Do you remember the days when every game at Sincil Bank was an important one? You got used to the pressure, lapped it up in fact. City didn’t always win, a particular trait of Keith Alexander’s teams, win away, draw at home but the worst that could happen is the Imps would slip to mid table and out of the playoff places. Now, every game is an important one and for all the wrong reasons as City peer into an abyss that truly none of us have any experience of.
Joe Anyon, speaking to the press at the weekly get together revealed that a full and frank exchange of views took place after the Mansfield defeat. The problem is that with every new low many supporters simply give up on the club, for the moment at least and it will be interesting to see how many turn up on Saturday to see the team take on Alfreton, one of the few teams with a better view of the pit than us.
Our esteemed Lincolnshire Echo writer, Leigh Curtis urges fans to get behind the manager and that is the only right and proper advice to give but it’s with a very uncertain heart that we do when any improvement in the teams fortunes is so slight. David Holdsworth’s reaction to the current malaise? Sign some more players. Every successful manager’s mantra seems to this untutored eye, find your best team. Stick to it and play a settled side. Clearly we are not to have that luxury as City restlessly thrash about looking for salvation.
Anyway, to business and Alfreton, below the Imps in the table so an easy victory right? Well, if we thought that before we were swiftly disabused of that notion as the boys from Derbyshire dumped City out of the FA Cup when most of us were expecting progress in that competition. That was the game, you may recall, when Joe Anyon was sent off and it took him some time to get back into the side subsequently:-
"The first game in the FA Cup brings back horrible memories for me," said the stopper
"People have said their lad got me sent off, but it's a long season and what goes around often comes around.
"I feel as if I have a point to prove to them and nothing would give me greater pleasure then walking off that pitch at 5pm with a smile on my face.
"That way we know we will have beaten them which will not only be good for the team but for me as well because of what happened.
"It's a big game for both of the teams, but we will be ready."
Anyon persisted with the “big club” epithet that is starting to irk some fans who point out that it doesn’t seem that way to them:-
"You need 11 captains out there because it's no good just having three or four out there, we all need to be at it and really should be a given," he said.
"This is a really important period for us especially with the run of games coming up because we play a lot of the teams who are around us.
"People are already saying that we are going to be involved in another relegation scrap and we don't want that.
"This is Lincoln City and we are a big club and it's down to myself and the players to make sure the fans don't go through what they did last season.
"If that means throwing yourself into the way of shots and getting hurt for the cause then that's what you have got to do.
"At the end of the day if it stops a goal then you have done the job. I want to be talking about clean sheets, not about soft goals we have conceded.
"It's not just the defence, it's the whole team. We have a responsibility to the football club, the fans and ourselves.
"I know for a fact if somebody had thrown themselves in front of the shot which led to Mansfield's second goal, then it wouldn't have gone in.
"If it means getting a kick, a cut or a massive bruise then you have to live with it. If you can't then you should find a different sport to play.”
At the risk of labouring the point this is professional football, a spectator sport and as far as the fans are concerned many of them will be finding a different sport to watch or, perish the thought, a different team. That truly would be a very regrettable outcome.