Andrew Abbott's Blog

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Back to black

Back from holidays now and no respite from the doom and gloom from Sincil Bank. At least my first article for vitals went to number one on the news now web site.

Pride of Lincolnshire?

I’ve always had this notion that our football club should have a special place in the hearts of the population and I’m just back from an area which, more than any encapsulates that vision. That area is Catalonia in Spain, to many Catalans a nation in its own right and of course Catalonia’s team is Barcelona. Everywhere you go there are Barca flags and shirts and the bars are full when they play.

Catalonia was repressed under Franco, the Catalan language was banned but the people united behind the team. Now free there is a real pride in Barca and the rivalry with Real Madrid is fierce and unrelenting. Here in Lincolnshire we’re hardly repressed, the powers that be would need to know we’re here to repress us but it does seem there is a certain loss of identity. City are never going to become another Barcelona but, rather closer to home Norwich City seem to engender the same local affection in Norfolk, not entirely dissimilar to Lincolnshire and Norwich is not entirely dissimilar to Lincoln albeit somewhat bigger.

Our neighbours from the north, never backward in coming forward, seem to have colonised the north of the county to judge by the accents. The Lincolnshire dialect is never heard so where better to underline our unique character than our football team? Oh dear! Another loss last night and we are back in the relegation zone. Any notion that we may be a bit down on our luck financially but at least we have our football club is frankly laughable. Can you imagine Uncle Bob on the pitch at half time berating the crowd like the, admittedly slightly worse for wear Delia? Are you proud to wear your shirt around the county or even the city? Thought not.

When City were relegated there was a hope that at least the club would be able to regroup and compete at the lower level. Those hopes were swiftly rebuffed by comments made by the club and of course by the team’s performance. We are told that the club cannot afford to put up for the night on a long away visit, not that many teams would stay over for a midweek match but it’s not very inspiring. Neither is what Steve Tilson told the press after the Barrow defeat;

“They were better than us and I don’t know why”

Club finances will not be helped by this Saturday’s gate which the club no doubt hope will top the psychological 2000 barrier. Not long ago the stadium rocked to 5000 plus attendances. Our gates are now nowhere near what the other supposedly big sides are getting as the supporters vote with their feet. A further relegation, once unthinkable now looks a very real possibility. Before I am accused of undue negativity I am feeling negative and I’m looking for someone, anyone to drag me out of it. I can’t think who that person may be but I’m willing to be surprised.

Rant over. For now.

Ps. Saturday 1st October is Lincolnshire Day. Huh!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

One year later

Feeling a bit down about all things Lincoln City I decided to have a punt at seeing how the good readers of Vitals saw things. It produced one or two interesting responses from fellow sufferers.

About a year ago, writing for a different web site I was taken to task by a reader for suggesting that Lincoln City fans could be forgiven for getting in a panic over the lowly league position Lincoln City found themselves in. I explained, as it was a football web site not just the Imps, that City were the first League club relegated from the bottom division automatically and that although the club gained promotion from the then G M Vauxhall Conference at the first time of asking such an outcome could not necessarily be expected if this terror should revisit us again.

My correspondent stated that I didn’t know what I was talking about, that we should all pull together and dismiss all talk of panic, unite behind our manager, Chris Sutton, and all would be well. I took no satisfaction in being closer to reality than the person who wrote in. I hadn’t said in fact that City fans were in a panic, I had said they could be forgiven if they were. Within two weeks Sutton was gone and we all know what happened next. One year later we find ourselves in the bottom four of the division, unable to win at home and beaten by a team that most Imps had not even thought of in our orbit let alone better than us. Is it time for a bit of panic now?

Ironically, my last game, and it will have been a lot of Imps last game was the home fixture against Stockport, a performance, let’s not forget where the vast majority of supporters thought the team unlucky not to win, the Imps were afforded, on leaving the pitch, if not a standing ovation a very generous round of applause and the after match opinion seemed to be that it was surely only a matter of time before the Imps were, once again upwardly mobile. Two defeats later, after, by all accounts a very poor showing against Darlington, let’s face it hardly a happy hunting ground for City and a one nil defeat at Braintree of all places and City fans are once again waking up in a sweat at the possibility of fixtures against Boston and Gainsborough, enticing though that possibility may be, but in a manner none of us had contemplated in our worst nightmares.

Judging by the comments made in the media and on the web, supporters remain far from convinced by the leadership shown by the board of directors, albeit they handsomely saw off a vote of no confidence. Likewise the team management where fans expect to see some tactical nouse and an ability to turn unfavourable situations around but it doesn’t seem to be happening much for us and we have a squad that is already looking threadbare and we’re hardly into September. I’ve saved the best, or should it be worst till last and that is the defence. I’ve used this analogy before but I’ll use it again because I liked it, a defence that shows all the resolve of butter when faced with a hot knife.

So is it panic or patience, another new man coming in, the budget all spent and it was all the other blokes’ fault (it’s fair to say we’re all getting fed up of that one) or steady as she goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The chairman was in the Lincolnshire Echo this morning with the dreaded vote of confidence. So is it twist or stick?