Andrew Abbott's Blog

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The quiet life.

No news is, well a sign that nothing much is doing down at Sincil Bank although Steve Prescott is manfully churning out the stories for whilst everyone else takes a well earned break. It is summer after all.

Actually Steve is churning, that really is the word, the same stories ie, buy a season ticket, help the club. There is also the raffle where those uninterested in naming the stadium can pay their £50 and leave it the same. Bet you didn’t think of that.

Prescott reveals that season ticket sales are very encouraging, well he would say that and up a little on last year. That is a surprise, to me anyway but it has to be said that there was a flurry of activity after the last game of the season and would be buyers can see the nucleus of the team taking shape. People will always buy into something they can see and will be reluctant to pay up when they have no idea what they’re getting. The Millennium Dome springs to mind so well done to David Holdsworth and the club for giving us something to pin our hopes on.

Word has it that already the budget has been stretched rather more than the club hierarchy might have intended but to counterbalance that the manager has been relatively modest in his own demands, no idea whether there is anything to that theory but if it is then a little excitement and progress next season surely would see the gaffer finding his way a bit more into our hearts. So much of what David Holdsworth is doing is the way the fans want to see the club heading but, and it is a terrible old cliché, but it’s a results business and they really need to be achieving some wins. Holdsworth doesn’t need me to tell him that. Having said that the vast majority of fans decidedly do not want to see the club searching for yet another manager early in the season, whatever they may think of the present one.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Could blue plus red mean a purple patch?

At one time the signing of a player from Gainsborough Trinity would have produced a fair few groans from under-whelmed fans but the Blues were within an ace of joining the Imps in the premier league so the capture of one of their up and coming young players should be regarded as something of a coup perhaps?

We all know what the problems with the team are and they have been the same for some time so the signing of a centre half has to be viewed as a good thing. My colleagues in Boston tell me that the rough and tumble in the Blue Square North has to be seen to be believed sometimes so Andrew Boyce our new defender will hopefully be quite used to dealing with similar tactics in the league above.

We’re not used to the squad coming together quite so early and it’s certainly got a bit of shape to it now so hopefully a little bit of optimism might be allowed whilst always accepting that this is a marathon we’re competing in, not a sprint. York City have shown that patience is required and that, together with a certain midfielder who should never have been allowed to leave Lincoln in the first place, have paid off for the Minstermen and there is really no reason, given time, why Lincoln City should not regain league status too.

Lincolnshire this week.

It’s a case of as you were in Lincolnshire this week with Lincolnshire Police once again in the spotlight this time over a new custody suite at the Nettleham headquarters. The police want to close their West Parade station which is too large and, they say, not fit for pupose. They would like a smaller city centre presence and to build cells at Nettleham. A meeting was held at Nettleham village hall which had been requisitioned by the Parish Council for their regular meeting as their usual venue would not hold the amount of residents who were expected. Sure enough around 100 villagers turned out anxious at the prospect of released lags trampling all over their well manicured lawns.

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes said: "This is not a done deal, but further development on our headquarters site is a strong option."

"We've got a tired old police station at Lincoln which needs replacement and we've also had almost 20% of our budget - in one of the leanest police forces in the country - slashed recently.

"Quite frankly we have to build a new police station. It has to be built somewhere."

Lincolns High Street level crossing is also still in the news as Network Rail is to hold consultation sessions about proposals to alleviate the delays caused by ever increasing traffic on the rails. The consultation will be at St Marks and the Waterside centre, appropriately enough as the two nearby sites are frequently many minutes apart given the amount of time the barriers are down. It’s no secret Network Rail would like to see the crossing closed altogether although a bridge or underpass for traffic as well as pedestrians is nigh on impossible, so we are told. The authority have helpfully released a picture of a pedestrian making a run for it as the barriers are coming down to underline their point.

Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: "We regularly see people rushing across the level crossings at Lincoln High Street and Brayford Wharf once the warnings have started.

"We even have instances of people lifting the barriers. Clearly this behaviour is highly reckless and dangerous."

A trustee at the troubled school group, Priory Academy has paid the price for perceived failings of supervision at the educational giant. Christine Talbot, who represented Lincolnshire County Council on the board, resigned as a trustee, saying: "We've all failed.

"The trustees have to recognise that they've failed - they have to come to terms with that and look at their own consciences as to whether they should resign."

The trust chairman expressed regret that Mrs Talbot had resigned, Terry Coffey said: "This action plan will deliver best practice across the trust and allow the public to see how their money is being spent.

"The federation did make mistakes in the past and we again apologise unreservedly for that."

Lincoln Lady Imps defender Casey Stoney has been made England football captain for the forthcoming fixture against the Netherlands on 17 June. She said:-

"It's an absolute honour, the biggest privilege I've ever been given,

"At the time I was actually thinking of giving up on international football. I'm so glad I stuck with it."

Stoney replaces Arsenal’s Faye White who has retired from international duty.

The battle for recognition for the Lincolnshire sausage has not ended yet, according to local band the Ruffs. The Lincolnshire Sausage Association is considering an appeal and the Ruffs have come up with a protest song to express their outrage at vested interests being preferred to local ones. Suppose we ought to be used to it by now.

That’s it for now, a lighter breakfast in preference to the full English by the look of the weekend weather, just this once. Have a good one.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Holdsworth in “I’m going to change my ways” shocker.

David Holdsworth, master of the Keith Alexander theory, if he’s not doing the business I’ll sign another one told BBC Sport:-

"I can't put a finger on when we'll be settled, but the sooner the better for me,"

"That gives me a chance to work with a settled squad - hopefully we can achieve that.

"At the moment things are progressing nicely. I'm pleased with where we are but there are still things slightly up in the air."

The sooner the better eh David? Might remind you of that sometime in the future.

One position that hopefully will be settled is goal keeper and I would imagine most of you will have seen that Paul Farman has returned to City. I wouldn’t have thought there would have been too many objections to that.

We can’t compete with Lincoln City’s budget.

In today’s Nuneaton News, Boro’s manager Kevin Wilkins is bemoaning the fact that Gary Mills has preferred the Imps to staying with Nuneaton and the reason is financial. Wilkins told the News:-

“It’s a blow to lose Gary. You work hard to sign good players and when you have them you want them to stay.

“I’m disappointed but that’s what we are up against. We couldn’t get anywhere near what Lincoln were offering money wise. This isn’t the first time it’s happened already.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of players and found the figures they are after doesn’t fit into what we can do at all.

“I understand why Gary left and we wish him well. He was a key player for us.

“He suffered an injury when he signed, but when he got fit again we saw what a good player he is. Gary understands the game and he is experienced at Conference level.

“What we have to do now is keep working hard to strengthen the squad.”

Well that makes a nice change, City finally emerging from the gloom that  most of the pronouncements coming from Sincil Bank engender to sign a player his club wanted to keep. The lure of full time football also helped. Mills told the News yesterday:-

"I made friends for life at Nuneaton. We went through so much in a short time.

"I couldn't resist the chance to go full-time again. The fans have been brilliant and I hope they understand why I've left."

Hopefully their loss will be City’s gain.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Westwood is in da house!

Ashley Westwood has wasted no time getting in to the David Holdsworth groove. Speaking to the defender said that mental toughness as well as physical ability will be the key to success next season. Straight out of the Holdsworth manual.

I can’t help but think of John Beck when hear the managers pronouncements. Sadly no evidence yet of the rise up the league that the much maligned former boss produced but he talks a good game.

Westwood gives an interesting insight of what sounds a fairly bleak time at Kettering. I’ll leave you to read the article for yourself. Read too Holdsworths initial thoughts on the forthcoming season. As always it’s purposeful and well thought out. Just got to get those players putting those fine words into deeds David. Winning ones preferably.

On the subject of next season some friendlies have been announced. By far the most mouth-watering is Leicester City. They visit just before the season opens in a reminder of the sort of fixture that used to be run of the mill at Sincil Bank or the Sigmund Freud Arena, whatever it will be called next season.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Roll up roll up for the mystery tour.

Were we waiting for manager David Holdsworth to sign on the dotted line or was that just a coincidence? Either way there has been a flurry of activity today as Peter Bore signed up for another year. Perhaps now we will be able to see what the former Grimsby Town utility player is about having had the benefit, if that’s the word, of pre season training with the Imps.

Three new players have joined the merry men, Ashley Westwood and, later in the day, Gary Mills, both on one year deals which is expected to be the norm for the Imps henceforth. That activity was followed by the news that Rob Duffy became the third signing of the day, also on a season long contract. The manager too has just one year to prove his worth. Lincoln City followers will be hoping for much more from our eloquent manager and the aim must be to give some promise of better times to come although there has been a complete absence of the “P” word from the faithful as well there might given the success starved last few seasons.

Westwood, at 35 and vastly experienced, that experience extends to management too, must have been recruited with one eye on helping out with the coaching side at the club with the manager operating without the benefit of a formally contracted assistant last season. Westwood finished last season as caretaker manager at Kettering Town last season and at his age will be looking to a future away from playing before too long and referred to the players UEFA A Coaching badge, hint hint.

Finally for the moment Paul Robson has also renewed for next season so the squad is starting to take shape even at this early stage.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Imps latest signing.

Those who were wondering if no news might mean a change in managerial direction for Lincoln City now know that David Holdsworth has signed a one year contract.

Ever the master of the soundbite, Holdsworth said:-

“Since the season stopped, I’ve not stopped in terms of meeting players who need to be the right type with the right mental approach.

I won’t have a huge squad as we won’t be able to afford one but what we will have is that mental approach and hard work on the training pitch.

It’s going to be a tough season but we need to be ready for that. I’m optimistic as always and whilst we won’t be able to compete with some clubs in terms of finances , we’ll certainly have a big heartbeat.

We’ll do everything we can to achieve as much as possible.”

Personally I’m getting more than a bit fed up of hearing City have no money, they would if they started winning games but I wish David Holdsworth all the best for the forthcoming season.

Lincolnshire this week.

In yet another example of government lack of interest in the food county, DEFRA have announced that they will not be supporting Lincolnshire’s bid to have protected status for our superior sausage. The reasons being, well basically so everyone else can make money at our expense by manufacturing inferior copies of the famous yellowbelly delicacy. Displaying a marked lack of research Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice said: "British food is outstanding and we're working hard to protect the local heritage of certain foods through PGI status.

"But with so many variations on the recipe, and 95% of sausages sold under the Lincolnshire Sausage label being made outside the county, the application as it stood could have seriously damaged businesses and jobs," he said.

"We remain open to looking at other options which would allow producers in Lincolnshire to highlight the traditional and local nature of their sausages, without potentially damaging the overwhelming majority of manufacturers."

Eagle eyed Lincolnshire Echo snappers have published photographs taken at Lincoln Castle showing that scenes for the forthcoming series of Downton Abbey have been shot in the county. Celeb spotters have also spied actors from the tale of toffs, snobs and servants emerging from a Lincoln hotel so we can look forward to the next instalment with even more relish than usual whilst seeing if we can identify local landmarks.

BBC Lincolnshire is on the road all week in an ambitious week long outside broadcast. All the presenters have packed their bags and headed for destinations well away from the studios in Lincoln to bring a real local flavour to the regular programmes with broadcasts from venues as diverse as Mablethorpe, Market Rasen, Stamford and Woodhall Spa. As Peter Levy from local regional TV is also a BBC Lincolnshire presenter, magazine show Look North also hit the road and was presented from Boston on Thursday, from the towns Assembly Rooms.

Talking of Boston the town is in the news this week as it has been revealed that remote sensors have been installed in the tidal river section to detect changes below ground which may have a bearing on the way the flood defences perform. The research is being carried out in very few sites throughout the world. The project is a European Commission venture. Andy Tagg, from specialist consultancy HR Wallingford, which is involved in the project, said: "If you take the UK we have thousands of kilometres of flood defences but very few, if any, have got any remote sensors in them.

"At the moment people have to carry out visual inspections or they have to carry out specific surveys."

In fact Boston is the only such testing zone in the UK and is apparently almost uniquely suitable as the town is supposedly the highest flood risk in the whole of England and Wales. This will come as a surprise to the many communities who have been flooded whilst Boston remained dry.

Home secretary Theresa May had a rough ride at the hands of the boys in blue this week at the Police Federation conference and one of the reasons was Lincolnshire Police’s £200 million tie up with G4S. The government asked lawyer Tom Winsor to report on the deal which will see a private company, for the first time in this country collaborate with the police in the carrying out of their duties. What’s wrong with that I hear you say? Well Tom Winsor’s firm, White & Case also advise G4S. Delegate Sarah Adams asked the Home Secretary:-

"When you appointed Tom Winsor to carry out your independent review of policy, did you know that the law firm Tom Winsor is part of, White & Case, which was negotiating the multi-million groundbreaking deal for G4S with Lincolnshire Police?

"How can it be fair and independent if there's a vested interest?"

Mrs May was typically forthright in her response:-

"Tom Winsor did his review entirely independently. He did not do that review as part of the firm - he did it as an individual.

"You might not like all the answers that came out of the Winsor Review but there is a process whereby the federation's voice will be heard in response to these proposals."

Network Rail is seeking people’s views on the vexed subject of Lincolns level crossing. Hope they’re ready to put plenty of bodies in place for the expected deluge.

Network Rail spokesman Rachel Lowe said: "We recognise it is important to give people in Lincoln the opportunity to see what we are doing, to comment on it and to influence its development.

Time to close the gate on another week in Lincolnshire. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Every little, or indeed a lot helps.

The latest wheeze from Lincoln City is the opportunity to take part in a raffle, ticket price only £50, to have a say in the future of Sincil Bank by renaming it. Well, it’s good enough for Newcastle and just like with the Toon the idea has been almost universally condemned by fans, at least those fans who have voiced their views on Twitter.

Supporters are of the opinion that, well it’s a daft idea and in any event how many Lincoln City fans have fifty sovs to spare and how many companies for that matter? The club express the hope that £50000 may be raised which will be put straight in to the playing budget. Even my elementary maths means that 1000 tickets would need to be sold which does seem unlikely.

This, slightly desperate sounding initiative although I suppose we should be praising the club for trying is set against our nearest and not necessarily dearest, Grimsby Town who according to the Grimsby Telegraph will have a “strong budget” for next season. The Telegraph reports that the search for new players will soon gather pace. Mariners major shareholder John Fenty told the paper:-

"The managers have put proposals to us that involve a squad of 22 professional players – and we tend to subscribe to that.

"There will be chopping and changing but the managers have some fresh ideas and I am very optimistic. The managers have a had a full year in this division now and they know the level and the players very well. They are hard-working and relentless in the pursuit of new players. I take my hat off to them for that. They have been going to game after game looking at potential targets."

“The budget for players is comparable to previous years and that the club is well equipped to mount a serious and sustained assault on the top spots."

No mention of a raffle? No ambition obviously!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Putting a brave face on matters.

In yesterdays new improved, keep the fans informed, instalment the heading was “season ticket sales going well” with a picture of supporter Mark Crookes receiving his season ticket. He’s the first to renew for next season.

Sales we are told are er, well, numerous other fans have now renewed. Numerous? Read into that what you will.

The remainder of the article is a re hash of the one that has been up for some time, loyal and dedicated fans, various benefits etc etc.

Still, lets not get too down hearted, shouldn’t complain about being kept informed, it’s what we asked for after all.

Other than that there’s a nice picture of a stagecoach bus today with a reminder that season ticket holders get free bus travel to and from the game, a valuable extra. Just wish there were a few more buses southbound after an evening game to get more people out of the car and into the bus. I got a bit fed up of waiting in the cold the last time I tried it. Stagecoach provided travel worth around £3000 last season so clearly plenty of Imps took advantage of the service.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Communication is the key.

Lincoln City Football Club have published the second Boardroom Blog on, demonstrating a continued commitment to a more open administration.

In today’s exciting edition we learn of the discussions around contract renewals and the flat refusal of the club to enter into negotiations with players who have made outrageous wage demands.

A Bradford City style season ticket reduction was discussed and rejected on the grounds of the economic situation and the likelihood that the initiative wouldn’t produce anything like the required boost in take up. Recognition also that the team had performed poorly for most of the season.

The “your chance” fundraising is given an airing and there’s details of the new look Birthday Lotto.

All this and much more on

Friday, 11 May 2012

Latest developments – no surprises there then.

Nicky Nicolau and Jake Sheriden have signed contracts that will take them to the end of the 2012/13 season. Despite the less than inspiring play last term David Holdsworth is sticking with most of the players he has rather than a wholesale clearout. It seems the departures have been for financial reasons.

Definitely not part of the vision for the future, Kyle Perry has departed the club by mutual arrangement. No doubt to reappear somewhere or other fired up and full of goals mostly against City. In fact not only was Perry’s best game against the Imps his only goal for loan club Telford United was the one he got against City at Sincil Bank.

I never felt more like singing the Blues.

In a remarkable turnaround Gainsborough Trinity have gone from zero’s to heroes in the space of a season. The underperforming, given the investment from chairman Peter Swann, under manager Brian Little has been turned into play off fever as the town embraces success under replacement Steve Howsham.

Today the Blues stand facing destiny. In a scene reminiscent of Lincoln City’s own venture in the play offs the papers are showing views of Trinity fans queuing for tickets for Sundays make or break game and Blues fans have finally shaken off the “taxi for Gainsborough” jibes emanating from some quarters. They have sold all their allocation of tickets and any returned by Nuneaton are bound to be snapped up too.

For the semi final game many Imps were present but this time it will be a strictly local affair as the game is all ticket and, highlighting Gainsborough’s limited infrastructure, it’s not possible to order tickets over the phone as the club do not have the facility to accept card payments. Should Trinity win, and gain a place in the Premier Division, all that will have to change. As it is there are many Blues fans disappointed as they live away and are unable to get into town for a ticket. For them at least, now that BBC Lincolnshire is affording them top billing the radio station will feature a live commentary of the game which presumably will be available on the internet.

As to neighbourly relations, I’ve yet to meet an Imp who does not wish Gainsborough Trinity well in their quest so, just this once it’s “come on you Blues” from an Imp. Give it your best shot. The way things have been going, that could well be enough.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Lincolnshire this week.

Butlins have announced a £13 million investment of its Skegness holiday centre. The money will be spent on the 25 year old water complex. The feature which used to have a state of the art glass side so you could drink your milky nescafe watching the swimmers legs thrash about many moons ago will now boast new slides, lazy river and wave and whirl pools and a 29 metre flume tower. The park employs around 1200 people and is determined to stay up with the latest leisure developments. Resort director Chris Baron said:-

"It's probably our biggest single investment on the Lincolnshire coast since we put the Skyline [pavilion] in, in 1999.

"Any businesses investing in the coastal strip is a good sign. It shows it is still vibrant."

Gainsborough Trinity have exceeded expectations in reaching the Blue Square Bet North play off final according to their chairman Peter Swann:-

"We have surprised ourselves and everybody else.

"The plans were to perhaps flirt with the play-offs and probably not get to this stage."

The club will make the most of the opportunity, according to the chairman:-

"We will try to take this chance on Sunday and I will not moan about it."

The club are hoping for a bumper crowd of around 3500, no doubt boosted by Lincoln City fans who were well represented at the semi-finals. Imps supporters are very keen to lock horns with the Blues next season and would welcome Gainsborough’s elevation to the Premier Division.

Hollywood director Ron Howard is in the county once again filming his latest venture, Rush, a tale of rivalry in the motor racing world between urbane James Hunt and Nikki Lauder. The former Happy Days star, he must be fed up of hearing that, not that this blog will trouble him, is at Cadwell Park which is doubling for more famous F1 circuits. Local business owners are hoping for a spin off, if you’ll forgive the pun, from the film. Gerald Parkes, owner of the Playhouse Cinema in Louth is looking forward to showing a film which has a local connection.

He said: "American films which are perceived as British often do get the biggest audiences.

"This will be my third film with a local connection over the years. “

Ambitious plans to solve the anachronism that is the High Street level crossing in Lincoln have been put forward by a group of investors represented by Hodgson Elkington. Moves are already afoot to build a new link road extending Tentercroft Street which could lead to the closure and pedestrianisation of a further part of High Street and the new bid would see the British Heart Foundation building, formerly Argos, demolished and replaced with a new unit which would straddle the railway line and feature escalators and a lift to allow pedestrians over the line. There is some disagreement over the level crossing though with the general feeling that the crossing has had its day and it is really time to close off the road, hence the new link and the County Council who would prefer the crossing to remain. Sam Elkington is due to meet Network Rail in a bid to move the project forward said:-

“We need a 21st century solution to a 21st century problem. People want to make the most direct route, which this will provide. We’re very enthusiastic that something will get done and I think this is an opportune time to go ahead with it,” he said.

“At the moment there is some momentum moving it forward. This is the first step. When you look at the university, St Marks and Lindongate, this is the central area for all of this.

‘We need a 21st century solution to a 21st century problem’

“Network Rail is excited by the idea as it decreases accident risk, noise and pollution. It will help Lincoln to meet the challenges of this century.”

A 21st solution to the problem would seem to me not to include a 19th century road arrangement but there you go, at least something seems to be on the horizon one way or another.

It’s time to raise the barriers for another week, not that there are many trains using the line at the moment, have a good week.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The season of the year.

The Lincolnshire Poacher of course but Lincoln City will be hoping not too many of us will be sneaking into Sincil Bank under the fence next season and instead will renew or better still make a first time purchase of a season ticket. There are advantages and inducements to do so. As the club point out, introduce enough buyers and you could get yours for free with the cash back arrangement. Let’s not get carried away though, it’s going to be a tough ask if my conversations with existing season ticket holders are anything to go by.

The new spirit of togetherness is apparent once again on with an article headed “Just One Way To Help” in stark contrast to the take it or leave it attitude that has blighted relations all too often in the past. Still, better late than never and hopefully fans will embrace the new entente cordiale in the spirit in which it is offered.

Player wise there’s nothing to report as far as I can see after that news on Saturday which did rather creep in under the radar what with the cup final distracting attention. Was it a good day to bury bad news or is that my fertile imagination running away with me? Perhaps it’s not even bad news, certainly I believed Joe Anyon would have been on his way some time ago charged with the crime of earning too much. It can’t be he is leaving because of performances as he has been excellent latterly.

Quite what memories Anyon will have of his time at Lincoln one does wonder. He seems to encapsulate City’s woes. Arrival to something of a fanfare following a very competent keeper who himself had to endure a rocky start, Rob Burch. There followed a desperate spell when City were prepared to put virtually anyone between the sticks rather than him, a management decision which in my opinion, along with the ostracising of Scott Kerr lead directly to the Imps relegation. He then seemed to be viewed with suspicion by the present manager but eventually became ever present more as a result of finances than anything else only to be voted player of the year in, again my own opinion, a very one sided contest. Goodbye and good luck Joe. I expect to see him wash up not a million miles from Lincoln.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

You’re not a keeper, Anyon.

Lincoln City’s website announced on Saturday that player of the season Joe Anyon is amongst those to be shown the door this close season with the club hinting heavily that wage demands are the root cause of the decision.

Jean-Francoise Christophe, Andy Hutchinson Danny Hone, Jefferson Louis, Richard Paquette, Nialle Rodney, Simon Russell, Tony Sinclair, Karlton Watson and James Wilson have also been pointed towards the exit sign. Mark McCammon has returned to Sheffield FC and Robbie Williams will no longer entertain us.

In a telling statement reveals:-

“Some players however need a reality check as we are still receiving wage demands that are frankly quite amazing!”

As ever, never a dull moment with City but quite clearly the club are no longer willing to be pushed about and player power is a thing of the past. We await further pronouncements with bated breath.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Rumour and counter rumour.

Don’t you just love this time when speculation is rife and reality is often the total opposite?

I mentioned my interest in the Kyle Perry situation yesterday and note that elsewhere in the blogosphere the striker is said to be set to return to Telford with Robbie Williams retracing his steps back to Sincil Bank. That would make sense. Certainly Perry seemed to be a popular figure with the Bucks fans as opposed to Perry’s own fans ie us. Similarly Williams has made an impression with the Imps and many would see his return as an advantage. Presumably these loans weren’t entirely made by coincidence and in these cash strapped days a try before you buy approach would avoid ending up with a pig in a poke so to speak.

AFC Telford’s website merely state that Perry will be returning to City but that Williams has been released. In the meantime no reason not to let our fevered imaginations run riot a bit is there?

Lincolnshire this week.

Lincoln went to the polls this week with a third of the seats on Lincoln City Council up for grabs. The council currently comprises 17 Labour seats, 14 Conservative, 1 Liberal Democrat and 1 Independent.

The county has been affected by a strike by members of the Aslef Union which has brought a large part of the rail network to a virtual standstill. The drivers, employed by East Midlands Trains are in dispute over pension payments. The company want to reduce the amount the employees pay into the pension fund. Why is that a problem? The amount the company pays goes down too. A spokesman for East Midlands Trains. Ian Smith told BBC Lincolnshire:-

"We delivered a good service for our passengers on 1 May despite the Aslef industrial action, and managed to run even more services than we had previously advertised.

"In total, we ran over 100 train services and more than 200 replacement bus services."

Typhoon jets from Lincolnshire have made the short (for them) hop to RAF Northolt in preparation for the Olympics this summer. The pilots will experience a totally different environment when they are based in London, to the relative calm of the skies over Lincs and the eight days training is to get them acclimatized.

Eight Lincolnshire beaches have been acclaimed in the latest Good Beach Guide. Skegness, Ingoldmells South, Chapel St Leonards, Anderby, Moggs Eye, Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe Town and Cleethorpes have all been included in the guide published by the Marine Conservation Society putting the county in the top ten most recommended for quality beaches. East Lindsey District Councillor Craig Leyland, said: “Our wonderful beaches are a really important part of the visitor offer in Lincolnshire and it great news that they’ve once again made the Good Beach Guide for the cleanliness of the sea water.

“We are proud of this success and must continue to develop the offer along the coastal strip and inland to ensure that when visitors come they have access to great facilities and attractions and ensure that they want to come again time and time again.

"A quality holiday experience is vital in supporting our tourism economy and this is another acknowledgment that our offer is one of the best.”

Nottingham Forest owner Nigel Doughty who died recently left an estate of more than £194 million . The Lincolnshire father of four was found collapsed at his home in Skillington.

Bostons twice weekly market will move to Pump Square to make way for the May Fair before it moves back to the revamped Market Place following a £2 million revamp. The popular twice weekly market is planning a special celebration to mark its return home. Portfolio holder for markets Councillor Derek Richmond told the BostonTarget: "The council does not have a commitment to hold markets during the May Fair and some stall holders welcome the break.

"In past years we have made special arrangements to accommodate those who still want to stand and this year is no exception. In fact, I gave the traders the choice of two sites, one being Custom House Quay and the other Pump Square.

"The traders actually chose Pump Square where there will be approximately 20 stalls each day.

"This council is always willing whenever possible to assist those who wish to do business in Boston and a satisfactory arrangement has again been made to help with that during this year's May Fair."

A Lincoln author has written to the Pope to ask him to canonize Robert Grosseteste the 13th century Bishop of Lincoln. Dr Jack Cunningham, a theology lecturer at the Bishop Grosseteste University College reckons the Bishop should have been made a saint but political shenanigans damaged his reputation and he was never accorded the honour. Dr Cunningham’s book – Robert Grosseteste: His Thought and Its Impact – will be launched on Saturday as part of the college's One Big Reunion event. The author aims to use the event to rally support for his cause.

“It’s a really interesting story, and it’s a mystery why this influential mediaeval thinker was never made a saint,” Dr Cunningham explains.

“The story goes that after his death he appeared as a ghost to Pope Innocent IV and hit him in the side with his bishop’s staff as punishment for the pontiff’s waywardness and corruption.

“In fact this is a legend which has no basis in truth, but it was recorded by the Benedictine chronicler Matthew Paris and, as a result, Robert Grosseteste went down in history as an English hero who stood up to the Pope.

“His reputation was scuppered. Clearly he should have been canonised but he became associated with an anti-Papist movement which ultimately led to the formation of the Church of England.”

Well bless me that’s all we have time for this week. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

City at least able to field a five a side team.

The club have announced that Alan Power, Sam Smith and Bradley Barraclough have signed re engagement forms for next season so City can at least boast a five a side team plus subs.

Today’s Lincolnshire Echo focuses on the future of much travelled Jefferson Louis, speculating that the Imps might not have the wherewithal to fend off interest from Woking.

Personally I’m fascinated to know what the future holds for Kyle Perry. The big frontman was farmed out on loan but returned to not exactly universal acclaim where he duly scored the obligatory goal against the Imps. The difference this time was that the player was, is still contracted to City. It’s assumed that David Holdsworth is not amongst Perry’s admirers although I have to say I thought he was outstanding when playing for Telford at Sincil Bank.

The problem for Perry is that if he can only put in a full shift when playing against his employers he’s not much use to us and no doubt his future is away from Sincil Bank. He’s still contracted though and one would presume the club are not in a mood to use up scarce resources paying him off so unless someone comes in for him he will remain a problem for the manager to resolve. Perhaps that will involve another loan. I can’t believe that City are that well off for striking talent that we can afford to have him sitting in the stands but then what do I know?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A time for renewal.

Yes it’s that time of year again, when Lincoln City announce season ticket prices. They remain the same although there are more goodies.

Season ticket holders are this years blue eyed boys, Bob Dorrian wrote to them earlier in the week and they come in for special praise again, loyal and dedicated, not to mention more money than sense. Only kidding.

Prices remain the same but the early renewal price is less, £279, concessions £179, Juniors, £55. The full price is £355 (Coop/Echo Stand). Most fans will be aware free Stagecoach travel to and from games is included and, this year if you introduce a friend you get a cash back of £20 for a full ticket £10 for a new junior.

I’m being slightly tongue in cheek but, clearly it’s not possible to reduce prices, City football watchers have shown that the sort of initiative where prices are reduced in the hope that gates will rise often end in failure.

Clearly after the season we’ve had those that do buy a season ticket do so more in hope than expectation although, if you go week in week out, particularly if you travel by bus then a season ticket does offer very good value for money against paying each home game and as the club point out it’s a life saver for them over the summer.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Hodgson OUT!

Of the hotseat at the Albion (after the season has ended) and into a much hotter one, the England managers. Already the hacks at the tabloids have unearthed some salacious facts. Old Roy played in South Africa during the apartheid years. As if footballers have any regard for or influence over political regimes. Get used to it Roy. He plays a straight bat:-

“I think it’s unfair to bring that up, I didn’t think about the political situation”

Apparently Harry Redknapp has sent a good luck message. Hopefully he omitted to say what he thought, you’ll need it!

Amongst Lincoln City supporters, at least those I follow on my twitter account the mood seems to be of acceptance of the new manager and positive sentiments. It’s too much to hope the English press will follow Imps fans in giving the manager a fair crack of the whip judging by the early quotes coming out of the press conference. T’was ever thus.

Hibernian in bitter sweet cup agony.

As if following one unsuccessful football club isn’t enough I also take an interest in the green half of Edinburgh represented by Hibs.

In an otherwise undistinguished season, Hibernian have somehow found themselves in the Scottish Cup Final where they will play their bitter rivals, also from Edinburgh, Hearts. I would have rather liked to attend the cup final and thought it might be possible with both Hibs and Hearts being relatively modestly supported but it has proved impossible to get a ticket. Just as in England the blazer wearers have snapped up a large proportion of the tickets and with Hampden being nowhere near the capacity of Wembley there are few enough tickets for proper fans let alone casual attendees like me.

Unfortunately, like most clubs, Hibs have a large number of fans who now live abroad who have bought flight tickets on the assumption that a ticket for the final will be the least of their problems only to find whilst they can get to Glasgow they won’t be able to get in to see the game.

All this pales into insignificance though with the realisation that the club, having flirted with relegation all season but safe in the knowledge that Dunfirmline are in last position and in, if anything worse form than Hibs or were in worse form until very recently when a draw and an unlikely win have buoyed Dunfirmline and have got Hibs in a right old flutter. To add to the agony Hibs must play Dunfirmline on the back of two defeats themselves but not before they play Aberdeen who they knocked out of the cup in the semi final.

Still with us? Hibs fans, never really convinced that they will do any good in the final now face the nightmare possibility of losing in the cup final and losing their coveted Scottish Premier League place.

They say there’s always someone worse off than yourself don’t they?