Andrew Abbott's Blog

Friday, 25 January 2013

Way ahead is clear.

Of snow that is, showing the pitch free of the white stuff thanks largely to a dedicated band of supporters and the covers are on, apart from a section towards the tricky South Park end which curiously remains without it’s protective sheet. Oh well, the grounds man knows best.

Whether the enforced break will have done any good to the injury list time will tell. If it goes ahead, City face mighty (oh dear) Forest Green Rovers and before the deluge were reeling from more than a few fitness issues. We have to get the game on first and with further heavy snow forecast for tonight tomorrows clash is far from certain. At least on a Saturday morning most fans won’t have to go to work so presumably City will be able to muster rather more volunteers than are available mid week. It will all depend on that troublesome area in front of the stand, one suspects. If that is frost free, the call to arms (not to mention shovels) will no doubt go out.

Hopefully, if it does go ahead Messrs Garner, Gilbert and Fofana may be available for selection, Fofana in particular being singled out as being missed by the Vitals website which is no doubt true but personally I think Gilbert’s absence has weakened the defensive offer and he has the one thing that the other stoppers don’t have, experience. Andrew Boyce has been mentioned in dispatches for all the wrong reasons lately and although I feel this player will have a good future in the game, lack of nous sometimes has been his let down and an old head to call on, not too far away on the pitch will surely help. Besides, I like to watch Gilbert play which is as good a reason as any for a supporter. He reminds me a bit of Stuart Pearce and that is as complementary an endorsement as I can think of.

So, mighty Forest Green, that does rather stick in the craw, I never thought I’d have to describe such a team in that way in connection with a game against the Imps but they’re having a great season and will be looking to complete a double. If City operate in defence as they did before the mid season break there’s not much doubt that they will achieve it but we live in hope.

Monday, 21 January 2013

No getting lost for Milton on the road to comedy paradise.

Milton Jones at the Drill Hall, Lincoln.

Even before the show began there was a reminder that the world of the stand up comedian can be a lonely slog as the snow descended on Lincoln last Friday night. Given the conditions, fans of the quirky jokemeister must have been wondering whether the show was to be on at all and indeed whether there would be much of an audience, even though the event was sold out months ago.

As it happens, almost all of the seats were taken up, the audience made of sterner stuff and they were rewarded with a fantastic evening of off the wall entertainment first from a thinly disguised “Miltons Grandfather “ who arrived on stage on a motorised scooter and then a comedian who might easily hold his own on stage as a main act, Chris Martin (not that one), before the “real” Milton Jones in the second half.

Talking of the audience it was definitely a Radio Four crowd rather than a Mock the Week one and you could safely take your aged Aunt to see the show, both Jones and Martin not uttering a single swear word proving you don’t have to swear to be funny.

Milton Jones was in great form and given that this is the try out for the main event, the show proper will be at the Engine Shed, Lincoln later on in the year, audiences can look forward to being very well entertained. If you’ve got an aged Aunt or your Mother would like a night out for her birthday, Milton’s the man for you.

Again, just looking at the composition of the audience, it was striking that the women in it were enjoying the show enormously and whilst the comedy would appeal to both sexes, unlike some female comediennes, the jokes, or to be more accurate, one liners seemed to strike a particular chord with those of the female persuasion and there were whoops and giggles galore which seemed to take Jones by surprise. It shouldn’t though because this is a very well thought out routine, finely honed and delivered with very few jokes missing the mark. By the time Jones returns to Lincoln in November those duds will be long gone but it does underline that these pre run shows are well worth seeing and at £12.50 a ticket you really can’t go wrong.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Reg is our man for the future - Bob.

As I write, the likelihood of us seeing any live football in Lincoln this weekend is looking extremely, well, unlikely so a look at the pages of the Lincolnshire Echo would seem to be as good a place as any to go for some football related entertainment.

An article headed “Lincoln City chairman Bob Dorrian keen to hand David Holdsworth a new contract” caught the eye. The on line version (I do hope you all still purchase your paper copy) features replies to the article and, as you can imagine there was some comment on this development, some of it amusing along the lines of oh well, we’ve missed out on Guardiola now, most, unsurprisingly, not ever so complementary. Quite clearly though the club, or at least the chairman are convinced they have the right man at the helm.

Then came the news that Southampton have sacked Nigel Adkins! Now this is rather outside our orbit but if ever a man was doing a decent job in difficult circumstances its Adkins. Leaving aside his ferrous antecedents which I suppose should make us grudging in our praise if I were chairman of that south coast club I would be thinking to myself that the club are heading in the right direction even given that Saints are favourites for the drop come the end of the season. Add into the mix the fact that Jim Gannon has been relieved of his duties at Stockport (again) then maybe Mr Holdsworth ought to be thankful that he is at Lincoln City.

Not that the Imps have always been a byword for forebearance and managerial stability, particularly (but not exclusively) in the John Reams era, when whatever money the club had was considerably eroded in the paying off of managers and subsequent higher salaries that had to be paid to those wary of our reputation.

So there we are, the club would like to secure the managers immediate future and that of the most influential players, and we applaud that naturally. An enforced layoff probably won’t do any harm either. As was pointed out in the article, injuries have played a big part in the latest mini slump. We thought we had a decent squad but for whatever reason, be it managerial inadequacy or the fact that the squad players aren’t as good as we thought they were, we once again peer down at something too awful to contemplate. It wasn’t long ago we were starting to gain some confidence. It’s a funny old game.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Victory for the rat in a Royal performance.

The pantomime season is drawing to a close and Dick Whittington was the Theatre Royal, Lincoln’s Christmas offering. Starring, once again, Cannon and Ball, the veteran comedians presided over the usual cacophony of Christmas cracker jokes, ad libs and pretty dancers.

We felt this years Panto was a bit of a slow burner although King Rat, played by Peter Amory, Emmerdale’s Chris Tate, was straight into the role with a marvellous portrayal of the typical slapstick baddie, the rich timbre of his voice no doubt aided by the impressive number of fags he got through at the after show party at the Bombay Restaurant. He reacted well with both children and adults, me included who were enthusiastically booing the character, giving the actor lots of opportunity to do some impromptu gags of his own.

There was the usual mixture of bad acting and surprisingly good dancing from the cast with two winsome leading dancers, the mermaid scene giving a particular eyeful for lovers of the female form, not that we were concentrating on that, you understand. (Oh yes you were!)

Eventually even slow burners get going and the show perked up enormously when a huge galleon made an appearance on the stage containing the whole main cast and the show drew to a close with the usual mix of communal singing and a very spectacular finale leaving the audience in no doubt of the need to book to see next, or rather this years show which is to be Robin Hood and will once again feature the former TV favourites, Cannon and Ball.

On to the Bombay then for our traditional after the show meal and once again the cast were there for what looked like an end of run meal. Last year we were lucky enough to have a chat with Bobby Ball and he was in attendance with his showbiz partner Tommy Cannon and a large party including Peter Amory making frequent visits outside.

No chat this year although we did have a couple of words with the duo who were, as expected, charm itself. We let them know we would be back for next Christmas’s show. I would recommend you do so yourself, you could even rope in a couple of kids although it’s not essential.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Crisis? What crisis!

Last week I’d no sooner expressed the opinion that John Nutter might be in with a chance of a game, following his return from Woking, than word reached me, by twitter naturally that he was being released. Adam Boyd also went last week having barely registered on our radars.

This week Peter Bore became more intimately acquainted with the revolving door than he might have liked, he’s now history too. Nutter, surprise surprise, washed up back at Woking where, according to reports he had done well. Quite where Mr Bore’s future lies is anyone’s guess. All this does underline the transient nature of football at this lowly level but I suppose we shouldn’t complain. After all we were always moaning on about Lincoln City being used by footballers having the whip hand, now the opposite is definitely the case and woe betide anyone not doing the business on the pitch. Quite what all this means to the balance sheet one can only surmise although Mr Holdsworth does seem to have the financial interests of the football club very much at the forefront of his mind so we have to presume City got an advantageous deal. Perhaps that’s why he continued to enjoy the board’s confidence at a time most of us fans were having the jitters. Although we are hardly tearing the league to pieces at the moment, for my part I have to say they (the board) got it right and we, the fans rather lost our nerve.

I read in the Echo that City’s team plans are “chaotic”. Manager Holdsworth told Leigh Curtis :-

"It is an absolute nightmare," he said.

"We are already without a number of first team players while Jake and Scott picked up injuries at the weekend.

"But that's not the only problem; illness has been a worry too.

"I could be without nine players for Southport which would severely have an impact on us.

"But we'll go up there patched up and whatever team I put out I expect them to give it a real go."

A nightmare of his own making surely, with all these departures, I haven’t even mention loan deals. Why let players go if it was going to result in a shortage?

Personally I’m awaiting further news, could these departures mean arrivals? On the other hand if a player’s future lies elsewhere then we might as well grasp the nettle.

We will see how much of a nightmare tonight when the Imps travel to Merseyside. Maybe we’ll get stung maybe we won’t. (I know, I’ve got loads of ‘em)

Friday, 4 January 2013

Say hello, wave goodbye.

Having reported that John Nutter has returned from loan I learn from (via twitter, first port of call for all your transfer news, speculation and general gossip) that Nutter has left the club by mutual consent.

Quite where that leaves us in terms of a left back I don’t know, well I suspect I do but I’m trying not to think about it too much.

Adam Boyd has left the club too, without us having seen him, apart from the briefest of appearances.

Imps keen that decent start doesn’t Ebb away.

With a draw from the home game against Gateshead and a point at Blundell Park at least the Imps are showing signs of recovery. Although two points from a possible six is hardly world beating City will be boosted by the performance at Grimsby particularly after the collapse against them on Boxing Day. Several witnesses were convinced the Imps had a perfectly good goal ruled out too so, every reason to suppose the pre Christmas good form could be resurrected for the trip to Ebbsfleet United.

City are depleted to say the least with Mills, Duffy, Gilbert, Bore and Fofana absent together with long term crock Platt. Adam Smith saw his appeal against his red card received at Grimsby rejected so will start his three match suspension this weekend too.

In addition to the injuries David Morgan has returned to Forest. It’s difficult to make sense of these loans sometimes. Forest are indisputably at a much higher level than City yet Morgan, after a decent-ish start to his time at Lincoln seems to me to be no better than the players we have, maybe he will prove me wrong and I certainly wish him all the best. You might recall that a strong run in the side was abruptly ended by a red card. He never got a look in after that. Balanced against that loss Bradley Barraclough and John Nutter have returned from loan and we have new loan signing Jake Thompson to look forward to seeing after the amusing little episode last week that probably means he will be saddled with the twitter epithet. Let’s hope he ruffles a few feathers anyway in his time with the Imps. Such is the length of the injury list all three could have an involvement in the forthcoming game and if the reports from Gainsborough are true, Barraclough is now free of injury so we might perhaps get a look at what he is about. Certainly the Blues were impressed by what they saw and it’s just a shame that our relationship with the outfit from the Northolme seems to have been soured by the Barraclough loan. Let’s hope that is soon restored as it’s far better to be on good terms with our neighbours.

Other web sites are predicting a return to winning ways for our heroes this weekend, despite the injuries. I see no reason to disagree.