speculation about him in the media, but it won't be until January whether anything materialises or whether it was just gossip.

" Hopefully it won't be and he will move on for a big fee"

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Chris Hughton

Anyone else think Mike Ashley has taken leave of whatever sense he had? I do.

I look at the teams that have maintained success, Manchester United, Arsenal. more humbly Crewe, Lincoln under Keith Alexander. What is the common thread? Managerial consistency. Look at a club that were successful and lost it, Liverpool. They had the formula and threw it away. I put Lincoln forward although they were succesful they did not win anything but that is down to finance but the point is they had the same manager. Liverpool produced team after winning team through a succession of managers but they didn't chop and change they grew them if you like and then they started to chop and change they lost the formula and stopped winning the league.

What is Ashley trying to prove? Not that he's ambitious that's for sure, that he's the boss probably. I can't imagine the Toon Army being too pleased.

Oh well perhaps we'll see Chris Hughton at Sincil Bank in the future, to watch his son Cian. Not that he's in the team at the moment, it's not the Hughton families finest hour at the moment is it?

He'll be turning in
his grave

Hello blog readers

When I started a blog I didn't know whether anyone would look at it, in fact I didn't make it public until recently but now I've found out a bit about how to check these things I realise I have had some visitors so thanks and please do leave a comment.

I seem to be getting new followers on Twitter now, mainly from the football world but some writers too, I need lots more so if you're a visitor and you like my stuff, either here or on give me football, put a word in for me with your followers or readers.

I'm pleased to have followers who support teams other than Lincoln City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Bournemouth so welcome one and all.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Frozen Out Again

Lincoln's latest game falls victim to the weather.

Lincoln City lost their first home fixture of the winter when the FA Cup replay v Hereford, due to be played on Tuesday, was called off on Monday morning, to avoid inconveniencing Hereford United and their supporters and to save the cost of a wasted journey.

Little did this correspondent think he would be reporting on the weather quite so much but the amount of snow falling on the City has been unprecedented, it has been snowing on and off for a week and when the temperatures relented a little on Saturday and then dropped with a vengeance on Sunday and Monday it was clear, even to the uninitiated that there was no possibility of the stadium or the pitch being up to a match

Manager Steve Tilson was, presumably a relieved man as, whilst any manager wants to see his team play, it has not been possible to prepare properly or indeed do any work with the players other than in the gym and, as reported in give me football on Friday, the Imps do not run to a covered training facility. Furthermore there are no big clubs within begging distance and even if there were the roads have not been good in Lincolnshire and facilities will be required by their owners.

Despite the fact that the thermometer was showing -7C in Lincoln this morning and no likelyhood of a let up before Thursday the FA insisted on a qualified referee inspecting the pitch and local official Phil Joslin was asked to do the honours. He confirmed, as expected that the game was off.

Meanwhile Delroy Facey had concerns of an entirely different nature, he could not inspire Grenada to a win over Jamaica in the semi finals of the Caribbean Cup and saw his team lose 1-0 t0 Cuba in the play off to finish in fourth place. Facey played 71 minutes of that game and will now return to icy England. For the record Jamaica triumphed over Guadaloupe in the final, after penalties.

Better luck next time Del

Ice Ice Baby

Just sent in an article on the latest postponement, v Hereford. No surprise there, question is will we have a game this weekend, it should be Oxford.

Friday, 3 December 2010

As expected

No real surprise that Lincoln City's game v Cheltenham Town scheduled for Saturday has been postponed due to a frozen pitch.

Scene of many a disappointment

Ice Station Lincoln

Todays article for givemefootball

Footballers fall victim to the weather like everyone else.

As your correspondent sits in his snowbound study thoughts are of anything but football as unseasonably early snowfall grips the City and it's environs, buses were not running on Wednesday and with no trains out of Lincoln Central, it's difficult to see much of a football programme outside of the gilded stadia of the Premier League and those recently departed from it and therefore equipped with undersoil heating. Even then public areas have to be cleared and made safe and if the next game were a home fixture then it would be a good bet that it would not take place, however the Imps next fixture is away at Cheltenham so we must wait and see. The Robins were themselves the victims of the weather when their last home fixture against Southend United last Tuesday was called off.

Football league clubs were required to invest in their own pitch covers for this season much to their chagrin in many cases as the money to buy them had to be diverted from the playing budget, certainly in the case of Lincoln City. No amount of pitch covering could protect the ground from the sort of low temperatures experienced recently. Cheltenhams ground staff reported that temperatures locally had dropped to minus eight on Sunday night, well below the level at which covers are effective but having lost the Southend fixture will now concentrate their efforts on the Lincoln game. Temperatures in Cheltenham were forecast to remain low in the run up to the match although there is the possibility of beter weather towards the weekend.

The news from Lincoln City on Thursday was, well, there's no news. The usual press conference was abandoned. The Imps do not have the luxury of an indoor training facility and even if they did with players not always living locally travel is a problem so manager Steve Tilson put the welfare of his players first and cancelled training meaning those not based in and around Lincoln would not have to venture on to the roads. Cheltenham, for their part, in conjunction with the police promised a decision early on Friday as to whether the game will happen. Readers can check on and all the usual sources. In addition the Lincoln correspondents blog is now open for business on where fans can read current and past articles from give me football together with other musings on life as a Lincoln City fan and in general. News of the Cheltenham game will be posted on there as soon as it happens.

Lincoln fans will want to congratulate Delroy Facey, establishing himself as a bit of a cult hero with the City faithful, on surpassing Gareth McAuley's record of international appearances when the Grenadians qualified for the semi finals of the Digicel Carribean Cup in Martinique. Grenada will play favourites Jamaica on Friday and after that either the final or third place play off. Well done Delroy, come back safe and sound where a frosty welcome awaits you. This time though it's not the gaffer wanting to know where you've been!

Delroy, you can go but be back soon

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Russia will host the World Cup in 2018 and Quatar in 2022. What a stitch up. Don't think I'll ever see the WC in this country in my lifetime now. Last time is a very distant memory, I was 13.

Are we really that bad as a footballing nation that no one wants us? The last Euro Champs we held were a great success, it's highly unlikely that we would trouble their precious Spain Germany Italy and Brazil, we're passionate about the game isn't that enough?
It's all his fault

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


I got out of the habit of updating the blog and in fact never went public with it but something went wrong with give me football last Friday and although the publishers assure me that my build up article for the FA Cup tie against Hereford did go on line on the Friday I didn't see it and I know others didn't see it either but strangely some people did as they had put facebook "likes" on it. I made up my mind then that I would restart the blog and start to publish the address so that people could still have a look even if the article was late or failed to appear. I'm hoping that people will get in the habit of visiting the blog and making comments on it and we can get a bit of dialogue going on it

I did a lot of soul searching after the last article failed to appear, even to the point of thinking I would pack up writing for give me football but I don't want to do that at all. I had an exchange of e mails with the sub editor and that was very encouraging. I was described as one of their best and most reliable writers, which bucked me up no end. The reliable bit refers to a habit some of the other gmf writers have of criticizing players. This is the PFA and that sort of thing is strictly forbidden. You'd think they would know that they are not writing for a fanzine.

It's the Wednesday before the Cheltenham match and I would be extremely surprised if this one went ahead. I usually start a Friday build up on a Wednesday but I feel a bit like Cliff Richard at Wimbledon, nothing much to say and plenty of time to do it. I'm at home although this isn't a snow day I dont think I would have been able to make it to work in Boston. As it happens I was due to go Christmas shopping with my daughter but there are no trains to Nottingham today.
So here we go with the relaunch. I've left the old stuff on, have a look if you like and from now on I'll put all the give me football articles on in their original form, certainly the headline will be different as they always alter that.