Andrew Abbott's Blog

Friday, 23 August 2013

Haircuts, Home Wins and other such matters.

Those supporters who have attended any games this season can’t have failed to notice the distinctly dodgy Barnets on display from City’s players this season. It’s all Dan Gray’s fault apparently; well he started it according to Paul Farman in the Echo. Personally I can’t believe Andrew Boyce didn’t have a large part to play in the latest tragedies, he seems to be always up for some fun at the others expense.

Talking of fun at other’s expense who’d have thought City would have got off to the start they have? Certainly Forest Green Rovers’ manager was most put out that his team left Sincil Bank pointless although I can’t say I entirely agree with his verdict that Rovers were the best team. Decent certainly and with money behind them they should do well this season but better than the Imps? I didn’t think so.

Wins at home of course underpin a successful season and if a reasonable haul of points can be gained on the road then its drinks all round come the end of the season but let’s not get carried away, it’s still August. I will say though, if Keith Alexander had a fault as a manager (am I allowed to say this?) in his time as manager at Lincoln City it was that too many home games were drawn. On the other hand his win ratio away must have been amongst the best anywhere but two home wins out of two is certainly the way to rekindle interest in the Imps.

Just before we leave thoughts of Keith he of course would have been absolutely delighted at the Forest Green manager’s sour grapes on losing so it’s not just Gary Simson’s yellow socks that remind us of that great man.

Whether we will all be quite so buoyant after this Bank Holiday fixtures nobody knows. It always strikes me that we seldom take full advantage of two games in quick succession but there again we’ve never beaten Forest Green Rovers at home before. Certainly cracks are already beginning to show in City’s armour and the manager has stated he will need to vary the team to get through the double header. I thought that’s what squads are for. Simpson told the Echo:-

“You have to take the weekend as a double header, there are one or two have picked up a couple of knocks from the Forest Green game. Thank you Gary, I’ve just said that.
“If I play a couple of them in the Cambridge match then there is no chance of them making the second game and it could turn into something a little bit longer.
“So I have to be a bit careful and I will have to mix and match it. Fingers crossed if the others pull through we might have two or three who are fresh coming into the Wrexham game.”
So two tough games coming up. Not so long ago they were all tough games as the team strove for success in the play offs. Certainly I’ve never enjoyed my football since the way I enjoyed those matches. Maybe those times might be back on the distant horizon, you never know.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Imp Waides in with a confident prediction.

Waide Fairhurst was in ebullient mood when interviewed after the recent home win against Forest Green Rovers, predicting a successful season ahead even mentioning the forbidden “P” word.

"As a team we are a good set of lads," he said.
"We are a good team and we can be up there this season.
"I know, without a shadow of a doubt, there is nobody to fear this season.
"They (Forest Green) are supposed to be money eaters, but they are not better than us."

Fairhurst revealed his dismay at not starting the first two league fixtures and vowing to demand the manager pencil his name in first on every team sheet with his performances.

Certainly his brace against the Green will be uppermost in Gary Simpson’s mind when preparing the team for the forthcoming bank holiday double header starting away at Cambridge United where there is bound to be a good number of Imps making the relatively short journey. This is followed by the visit of Wrexham on Monday. A daunting start by anyone’s standard.

If City can continue in the same vein as the last three fixtures Imps fans really will start to believe that the previous frankly awful campaigns can be consigned to the history books and the club can start to rekindle its lacklustre image.

Monday, 19 August 2013

A different proposition.

Last season a marriage proposal at half time would have been the highlight of the game. Why do people do this? An intrepid fan emerged from the half baked half time crossbar challenge to get down on one knee in the centre circle. After the cheers and applause died down the inevitable “you don’t know what you’re doing” rang out. Well, they’ll remember that and the rest of us will long remember this game, for all the right reasons.

That’s not to say City are the finished article. Passing is disjointed, especially out of defence, shape gets lost and tackling can be decidedly iffy, especially when the game is refereed as it was at Sincil Bank on Saturday, City having in the main, to depend on the linesman to point out to the ref any wrongs done to them by Forest Green Rovers. There were some inexplicable bookings too although I felt Boyce and Gray were rightly shown yellow.

All in all though, a totally different feel to the new season , gone are the defeatist overtones although there was a throwback to last year with a comedy opening goal, not that anyone was laughing, as Nat Brown shaped to deal with a shot then decided to leave it to Farman who was totally unprepared and the ball apologetically nestled in the net.
Was it to be a repeat of last season? No it was not and the catalyst was Waide Fairhurst who battled through a crowd to put City level and later, when we had all settled for a draw against a fancied side if were being honest, lashed a torpedo into the deserted Stacey West end goal to general delirium.

Everyone, well all but a handful from Gloucestershire, went home happy and, by the way. The lady accepted the proposal. Awwwww.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Green won’t start for The Green

Old favourite Paul Green now plies his trade at cash laden village side Forest Green Rovers but he’s got a knock and may not feature according the website. The scarily confident write up by Saturday’s opponents reflected on a win and a draw for the Gloucestershire side, mirroring City’s start but with lots more goals as a rueful Hyde will attest.

Manager Gary Simpson says he’s not bovvered about Rovers dosh, Catherine Tate style. Actually he didn’t, he’s a Yorkshireman but he affected an unconcerned nonchalance as he spoke to the press ahead of tomorrows game:-

“Forest Green have got a big benefactor who helps him out,” said Simpson, presumably referring to Green boss Dave Hockaday.
“It’s his hobby, or whatever you want to call it, to get in the league and he has a lot of money and backs the club how he feels.
“We do it differently, that’s how it is. As it’s been proved in the past, though, having the most money does not always bring the most success, but it goes a long way to help it and it can give you a better chance.”
“It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. We will do the best we can with what we have got. If you apply that principle then you are on the right lines,” he said.
“It’s not frustrating, I’m a big believer in any business, and football is a business, that you can only spend what you can afford.
“I think clubs have got to be self-sufficient. Wherever I have been I have been self-sufficient.
“When I was with Keith Alexander or when I was on my own we approached it in that way.
“It’s alright with these clubs with money men in, but we’ve seen it before when the money men pull out, what are you left with? Sometimes it is a massive problem and clubs are left with massive debts.”

Well we know all about massive debts and hopefully we will know all about being in the top half of the table come five o’clock. Simpson, and I suspect the rest of us will be hoping for a decent turnout at Sincil Bank. I think a lot of us believe Simpson’s deal is, same as last years budget but any extra on the gate goes in the pot. This was heavily hinted at by Simpson at this weeks press call.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

For a start, it’s not too bad.

I’ve always thought it odd that the football season starts in the middle of the school holidays. I’m sure it was different back in the day, being a winter game and all that so it was understandable that the first home game, being on a Tuesday night should rather pass me by as a family do had been arranged.

That was rather a shame, football wise, as an initial home win has been something we’ve not been awfully au fait with lately and that, coupled with the away point gained at Woking gives the start of the season a sort of “unaccustomed as I am” feel to it, not that we’re complaining.

So no first hand account of the game from me other than to reiterate the pleasant glow that comes with four points from two games, even if I wasn’t there to see them. Gentle leg pulling from my colleagues here in Boston that the Imps fans will soon be besieging BBC Radio Lincolnshire with claims of a successful season to come but it was also pointed out that the unimpeachable Steve Evans used to say two points a game equals promotion so that must be right.

I will say that the goal last night looked a tidy finish from Danny Rowe, viewed on Imps Player, a nice change from those blasts over the crossbar that we’ve got used to from players in a similar position. All in all a most satisfactory start but as always the real work is yet to coming starting with the daunting prospect of facing Forest Green. How times have changed.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Those lazy hazy crazy days of summer.

In common with other land owners I’ve been tending my crops over the summer. All right, I’ve been on my allotment during the football close season taking advantage of all that free time whilst our diversion of choice is having a rest.

Actually, come to think of it, rather like the recently retired, I’ve been wondering how I ever found time to visit Sincil Bank last winter such has been the weed based onslaught brought on by goodness only know what. If only my carrots has grown with such enthusiasm not to mention the parsnips. Oh well I won’t be needing parsnips for a few months yet and at least they are starting to show their serrated leaves.

So the player’s holidays have come and gone and so have the pre season friendlies and we’ve had the team photo. I don’t know what to make of the new shirt. Part of me actually likes it but I can’t get away from the fact that Lincoln City play in stripes, until this season that is.

I remember back in the day, when Dennis Bocock was the chairman city also didn’t play in stripes. Bocock was a Rotherham United fan really so he had his team play in red shirts with white sleeves a la Arsenal and of course Millers. City’s latest shirt looks to me like one of those 70’s style continental jobbies with the off centre stripe.

So can we look forward to some continental type play? Would we want that? Probably not. As ever we’ll get what we’re given but I do detect a bit more optimism around Lincoln this season and ticket sales have, I gather increased so fans feel the same way. Having said that I hear Mariners have sold getting on for 2000 season tickets and expect around 4000 for their first game. With the best will in the world and given that there is renewed interest in and goodwill for the Imps, I don’t think were anywhere near that.