Andrew Abbott's Blog

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Life in the old dog yet?

There was a certain inevitability at Sincil Bank last night as City took a sucker punch early on to provoke some half hearted cries of Holdsworth out! The Imps laboured on to little effect and no doubt many were wondering what they might had done with £18 other than be at the match.

My mate Stewart offered the opinion that watching the Imps these days is akin to looking at your poor old pooch mournfully seeing out the remainder of his days, a sad reflection of his former self. It only seemed yesterday that he was chasing rabbits and frightening the postman?

City fielded a new look strike force, little good it did them and the crowd were certainly in no mood to make Conner Robinson’s full debut something he would look back on with regret but to say there was any punch up front would take much rosier tinted glasses than I possess. The manager responded with a triple substitution.

Then a funny thing happened. Well it’s not funny if your name is Simon Forsdick. Vadaine Oliver was on a charging run towards goal and Forsdick brought him down. There was little doubt of the foul but would the referee deem the Nuneaton man the last defender? He did and that meant only one thing and Forsdick made a very slow trudge to the dressing room.

Now this sort of scenario hasn’t produced rich rewards for City in recent years so there was some light hearted conjecture as to where the ball might end up from the resulting free kick. Few expected what happened as Nutter rolled the ball to Nicky Nicolau and he absolutely buried it to put City level.

The Imps were like a dog with two tails now but would they go on to sink their teeth into Nuneaton’s nether regions or go back to whimpering and farting by the fire?

Tom Miller provided the answer although not that many could see how the ball ended up in the net to put City on their way to three points. Just to dispel any thoughts that City might be out of the woods the referee, previously not disposed to right the wrongs perpetrated on the Imps, awarded a penalty. Plenty would not have done. Again, inevitably, Taylor rattled the bar with his effort. The fact that a centimetre lower and City would have been 3.1 up more an indication of the Imps lack of luck at the moment than judgement on Taylor’s ability as a penalty taker. Still, the journey home was a lot pleasanter than it had seemed it would be an hour earlier.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

This year I'm off to sunny Spain.

Same as last year actually. This time we are at Heathrow terminal 5. We tried the Heathrow Express too but only because we got in the wrong car park. Life's rich tapestry eh?
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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Adding insult to injury.

It’s tempting to say same old story, fragile City once again throw away a lead and end up getting booed off having capitulated to a side that they ought to have wiped the floor with. Whatever the new players think they’ve let themselves in for goodness only knows.

I got talking to a scout before the game and no I didn’t ask who he was looking at, he was from Shrewsbury. After he’d finished going on about how long it took to get to Lincoln, Shrewsbury? He’s a one to talk, not exactly the centre of the universe is it? He asked me how things were here. Well it’s difficult to sell the club isn’t it? All you can say is it’s a very unhappy ship at the moment. The scout commented on how big the stadium is, seemingly oblivious to our recent history, play offs etc, some scout but I had to recall that a few short seasons ago a goodly proportion of those seats were regularly taken every game. Not last night, as expected another desperate gate as the fans voted with their feet again but for some time it looked as if the ones there were the ones in the know as City tore into a robust Alfreton Town.

It’s easy to dismiss the manager’s talk of injury as excuses but there are more than a few at the moment. Alan Power was first off, well, not being unkind but if anything that did us a favour, certainly no harm but there was worse, much worse to follow as Andrew Boyce, again a rock in defence was well and truly felled making a last ditch tackle. The stretcher was called but declined but he might as well have got on it as he could barely manage a limp as he went off, arm round a girl on each side, scant consolation.

Scant consolation for City too as the shape went as did much of the purpose, an equaliser then a winner for Town. An outraged David Holdsworth stormed up to the referee at the end, little good that was going to do. Alfreton were, lets put it like this, uncompromising but City are going to have to deal with much more of this if they are to survive in this league let alone prosper.

Whether City survive at all may have nothing to do with football. I’ll rephrase that, whatever the activities of the management and team, although that is woefully inadequate at the moment City’s immediate future depends on how long the club can continue making the thumping losses they are. Sorry to say this because I have every sympathy with the board of directors for the situation they find themselves in. None of the board can have anticipated the horrors they were going to have to deal with when they agreed to take on the role but these problems came from somewhere and it’s not from the fans. Not this time.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Is that the sound of a tumbril? – Or an open top bus.

It’s all getting a bit repetitive but surely Lincoln City can register a second home win to get their season off to some kind of a start? We said that of course last Saturday and thinking about it dispassionately City almost did but for a missed chance and a poor decision from a player who will remain nameless but we all know who he is, shooting (after a fashion) when a gilt edged pass was there for the taking. Surely a second goal would have finished off Ebbsfleet? As it was the Fleet went on to score and in all honesty few could deny them a share of the spoils. We’re not here however to be fair to the opposition, winning is the name of the game, an outcome we fans have not been too familiar with lately.

Alfreton scraped home to remain in the division last season and are continuing in similar vein, as are our heroes but surely tonight’s the night? Injury woes continue to beset the Imps though and Miller, Duffy and Smith are doubtful, I can’t find anything on at the moment to settle that question one way or another. Just looking around the net it’s fair to say that a win should dissipate smouldering thoughts of revolution but a loss, a draw even will herald the sound of blades being honed in readiness for another round of blood letting, figuratively speaking.

As any writer will do, I’ve just been back through this article to check the punctuation. There are an awful lot of question marks which certainly reflects Lincoln City’s season so far.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

A glimpse of a better future – and a big reality check.

Here are some words that ought to strike fear in the heart of every Imps fan. One thousand six hundred and eighty two. That’s the number of fans present at yesterdays game with Ebbsfleet United. I’d previously thought around two thousand two hundred was just about the absolute rock bottom for a Saturday fixture and even that is well below the budgeted gate figure even for this cut price season. It’s a measure of the disenchantment the fans have with their team and a reflection on the negative publicity coming out of the club in my view with pronouncements from the chairman, now mercifully few, putting people off and the manager, who cannot seem to give any kind of quote at all without slotting in a reference to the fact that his budget is insufficient, admittedly with the caveat that he doesn’t mind. Well the fans mind, in fact they’re appalled.

One of the best bits of radio, for me, when you get back to the car and tune to BBC Radio Lincolnshire is the period when Michael Hortin is waiting for the players or manager to become available for interview and prevails upon the Echo’s reporter, Leigh Curtis to have a chat on air. The topic was, of course that terrible gate and what that means for the attendance on Tuesday when there is another home game. One shudders to think. There was disagreement on whether a resurgent City would be able to pull the crowds back but agreement on the fact that the nature of football as essentially a working class spectator sport has changed. Of course it changed some time ago with the advent of the prawn sandwich brigade and these wealthier supporters are now evident at all games, Lincoln included but what is missing is the tribal almost, group of fans, usually coming from mass employment situations, factories etc who will support the club come what may. Of course the nature of employment has changed, certainly in Lincoln where even the largest of employers are a fraction of the size they were at one time.

I’m starting to ramble a bit here but the point I’m trying to make is that the club can no longer expect the fans to roll in come what may as a result of some allegiance to their team although sometimes I think the club thinks they should and they will simply out of loyalty. Well now they know differently. Times are very hard and Lincolnshire is far from a wealthy area. The club has to offer something that will lift the ordinary fan out of his or her hum drum life and give them a couple of hours of escape from it and they are not doing so. Every pronouncement drags them back into the reality of their own situation. Lincoln City’s problem is that, unlike their heyday in, say the fifties or sixties, no we’ll leave it at the fifties, there are lots of other things to do of a Saturday. For example for the price of a season ticket a fan could buy a decent lightweight bike and spend their afternoons tootling about Lincolnshire’s attractive (and flat) leafy lanes pleasing both their doctor and their wife, once the beer gut starts to disappear. For the price of one season’s football that investment could provide twenty years of healthy recreation and yet footballers wages and therefore admission prices continue up and up as opposed to the very people who provide those wages.

This game did though, provide a glimpse of what might be as an early goal, never a bad thing, settled City’s nerves and they produced some terrific stuff, moving the ball around well and quickly but as is, dare I say, usually the case, the failure to capitalise on their advantage when a couple of gilt edged chances were spurned, they lapsed back into trying to sit on a one goal lead only for the inevitable to happen and Ebbsfleet deservedly equalised.

At the risk of perpetuating the gloom, this situation cannot continue and certainly Lincoln City cannot survive as a full time club having alienated their supporters to the extent they have, already it’s starting to look too late for any success to accrue this season, quite the opposite. I do hope I’m entirely wrong about this.