Andrew Abbott's Blog

Friday, 30 January 2015

City’s season hinges on Alfreton once again.

Lincoln City’s home credentials will be tested tomorrow when FA Trophy quarter finalists Dover are the visitors to Sincil Bank.
It’s then Alfreton for a re run of the postponed Christmas fixture, then Bristol Rovers (do they still do those lovely pasties?) both away followed by Chester at home in a run of games described by the Echo as season defining. They could be right.

Ironically it may be the Alfreton fixture that could provide a turning point, if the Imps can get a win there it might banish the demons that have dogged City’s on the road efforts and set the scene for a play off push.
On the other hand a loss may well herald an earlier than expected end to all hopes of success this term.
Either way it’s going to be a tough start to February and City could do with a return of the Christmas form to go with the snowy weather and get us all dreaming of Wembley.

Incidentally I see that the “Vanarama Big Day Out” has been announced whereby you can buy an advance Early Bird ticket through City for the play off final at Wembley for just £10 or rather a voucher redeemable for a ticket and amazingly once you have your voucher there will be nothing more to pay.

Dare you tempt providence by buying one though? It seems too good to be true. See for details.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What went wrong? Don’t ask me.

Chris Moyses made the briefest of statements last night following yet another heavy defeat and two more red cards at Chester. If he goes on to success that interview may well become the stuff of folklore.

Success however looks some distance away as City showed again that they just can’t do the business away from Sincil Bank and Moyses needs to consult his coaching manuals to find the answer.

As I’ve stated before, and it’s stating the obvious, home performances and results are fine. They’re better than that but no team ever got promoted on home results alone.

It’s often said that some teams are glad to play an away game and of course that used to be City’s forte but I would imagine they will be anxious to make amends in front of their own fans in Lincoln and I’m sure they will be given an understanding reception.

One things certain though. We’re going nowhere on present form.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Wheels still on but play off dream is starting to fade.

I said a few weeks ago that Lincoln City needed to win nearly all their remaining games to be in with a chance of making the play offs. Home form has delivered but away success is proving elusive for City. The manager knows the problem but is struggling to sort it out:-

“The lads have put 100 per cent in, but we were not the threat going forward as we have been,” said Chris Moyses
“We were not as fluent. However, that is credit to Macclesfield, they were very hard to break down.
“It was a very stop-start game. Macclesfield stopped us playing and we couldn’t find a way around that.
“We didn’t get people forward quickly enough. I don’t think we supported Delano Sam-Yorke quickly enough.
“We didn’t get players down the side enough. We talked about the lack of width at half-time. As soon as we addressed that we looked a better side.
“We’ve gone in the dressing room afterwards and talked it over. We didn’t think it was a three-goal game. They took their chances and Paul Farman has made some top quality saves to keep us in the game.”

Once again the Imps went down to a hefty defeat although Macclesfield’s home form ought to have tempered our confidence. I did expect something out of the game though and I wasn’t the only one judging by the support according to Moyses:-

“It was very frustrating as we had an excellent turn out from the fans and felt sorry we couldn’t give them something to cheer about.”

City have the chance to make amends with the rearranged fixture at Chester tomorrow but I can never summon up much enthusiasm for City’s hopes at that fine city which was home for me for a year many moons ago.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Old boys will make Macclesfield trip worth watching.

According to Imps supremo Chris Moyses. He told the Echo:-
"We have a few ex-Macc players , they have a few ex-Lincoln players, it all helps to spice things up. It will be a good game to be at. Having players like that, who are going back to their old clubs, they always like to put one over on them if they can. They really should not take much motivating for this one.”

Moyses didn’t hide his disappointment at the postponement of the Chester fixture and felt Macclesfield manager John Askey deserves praise for the way the Silkmen have performed this season-
“We actually wanted to play the game on Tuesday night with the momentum we have got,”
“We felt we had a good chance to go to Chester and come back with something. Macclesfield becomes a bigger game now, certainly because of where they are in the league and we need to set some stones out.

No I don’t know what that means either but it’s been a good week for the Imps, that postponement aside and City will present Macc with a stern test even given their impressive home form, provided of course they can keep eleven players on the pitch.

Moyses lauded the landing of Alan Power in the week and does not want to stop there hoping the influential Irishman will be the first of several signings:-
“Part of our plan is to get one or two more signed up within the next couple of weeks if we can. That’s a work in process, but we won’t put any pressure on anyone to be at the club. If they don’t want to be here then there’s no point in hanging about”

All this is a world away from the old wait and see approach which saw many of City’s targets sign for our rivals. Maybe the close relationship between manager and board is behind the new boldness but either way this has got to be good.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

He's big he's red he's staying with us instead..........

......of moving on.

It's not very good is it? Anyway Alan Power has signed a contract extension to stay with the Imps.

Lets hope it's the first of several and that there will be further announcements made soon.

As a railway journey it doesn’t look that great.

Did anyone see Boston on TV last night? It was featured on the latest instalment of Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys. Apart from Boston railway station which I really do think lets the town down with its scruffy appearance I thought the programme showed the town in a good light and highlighted the many attractive areas Boston has to offer. A nice change from the usual bottom of everything negativity.
Very interesting to hear the links to Boston USA and the history behind it and some lovely photos of Boston of old. Yes it once was a very important and wealthy place.

Where I think Boston is not helped is the railway station. It’s hard to believe that at one time the town was on the main line from London to the north, so was Lincoln. You could get a train to pretty much anywhere. Now if it’s not Skegness or Nottingham you’ve had it. Both sides of the line were graced with typical railway architecture. Now half the buildings are gone and the other half is barely in use. The waiting room, toilets and booking hall close at 3.30. No wonder Bostonians are tiring of national political parties.

Incidentally Derby to Nottingham, Grantham, Boston. Back to Grantham and then up north is not my idea of a railway journey. More a collection of destinations but there again such is the savaging our railways took once you’ve reached Boston or Skegness to continue to the end of the line all you can do is go back again. Sums us up really.

Video didn’t kill the radio star.

It’s always nice to get some recognition and gratifying to think that professional journalists are reading the blog and that recognition came in the form of an invitation to take part in a phone in on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. This was a hastily arranged programme to replace the usual coverage of the away fixture against Chester which of course fell foul of the weather.

This is the third time I’ve been on the radio so it’s starting to get second nature although listening to the caller on before me he seemed really quite knowledgeable but I was reassured when I was introduced by Rob Makepeace who referred to the blog and wanted me to comment on my latest article in it. I also got to have a word with Lincoln City legend Rob Bradley on air. Hopefully I didn’t sound like a complete plonker but we’ll know if I’m invited back on again some time.

Nothing like a game of course and you do just wonder if maybe opponents are not too fussed when a game against City is postponed, maybe later in the season we may not be on fire the way we are at the moment but of course you’ve still got to get a local referee to postpone. In Alfretons case the game would have been a good earner as a lot of fans me included would have gone so possibly I’m taking the conspiracy theory a bit too far.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Ooh you are awful – but I like you.

Well they say it’s the mark of a good team, they play badly and still win the game. City found themselves pinned into their own penalty area yesterday at Sincil Bank by a determined but ultimately unsuccessful Aldershot who I’m sure couldn’t believe they got nothing out of this game.

Corner after corner rained in on the Imps all of which were repulsed either by good defending or the opponent’s ineptitude, I couldn’t decide which but Aldershot must have been rocked by Charlee Adams wonder strike which set City on their way. This player seems to have some kind of force field around him which appears to give him all the time in the world, the mark of a good player and we should all be enjoying his performances while they last because he is far too good for this level. It’s tempting to say his piledriver was a once in a lifetime strike were it not for the fact that he scored a very similar one at Grimsby.

Add to Adams’ goal a cheeky dink from Ben Tomlinson latching on to a disastrous back pass header and City went into the break two up with the crowd wondering how it happened. City scored again after the break courtesy of Arnaud Mendy and that wrapped things up for the home side who then went on to dominate but strangely couldn’t add to their goal tally but they didn’t concede either which will have pleased the management as much as it pleased their supporters. It’s not often we can sit back and enjoy a carefree second half but we did and once again City delivered at home and it’s no wonder crowds are creeping up as more and more fans rediscover the pleasure of supporting their home team.

A crowd of 3000+ was in no small measure due to another club initiative to get more children to begin a lifetime of support for the Imps and after this display, slightly fortuitous as it may be after the start City made, one can only hope that the fledgling fans will be badgering their Dads to take them to another home game soon and Sincil Bank can once again become a rather fuller venue than it has been latterly.

I’m not going to knock Gary Simpson, I don’t think he was a million miles from success but this new manager is conjuring up what we all want to see at home, attacking football and to do that you’ve got to play without fear of losing, it was that fear that dogged Simpson, in the end he seemed an isolated figure, bawling at his players and suffering every kind of anguish in the technical area. There’s none of that now as City strut their stuff at Sincil Bank with a joie de vivre that rubs off on the fans all topped off with a constructive interview on the radio afterwards, David Preece this time produced a well reasoned appraisal of this latest success laced with a good dollop of enthusiasm for the game. Happy Days indeed.

If you’re reading this blog and you still haven’t ventured down to Sincil Bank to see for yourself I’d urge you to get an early bird ticket for the next home fixture and come and join an increasingly hopeful band of contented Imps as we see whether City can add yet another home victory to their tally.

Friday, 16 January 2015

City’s statement of intent.

Last week I ventured the notion that our beloved Imps might be guilty of going native in the Conference and indicating to us that they may be quite content with that league level. John Pakey of the Lincolnshire Echo set me straight on that score and assured me that was not the case.
I’ve no reason to dismiss Pakeys views, he knows a lot more of the behind the scenes goings on at Sincil Bank than I’ll ever do. This week brings news that several players will be offered contracts and those contracts will govern what will happen in the event that the team are promoted, and what will happen if they are not.

This is of course not the actions of a club content to stand still. I’m very glad to hear that. With other clubs starting to sit up and take notice of Messrs Newton and Miller in particular the fans will hope that the club will make strenuous efforts to keep their best players and what better way to let them know that you’re a club going places than a contract that envisages life at a higher level?
Miller is not on his own in appreciating what our city has to offer:-

“I do enjoy life in Lincolnshire, “I’m settled down in my personal life more now as well, which is another factor I have to take into account when it comes to my future.
“If it was just me then financially I would be alright, but now I have my partner to think about.
“It’s a difficult situation because I love the club a lot. I also feel we are going in the right direction to achieve something and that’s something I would love to be part of as I have been here a few seasons now.
“I love being here, I love the place and I love the fans. I’ve got to know fans and players on a personal level having been here a number of years now. It’s a good environment, and they are all top lads, it is something that if you ever left, it would be hard to walk away from. It is another part of why a decision can be so difficult”

This weekend we will see what our heroes are made of as they seek to recover from a difficult week but one that will ensure that their feet are planted firmly in the ground. However, it’s only one defeat on the road and the friendly loss midweek can surely be discounted. Chris Moyses remains upbeat:-

Getting them going again is not going to be too much of a problem,” said the Gaffer. “They realise how the game has panned out and they are no mugs.
“They realise with 11 men (against Eastleigh) we would have been in with a chance.
“We’ll have a chat. We’ll dust ourselves down and do the week’s work we’ve got planned. Then it’s back to business.
“What’s the point of changing anything? We have done okay with how we work and we want to keep going that way.”

Home form has been exceptional since Moyses took over and let’s hope there will be a large and enthusiastic crowd at Sincil Bank to urge them on. They deserve that surely?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Infamy infamy.

I suppose if Chris Moyses had won Manager of the Month we could have blamed that for City’s catastrophic result at Eastleigh. Maybe it was the curse of the fire that prevented the original clash taking place.

Either way it’s a reality check for all of us that the run in to the end of the season won’t be easy and certainly not if the Imps play much of the game with ten men which has been a depressingly regular occurrence this season.

Add to the red card the fact that City had no less than three penalties awarded against them (is this a record?) all of which were missed (ok then, is this a record?) you could surmise that the Imps had the Gods against them or certainly the referee. Whether they did or not I couldn’t tell you as I wasn’t there. That was one decision I got right by the sound of it.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Exciting times could be ahead for Imps.

I do hope you all buy your weekly copy of the Lincolnshire Echo. Despite the plethora of information online and the many interesting blogs to read (ahem) the Echo remains, for me, the definitive digest of information and stories about Lincoln City.

Today, online we read an extremely insightful article on Chris Moyses’ methods and his philosophy to training and man management. Reading this it’s not surprising the team are doing well and it’s no surprise Moyses is a successful businessman. I pray if success comes, and I’m increasingly hopeful it will, he sticks around so that we can all enjoy it.

Those of us of mature years will no doubt recall the joy of achieving promotion under Graham Taylor after many years of dross, only to have our manager poached from under our noses by Elton John although it did result in somewhat better times for a while.
Those times are long gone and we now languish even lower in the football hierarchy than pre Taylor. I only hope if success does come our way that Chris Moyses position at the club, being a member of the board of directors, may mean that he is more inclined to see where his talents can take him with Lincoln City.

Moyses did say if he is not successful then he will leave the club and disassociate himself with the board. I hope firstly he is not put in that position but if he is that the board and indeed the fans will recognise the tremendous uplift in spirits he has brought about already and persuade him to stay in some capacity.

Read for yourself at

Thursday, 8 January 2015

City are no longer under the radar after Barnet.

Talk about unaccustomed as I am, first Martin Allen of Barnet admits his side were well beaten by the Imps now Mariners Boss Paul Hurst is telling the Grimsby Evening Telegraph City are now a threat to his sides promotion ambitions. It’s not personal Paul, we’ll knock anyone off their perch to get a seat at the top table.

Hurst told the Telegraph :-
"A few more have come into the play-off picture in the last few weeks – including our local rivals.
"Lincoln are a threat this season – no doubt about it.
"I went to watch their game against Barnet and they played very well. Our game against them was a closer affair, and I stand by my thoughts on the day, but they've got some good players in their squad.
"They've done the double over us and now done the same to Barnet – that's not by luck.
"Listening to things coming out of their camp, they're hopeful of continuing that run, but like for all of us, they've got a lot of games to go still."

He went on: "Barnet and Bristol Rovers are the ones that everyone else has got to try and catch, but after those two, there is a massive scrap for places between everyone else.
"Wrexham, for example, went to Stoke in the FA Cup and put on a very good performance and I'm sure they'll be looking for that to kick-start them to take them up and help take closer order.
"We've got to pick up points – every single one is valuable – we know that and we've got some very big games coming up.
"There certainly aren't going to be any 'gimmies' for any team this season – that's for sure."

I said before I like the cut of our managers jib. The only problem is “Chris Moyses barmy army” hardly flows off the tongue does it?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

To buy or not to buy, that is the question.

Had a twitter chat with John Pakey of the Lincolnshire Echo on the subject of whether City need to be adding to the squad at the moment. He was of the opinion that they need not.

Pakey’s argument, which was well reasoned I thought even though I don’t particularly agree, was that City don’t run a reserve side so where would none first teamers get their matches from? Also they were doing very nicely now so why upset the applecart?

I’m still haunted by the experience, back in John Schofield’s time of being at the top of league two, failed to recruit, didn’t get promoted and it was downhill thereafter despite the efforts of a plethora of managers (this being Lincoln City) and we now find ourselves in our present lowly position albeit buoyed by a cracking Christmas haul of points.

I’m also concerned that the club give me the impression, at times that they are content where they are. Pakey assures me that’s not the case. Who am I to argue? I just think football is like being in quicksand. If you stand still you start to sink. I’m a firm believer that the time to strengthen is when you think everything is fine and dandy.

That’s why I’m a fan and not a reporter or a club chairman. We’re not supposed to know anything. I just happen to put my thoughts out there to prove the point.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Moyses outfoxes the Mad Dog.

He’s certainly good entertainment, Martin Allen, prancing around the technical area and beyond it for that matter. Gesticulating a yellow card was poor form though and he might as well mimed loading a shotgun because, after the break he shot himself in the foot by making all his substitutions at once only to find Elliott Johnson unable to continue so Barnet played much of the second half with ten men. We didn’t see much of Allen the comedian after that.

Now, hands up, who felt we had been sold a pig in a poke when Chris Moyses was appointed manager? I was one of them. Who bought into Bob Dorrians vision when he declared Messrs Moyses Brown and Preece might be “a real surprise package”? Me neither. Who is starting to think Bob was right? Well I have to admit as managerial debuts go you have to say Moyses has got off to a flyer. It’s quite late in the season to mount a challenge on the playoff spots and there’s no doubt about it City are going to have to win nearly all of their games if they’re going to make it. On the other hand they are winning nearly all their games and if you’re going to succeed in the playoffs you have to be in top form, which City are at the moment. Unlike when they achieved playoff places before.

Schoey was in the dugout for Sunday’s game, very nice to see and he’s an Imp through and through. He’s also the instigator of some of the best football we’d seen in a long time when he was manager although he couldn’t keep it up and paid the price eventually. For a lot of us fans he lost his job when the club failed to invest when the team was on the up. Speculation abounds now as to whether a couple more bodies in the squad might be beneficial now things are looking hopeful. The crowd is creeping up to the magical 3000 mark and presumably the board will be relaxed about investing if the result is a fuller Sincil Bank.

As to the game, for me Barnet showed why they are where they are at the start and after ten minutes I’d have happily settled for a draw. City however imposed themselves on the game, got a goal which I felt was slightly against the run of play and after that they never looked back, particularly after Mr Allen’s intervention. Alan Power’s effort was the pick of the crop capping a fine and deserved man of the match winning performance. When he’d good he’s very good and you could see a future well above his present status when he plays like that.

Two of my favourite players, Newton and Tomlinson seem not quite their usual selves at the moment, certainly compared to last season but that’s being ultra picky. I’d sooner have those two in my side even if they are a little bit off the pace, than not. They’re still my favourites.

All in all it feels good to be an Imp again, the footballs as good as, well Schoeys time and he’s back. We’re winning, particularly at home, crowds are getting better and it’s starting to get unthinkable to miss a match for which we should be grateful to the management and of course Mr Dorrian. There, I’ve said it.