Friday, 27 September 2013
The shine has slightly diminished and the general air of enthusiasm has been subjected to a bit of a reality check with back to back losses reminding us that success will be a hard and demanding road to take this season. Talking of roads Gary Simpson was only saying prior to the latest fixture that two long trips on the trot were not exactly what the doctor ordered and he was proved right as the Imps returned from Luton and Hereford with null points.
Worse still the injuries are starting to pile up and Simpson was bemoaning the fact that yellow cards were being issued on a regular basis and this, to a certain extent, governed the way City played at Hereford as they certainly did not wish to see Ben Tomlinson get a red which was the way it was looking on Tuesday night and the Imps had to withdraw the striker.
At least Simpson mentioned the iniquities of the fixture list before the second defeat otherwise it might have sounded like an excuse but the Gaffer felt City acquitted themselves reasonably well at Hereford. You can see the interview on Imps Player.
Who better to play at home this Saturday than the proverbial strongest team in the league, holding the rest up (it’s the way I tell ‘em) Hyde, firmly ensconced at the trapdoor end of the table? Fortunately Imps supporters have been relieved of the gut wrenching experience of seeing their favourites occupy that territory but, impressive though the early form has been everyone with Lincoln City connections will wish to see the current mini slump go no further. On the other hand no one I’ve spoken to thought Luton and then Hereford away were in any way fertile territory, not on past experience anyway so let’s not get too carried away at these setbacks. It’s a well worn cliché but it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Sunday, 1 September 2013
Yesterday, whilst I was working on the allotment, keeping tabs on the game on twitter, I had a text from my son asking why it was that people were still surprised that City were winning games. I don’t know about you but personally I’m still surprised City are winning and the reason is, rueful experience.
I think back to the day Chris Sutton walked out on the Sincil Bank hot seat, some fans would say before that but certainly then and the club has been in one long tailspin. Many supporters were fearful that City would ever find the secret of success again, some agonising whether we might be in terminal decline.
I still remember being taken to task by a fan, quite a prominent fan, when I was writing for a national football website for suggesting that City fans were getting all wobbly at the state of club floundering at the lower end of the football league. I was told to get a grip and show a more positive attitude. If only the football club had been able to do so but the reasons for the decline were complex and, as we all know, Lincoln City were on the slide and many of us wondered if that was going to bottom out at Conference Premier level or whether we were going to have to suffer further indignity. After all it happened to Stockport County.
Personally I felt, and I think a lot of others felt too that, in Gary Simpson City had found a man that firstly knew what to do in managing a club at our level, which isn’t as stupid as it sounds given our experience lately, but was readily accepted by the supporters as one of our own and also there was a sense of unfinished business and indeed a sort of nobility in Simpson agreeing to come back to Lincoln after his treatment by the club in the infamous “gardening leave” saga. A lot of fans will be thinking if Simpson can let bygones be bygones and return to the club then we fans can put aside our own frustrations and get fully behind our club once again.
Now I hesitate to say this but to come back to my, or rather my sons original point, this start has me grinning from ear to ear. The sheer, almost forgotten pleasure of attending matches or listening in to away games as City grind out another win and to note that the club now sit in fourth place in the league, yes I know it’s only September, but that pleasure is something that seemed might be denied to us forever, such was the depth of our depression. Gary Simpson, when interviewed after Saturdays match sounded like the cat that got the cream, as well he might.
I think all of us thought, as we were last time City found themselves outside the football league, that we would be a big club at this level which has certainly not been the case and reputations count for nothing now. There are some very well funded set ups that we are competing with although, after the hoped for but hardly anticipated start we have had it might be expected that more fans will start to return to Sincil Bank and that will demonstrate that City have something the smaller but bankrolled clubs don’t have and that is a large fan base. If this start can be maintained then come Christmas the Bank may be looking a bit more like it’s old self. It would be marvellous if the club is forced to overturn its present policy in having the Stacey West closed and I’m sure the club itself would be delighted to be put in that position.
As to yesterdays game, once again no pushover. City raced into a two goal league but any decent manager and Gary Simpson is certainly that, will have prepared his team for a fight back by the home team and so it transpired but City hung on to what they had and returned to Lincoln with the points. I could start to get used to this.