Monday, 28 April 2014
Strange end to a decent season.
Lincoln City managers and players have on occasion tried to blame fans for the negative vibes coming up from the terraces blunting home form but on the occasion of Barnet’s visit to Sincil Bank for the final game of the season City were ahead when a section of fans spilled on to the pitch not once but twice. Barnet’s manager seized the moment no doubt thinking he could make some capital out of the situation and ordered his team back to the changing room. When order was restored the game recommenced. At the time of the halt City were not exactly coasting but looked as if they could see out the remaining three minutes. Nine minutes of stoppage time was announced and Barnet equalised eight minutes later.
The irony was that the incursion came from the ranks of a group of supporters who deserve nothing but praise for the way they sang and got behind the team all season. Those responsible for the disorder were blamed for City accruing two less points than they otherwise would have and the remainder of the crowd let them know what they thought. An unsavoury end to a season that had begun, and ended with great promise. The final two home games were a delight to watch and there was an away victory in between.
Much worse is to follow I’m sure when the FA get to hear of all this as they will. I dread to think what will happen but I have to say, following the Cambridge game when there were almost as many police as away fans, all in riot gear, presence at the Barnet game was minimal in fact I didn’t see any officers at all. I gather though there were two in attendance. The fact of the matter though is that fans run on to the pitch at the end of the final game and there is minimal discouragement from the club. Announcements were made and ignored as they always are but I’m sure after this City are going to have to put in place much more robust security and the punishment will leave the club in no doubt they are responsible ultimately. The best we can hope for is a fine and that money has to come from somewhere and it will come from the playing budget. I can’t imagine the transgressors having a whip round.
What a shame because this season has been a significant improvement and but for an iffy spell in the middle we might have been looking forward, with some justification, to the play offs. The manager has come in for criticism, I struggle to think why, but by and large this has been a great improvement on the last few seasons and there has been much to savour from several players. Talking of which, Miller was player of the season. Newton (my choice) was Echo player of the season, away player of the season and runner up in the fans poll. Congratulations to Miller, not my choice as I say but a deserving winner. It’s significant that these two are defenders and the defence generally has had a much more solid look about it. Praise is due to Audel and unsung hero Nat Brown as well as Townsend in goal. I single out Sheridan, Tomlinson and the occasionally maligned Power for mention, it’s not his fault he keeps being named man of the match you know. I also really enjoyed cameo performances from Kobi Arthur. Good luck to you in the future.
The sheer pleasure of going in to the last few games of the season without the executioners axe hovering over our necks cannot be underestimated. Another much maligned group, the board of directors, are due recognition for keeping the show on the road. They will rue the day when the FA make their pronouncement as to how City are to be treated and will consider that the situation was not of their making. If it were me I would be considering previous last games and the situations where fans came on to the pitch unchecked and thinking that should not have been allowed at the time but now the clubs luck has run out. Speaking as a fan who would not dream of entering the field of play. I would have liked the opportunity of applauding the team at the end of the match, to show my appreciation of their efforts. That was denied me.
Rant over. Have a good summer. I believe there will be some football to watch?