Andrew Abbott's Blog

Friday, 31 January 2014

This lad’s Conner be a star.

When young Conner Robinson went down in a heap a few weeks ago having only just established himself in the first team I really did fear the worst.

Victim of a shocking tackle that has no place in professional football I wondered that might have been the last of Robinson in an Imps shirt.

I really like this boy and think he will go far, so credit to the club for securing Robinsons future with a new contract.

“I said I wanted to reward the lad," commenting Imps supremo Gary Simpson
"He has gone out on loan to get games and has got himself going and pushed on again.
"He has come back and forced his way into the team and has been playing well.
"As a local lad, we try to look after them and do things right.
"We had an option for another year on Conner but we got it done properly and spoke to his advisors.
"We did everything right and it is great news for everybody."

Simpson has a good record for bringing on talent and moving them on for good fees. I think that may well be the future for this player and I look forward to watching his displays for some time before he secures a move upwards, as I m sure he will.

Quotes taken from The Lincolnshire Echo.

University Challenge for Imps?

It was announced on the BBC Website today that land for a mooted new Lincoln City stadium had been identified near the University of Lincoln.

Chairman Bob Dorrian said he hoped relocation would secure the club’s long term future:-

"If everything goes to plan I would hope something concrete has been sorted out by the end of this year in terms of a way forward for the new stadium,"

The problem is, and this is recognised by most fans apart from the most diehard traditionalist’s, these days the stadium has to produce an income for the pro budget rather than matches in themselves providing the clubs income.

The plain fact of the matter is, try though the club might it has failed to find ways of making Sincil Bank pay for itself let alone run at a profit. Dearly though we may love the old girl the stadium just cannot compete for conference business, weddings, parties etc particularly now that Lincoln has become something of a conference and seminar city with the flowering of the University and of course the facilities on campus are brand spanking new and up to the minute, something the Bank for all the sentiment we feel, cannot boast.

Long time fan Steve O’Dare said:-

"It would be great if we could move, but my concern is whether or not the money is behind the club to allow us to do that.
"I would like to hear some economic background to this and how it's going to be paid for.
"The last thing I would like to see is the club moved to a new stadium and it can't afford to run it."

The point is though, can the club afford not to move?

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Attack is the best form of defence.

I told you last time of my amusement, or is it bemusement, when my eyes fell on Lincoln City chairman Bob Dorrian last Saturday at the match. He sat stony faced after City had just scored. There’ll no doubt be more of that tonight as the latest fans forum is held. Dorrian is under no illusions that he will win any popularity contests at the moment but told the Lincolnshire Echo that he and the rest of the board would go if the conditions were right:-

“We would sell our shares at a loss,” said Cap’n Bob
“If we believed it was to the right person, we would do that.
“What we want is serious investment from people who have the club’s best interests at heart.
“One way to ensuring that is asking that whoever takes over the club by buying the holding company also invests another £500,000. It is a guarantee that the person taking over is not doing so to just asset strip the club. That is why it is a hard and firm caveat.”

It will come as news to some fans that there are any assets to strip given the axe wielding over the last few years and whoever takes over would have to have very deep pockets indeed with an initial investment of £1.5m quoted for the dubious honour of sitting in the Sincil Bank hotseat. Don’t expect to be under any illusions of grandeur either:-

“When I took over as chairman it was obvious that the club was financially fat and flabby,” said Dorrian.
“My hope was that I could come in, see the first season out in the Football League and then slash the costs at the club.
“In the end relegation meant it had to happen quickly when we went into the Conference. That is a frustration.
“My intention was that if we were in the Football League, the cutting back of costs meant more money could have gone into the playing budget.
“As it turns out I’ve been fighting fires since I started. The first two seasons of life in the Conference have been about survival as a full-time club. We had to make decisions to ensure we could afford a team to keep us in the Conference Premier.
“This season is the first time we have been able to look properly at the pro-football budget in greater detail.”

Well the devil is in the detail as they say and the question is, would a financially fat and flabby Lincoln City have survived in the Football League? A certain Mr John Reams took over the reins at City and immediately set about making the club leaner and fitter and that too resulted in the club losing it’s Football League status although, as us old fogies and students of the Imps history know City returned to the League at the first time of asking and the late Mr Reams did eventually find a place in many fans hearts. Whether Bob Dorrian will be accorded a place amongst those upon the Lincoln City Gods smile down upon time will tell but in the meantime Bob and the board must submit themselves to the scrutiny of the fans forum. Bet they can hardly wait.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Hero and Villain.

Had Lincoln City hung on to their lead in Saturday’s eventful clash with Woking the headline was going to be “City win the lottery” for lottery it was given the weather.

Poor old Paul Farman had every goal keepers worst nightmare not once but twice as relatively routine saves squirmed through his hands as Woking firstly took the lead and were then pegged back as City applied themselves to the task in hand.

Back to the weather and it looked so threatening as the start of the match drew near we retreated well back into the Echo Stand, fairly close to chairman Bob Dorrian. Not in the posh seats you understand but within eyesight and he cut a strange figure as he watched the game. If anything he is enjoying his football even less than us long suffering fans and was a picture of, well whatever the opposite of enjoyment is and that was after City had just scored!

The game progressed and I’m sure fellow fans, like myself were fearing the now familiar calamity and so it seemed to come to pass as Farman let one in. Worse was to follow as the Imps conspired to let slip all three points and in a stroke of disastrous defending the onrushing Betsy was upended in the box to give Woking a stone wall penalty.

Just time for a final drama, this time of the good variety as Farman went some way towards making amends for his afternoon as the City stopper not only saved the penalty kick but also the rebound to preserve the point. Had City’s plight not been so pressing this could have been cause for much celebration and as it was it still felt like a win as we all made our way home.

Manager Simpson felt there were positives to be gained from the match and, whilst it’s never a bad thing to have a penalty saved in the last moments of the game, particularly when a point is rescued, nevertheless three points was really a minimum requirement and City find themselves, once again precariously placed in the league as the winter drags on.

Talking of precariously hanging on it would be interesting to know what the manager’s thoughts are on his beleaguered goalkeeper and what he is going to do about him. Many fans will be thinking that with a perfectly adequate back up in Preece maybe the time is right for Farman to have a couple of games to get his head sorted out. After all it worked wonders for Joe Hart at Manchester City.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Bob’s yer Chairman.

It’s been a bit quiet on the Lincoln City front and certainly quiet on this blog mainly due to me not attending any matches.

Bob Dorrian has relieved the tedium though as he tries to rally the troops or is it deflect news of the latest loss by tossing a few sweets to the audience, pantomime syle? “Oh no he didn’t” “Oh yes he did!”

Bob tells the Echo he’s been putting his money where his mouth is to get the club over a lack of home games:-

"We had a series of away fixtures which hit us quite hard so I had to put £20,000 in to pay the wages."

However, stories about the board being unresponsive to potential investors are wide of the mark:-

“Back in 2011 I was contacted by a potential investment consortium who were looking to get involved," said Dorrian.
"There was a lot of talk between intermediaries, but no concrete offer came forward.
"By this point the club was in a serious position financially and myself and other directors had to step forward and form the holding company to keep the club going.
"I hear how we have turned down investment. The truth is there was nothing concrete to turn down.
"I hope that if there is anyone in that group of people still interested in investing that they will come forward.
"I cannot stress enough how we are willing to take a new investor onto the board.
"In the last three years we have brought in David Parman, David Featherstone, Roger Bates and Chris Moyses.
"They have all brought something different, so we would happily add to that."
Crowds, we are told are better than budgeted for and, in an effort, no doubt to take the heat off his beleaguered manager the Chairman praised Gary Simpson’s financial and man management skills whilst confirming that any money raised from player sales will go on the squad:-

"If you sell a player for £40,000, it means you are able to think about wages, or bid for a player worth, say, £10,000," said Bob.
"It is about being shrewd with the deals, but also being aware of who potentially could be sold.
"That's why Gary Simpson is a good manager for Lincoln City.
"He knows that if he cannot keep hold of a player, he already has a target in mind of someone to bring in.
"Furthermore he has a superb record for selling on players, making £1.3million in his final season at his previous club."

As we all now know another thumping loss is on the cards but not as bad as previously and furthermore, it’s all under control and the club will not be going part time:-

"It would be unambitious of us to go part-time,"
"Also, to do so would make it very difficult to then go full-time in the future.
"I have seen a lot of clubs called part-time in this division, however my impression is that only three or four are 'properly' part-time."