Andrew Abbott's Blog

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Back to Hearn 90 minutes.

Regular readers will know to count me in as one of the fans that would welcome Liam Hearn back to Sincil Bank for the simple reason that the loan to Barrow has been nothing but a disaster for club and player.

City have been sterile and fairly clueless up front and Hearn has played eighty minutes of football. There will be those that would not have Hearn back for all the tea in China. I want him back because I like watching him play, like his partnership with Matt Rhead but most importantly I think this team represents the best chance City have of mounting a promotion challenge.

So in the spirit of Christmas not to mention the purely selfish desire to see the Imps prosper I say lets forget the past and move on to the future.

That, I very much hope, is my last word on this unfortunate saga.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

It’s beginning to look a lot like – a typical City Christmas.

I think in our heart of hearts many of us were not expecting a particularly spectacular Christmas on the football front although no points at all was something of a nightmare scenario. The steam had gone out of the promotion push and we're waiting, or at least I'm waiting to see if our mysterious investor can come up with the wherewithal to conjure up a player or two to get things back on track. Until then we drift ever further from the sharp end of the league.

For me and I’m sorry if you’re getting bored of this, the malaise can be traced back to Liam Hearn deciding his future lay in the soggy north west and with that went our hopes too. Matt Rhead, formerly that strutting peacock looks a frustrated, even forlorn figure as he desperately tries to recreate his goal scoring and goal providing form. A combination of a lack of an effective partner and the various oppositions working out a plan to annul his potency have put paid to the Imps express, at least for the moment.

I’ll comment on the home game against Halifax as I was at that game and I’m afraid this was one of the poorest City efforts I’ve seen in a long time. Whether the team were following management orders or they went out and did their own thing that performance was unacceptable. I don’t pay my money to watch a team of full time professionals kick the ball as hard as they can with the wind behind them, anyone can do that. As it happened, Halifax, no great shakes themselves, managed to dredge up a moment of quality and the game was over as a contest. All this in front of a bumper Boxing Day crowd many of whom would have been returning fans come to see what all the fuss was about. They went home thinking nothing had changed.

I hesitate to criticise the manager, I think he’s worked wonders but if those were his instructions, football expert that I am, they were wrong and if they weren’t his instructions I trust he’s made his views clear. One thing I will say though, I understand the sack the manager mob were back on BBC Radio Lincolnshire over the Christmas period and if they can’t recognise Chris Moyses is the best chance Lincoln City have of returning to league football I feel very sorry for them. Very sorry indeed.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Performers waiting in the wings will be left there after BPA.

I dare say there is a constant queue at Chris Moyses door of bit part players wondering when they are going to get their chance. After tumbling out of the FA Trophy at the first time of asking I would imagine the manager will have a ready answer to that.

The Trophy, in my humble opinion was a winnable aspiration for a club like Lincoln City and I think the manager was of the same opinion. Granted he did leave a few regulars out but those that played were all squad players and should have provided sufficient opposition to Bradford Park Avenue and really should have progressed.

Moyses is in the Echo today bemoaning the attitude displayed last night and I’m not going to comment on the performance as I wasn’t there, not many were, that’s not the point. They had their chance and threw it away as the song goes.

Some of these players who no doubt strutted around the humble home of BPA as if they only had to turn up to win ought to be aware that playing for a full time club and not having to go to work is something Bradford’s players would give their eye teeth for and unless they learn to be a good deal more professional in their dealings with lower placed opponents they might well find themselves being rather more acquainted with the likes of Park Ave than they imagined.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Lincoln City and Barrow supporters pay good money to watch a man blow a whistle a lot.

That was the way it seemed returning home from the latest instalment in City’s quest to escape from their self-inflicted exile from the league. I’m not normally one to place too much emphasis on the influence or otherwise of the referee on a match but this one, to be topical, was a turkey.

Referees, as I’ve said more than once in this blog, do not win or lose matches, the responsibility for failing to secure three points from the encounter at Sincil Bank must rest squarely with the Imps but the match was ruined as a spectacle by an inept performance from the man in the middle.

Worse still and I’ve seen this before Alan Young (for it is he) subscribed to the view that a team should be allowed to do pretty much as they pleased for about ten minutes then the pendulum would swing and it would be the others turn. The problem with this is the team getting the benefit of virtually all of the decisions is going to come to the conclusion that they can do as they want so it really was no surprise that Wilmer-Anderton went off towards the end of the game for an appalling tackle on Keegan Everington.

City did not help themselves having gone in to a two goal lead courtesy of a wonderful bicycle kick from Matt Rhead, you don’t see that standard of football often at this level, then committed the cardinal error of conceding whilst still celebrating and, needless to say a penalty was awarded later and Barrow were level. I suppose I would say this wouldn’t I but I doubted the penalty. Having witnessed the standard of Mr Youngs refereeing I really doubted it but there you go. 2.2. I hope we don’t regret it.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Hearn rumpus rumbles on in the absence of any football.

Liam Hearns desire for more football has certainly come unstuck as he was firstly hauled off after 80 minutes of his first game for Barrow and then had to sit Barrows trophy game out as he was not allowed to play and now must now miss Saturdays game at Sincil Bank as he is not allowed to play in that either.

The situation would not have been any different had he stayed put as City’s game at Bradford was called off but he would surely have started against Barrow this weekend and the loan is over just after Christmas. Will he be back? I said previously I’d be prepared to overlook the perceived slight for the sake of the promotion push but whether the player would want to come back to face the distain of both Imps fans and some players, not to mention the manager who also expressed his dissatisfaction at the players attitude.

In my view the manager would sacrifice his pride if he thought the players return would aid the team in their effort to gain promotion and I think if the promotion fairy were to visit fans in the dead of night and offer them success if we took him back any objections would rapidly disappear. Having said all of that I don’t really expect to see Hearn in a City shirt again which is a great shame. I think the club were doing a good job in resurrecting a previously injury ravaged career and we were starting to see the real Liam Hearn. Cynics among you might say we’re seeing the real Hearn in this episode. I offer no opinion on that subject.

All this conjecture can’t replace actual football and those who advocate a mid-winter break would see for themselves the, for my money, folly of such an idea. The break, if it came would surely coincide with Christmas time and we are basking if that’s the word in unseasonal temperatures. Not as balmy as some would have it but nevertheless frost free at night and only cold enough for a light coat . One can just imagine the break comes to an end and with it the onset of winter in all its fury. Short of playing in the summer, which I think would also be inappropriate, I can’t see an argument for a change.

One other aspect of a mid season break would be the consequent falling off in interest and also, for clubs like City, doing well, the fear that momentum will be lost. We’ve had our little break and I’m ready for football.

Let’s hope fans are too and not seduced by the lure of the shops. Personally my view is, shops, football, it’s a no brainer.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Up for the er Trophy.

So, City are in knockout competition this weekend, something the Imps usually take at face value and normally manage to get knocked out fairly rapidly. Anyway it’s against Bradford Park Avenue and the only facts I can give you is that they were once a league club and I met their chairman in a hotel in North Devon once. Chris Moyses says City could do with a run in the trophy, we’ll see.

On to matters uplifting and the mystery investor is revealed as Clive Nates, a South Africa based Imps nut. The Echo tracked him down in the southern hemisphere:

"The intention is to help Chris during the January transfer window, if he needs it," Nates, told the Echo
"Even if everything is not 100 per cent done. I think we are so close, it's only formalities that could hold it up.
"And if there was a technical reason holding things up, I would certainly be prepared to advance the first instalment before it had been completed."

"When I first approached Bob, the intention was £200,000 a year over five years," he added.
"But it's difficult to make a long-term commitment because a lot of things can happen.

"Maybe I'll realise it's not for me, maybe they won't like me as a partner, all sorts of things can get in the way.
"But at this point there is a firm intention on my part to put in money for a number of years and hopefully I'll still be involved beyond on that."

He’s also an Everton fan, which we’ll gloss over and I’m not totally sold with those sentiments but let’s approach matters with an open mind. It’s certainly a nice change for us to be contemplating strengthening in a meaningful way, particularly after the Liam Hearn episode.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Thinking the unthinkable.

I remember retweeting a comment Liam Hearn made, he said partnering Matt Rhead was “pure joy” which I thought bode well for the promotion push. It just goes to show what a disingenuous world football is although I’m quite prepared to believe that he did feel like that then and got disillusioned later.

Hearn’s beef was that he wasn’t playing 90 minutes and I found myself conjecturing lately whether the two main strikers relationship may in fact be rather more akin to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg because of course Rhead does usually play the whole game.

I certainly believe the loan transfer to Barrow has had a detrimental effect, City’s mini slump cannot be denied, and it’s a question of what has caused it. I think it’s the Hearn episode even though Chris Moyses handled it as well as could have been expected. The Imps defeat at the hands of Woking would have been nothing out of the ordinary a few weeks ago but more recently City have been sweeping such outfits aside.

Hearn’s wish has, you might allow yourself a moment of mirth here, not been accomplished, having been taken off after 80 minutes of his first outing and not playing at all last weekend, not that there’s anything remotely amusing about what’s happening up in the north west at the moment. The fact that he did not and still hasn’t played 90 minutes might result in the player reappraising his treatment by City. Most of us I’m sure were of the opinion that Hearn’s feather bedding to be the result of careful planning by the City management with a view to him playing much more than he has previously.

I firmly believed that when Hearn went out on loan we would not see him again in red and white. I still believe that but if there is any possibility of getting the player back and I can believe this will be anathema to most City fans, I think we should accept him back for the sake of the team.

Is that controversial enough for you on a Monday morning?

Friday, 4 December 2015

The life and times of an Imp.

It’s certainly true that when things aren’t going well there’s usually a big queue of bad news at the door waiting to get in but is the reverse the case?

How many times have we seen a successful team come to Sincil Bank, play terribly and return home with all the points due to some misfortune or other. However there was one game I remember against Swansea, how we’d like to be battling it out against them, Swansea were fighting to avoid the drop out of the league and had been battering us but couldn’t score. At ninety minutes plus a few for injury time City won the game when the ball went in off someone’s backside.

Well City are themselves enjoying one of those all too rare seasons of relative success, not counting last weeks blip and I turn my twitterfeed on to read not only have the club been negotiating for a considerable time with a substantial investor and are 99.9% sure the investment will come to fruition but have also come to an arrangement with the Coop Bank so that the threat of immediate foreclosure has receded.

Bob Dorrian was conciliatory in his remarks about the bank, rather more than I could have managed I must say:

"I think the Co-op Bank have been quite good about it in the end and done what they can to help us.

"All in all, it's a good solution for both parties."

Well I’ll take Bobs word for it but the fact remains, if you read the article on the Echo’s website the Imps are now committed to repay £25000 off the debt per year until the debt and interest are paid off. Money that the club can barely afford and, presumably this will place City at even more of a disadvantage when compared to the moneybags outfits in our league. I wonder if Mrs A would mind if I did my bit by buying a few more shares?

On balance though I'm sure we should treat this as good news as we await details, if they are forthcoming, of the mystery investor. I suppose it’s too much to hope that someone from the area has won the euromillions?