Andrew Abbott's Blog

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Brilliant Woody calms City’s nerves.

James Caton took the plaudits including the man of the match award, as well he might after scoring the two goals that set the Imps well on their way to victory in yesterdays encounter at Sincil Bank where Southport were the visitors.

Bradley Wood caught my eye though in yet another barnstorming performance. What a signing he has been and it was his buccaneering run, straight up the middle of the park simply refusing to be deflected from his quest that underpinned the victory, the ball reached Robbie Mc Daid who duly obliged as they say.

This at a time when the game was firmly in the balance as City, having established a two goal lead courtesy of Caton then got pegged back by a Southport goal. All I can say about this player is Shrewsbury must have some amazing wingers if he is surplus to requirements. Just abandoning my rose tinted glasses for a moment Caton is surely rehabilitating himself and if the idea behind him coming to Lincoln is to get his Shrewsbury career back on track he’s giving his parent club something to think about for sure. Even if Shrewsbury don’t want him back there will be plenty of takers for his services on this evidence and whilst it would be nice to think City are in with a chance, he’s certainly enjoying his time at Sincil Bank, I can’t help but think his future lies away from Lincoln where money is not in such short supply. Good luck to him he’s certainly brightening up my Saturday afternoons.

City’s equilibrium was firmly knocked out of kilter when Louis Almond, another returning former City habituĂ© doing what former players seem to do, produced a wonder strike to put Southport firmly back in contention although it was a rare foray into City’s soft underbelly as it were but nevertheless the Imps former assuredness took a big knock.

Step forward Messrs Wood and McDaid ably assisted by Hawkridge who weren’t about to surrender City’s advantage. For me this goal encapsulated why we support our home team. Good professionals who have bought into the managers vision for the club and a goal fashioned by a very good young player who has come to Lincoln to get a game and to get his career in professional football going. The joy he demonstrated in scoring as he raced to the side of the pitch to embrace the manager who had given him his chance could not fail to be reflected in the stands as we all celebrated with him. I enjoy premiership football on the TV but give me this, the pleasure of seeing your own players and others who have thrown in their lot with us entertain us so royally. We didn’t need Alan Shearer to explain what we were watching and it left me so glad I spent my afternoon peering at our heroes through the murk at Sincil Bank.

It’s not always this way of course and that’s another aspect of supporting your team but I hope after yesterday the rent a quote regulars who are only too keen to vent their spleen on the radio when things don’t go City’s way, will reflect on a match that entertained but also demonstrated that the manager has a very realistic grip on the tactics of the game. Chris Moyses substitutions were the cement that glued this result together, I’m convinced of that.

Friday, 19 February 2016

The latest news. Nothing to report.

Chris Moyses latest press conference must have been a nightmare for the assembled hacks as he imparted absolutely nothing of any use to those who need to get something about the Imps on the page.

We started off with Rob Makepeace of BBC Radio Lincolnshire, he attempted to elicit some tit bits about Paul Farman’s uncharacteristic slip up away at Altrincham. Nothing doing, lets not talk about it. Any triallists? Nope. Any news on Conner Robinson? ‘Fraid not. No wonder there was little to read on the Echo’s website this morning although they did highlight a player who I think has impressed us all lately, Greg Tempest.

I suppose it says something about the slow start Tempest made that his contract is almost up. I’d certainly like to see him next season and he’d like to be here too as he told the Echo:-

"When I was coming back from that injury, it was pre-season and I was finding my feet again,"

"At first I wasn't in the squad because I didn't feel I was playing my best football, like I had at Notts and Boston.

"It took time, but I've been patient. I've always just got on with things. If I wasn't in the squad I never moaned. If you moan and you're a bad egg, it will just go downhill for you.

"So I just got on with it and tried to be positive about everything, as if I was playing every week, and it's paying off at the moment.

"I love playing here and the lads are great. I'd love to be here next season."

It’s Southport tomorrow and by a quirk of fate we haven’t played them yet despite the fact it’s almost March. Therefore there’s not much to say about them either but, as ever we’ll soon find what they’re about.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Having a share in the Imps.

Like a lot of people by the sound of it I responded to Lincoln City’s plea for help when the Cooperative Bank pulled the plug on the club bank account by buying some shares in the club and now I’m looking forward to my first shareholders meeting next week.

I wasn’t on my own in rallying to the cause and now, with the considerable help of our new investor, Clive Nates the clubs financial footing looks a lot rosier. I’d imagine the chairman is himself looking forward to this years meeting rather more than last.

Now Mr Dorrian is looking to boost the coffers further and, as he told shareholders, we can all help. Furthermore it won’t break the bank as the club are quite happy to sell relatively small amounts of shares. The phrase every little helps was never truer:-

"The club's financial position has improved significantly over the last 12 months and this is thanks largely to you, the shareholders and supporters," wrote the chairman.
"Last year, I wrote to you with a number of initiatives where you could help the club by investing in shares and bonds.
"You responded magnificently and a sum of £165,000 was invested in the club in the weeks after my letter went out. On behalf of the club, I give you my heartfelt thanks.

"Now the situation with the bank has been resolved and we have a new investor, it would be easy to sit back and take things a little easier.
"However, that is not something we are about to do. Chris Moyses is assembling a squad that is going to make a serious challenge to regain our Football League status.

"At the time of writing, we still have an opportunity to make that happen this season.
"Clive's investment will go a long way to helping to achieve this, but if we are going to give Chris the help he needs then we need to ask you, the shareholders, if you would be prepared to buy a few more shares to add to what you already have.
"If you don't want to buy shares, but would prefer instead to buy a bond then the club would be equally grateful.
"If we can assemble a decent war chest over the next few weeks, then we should be in the best position since relegation from the Football League to enable us to challenge for promotion.

"Lincoln City is a community club, owned by in excess of 800 shareholders, and together we can make League football a reality again.
"Every penny helps the club towards the goal of attaining Football League status."

I can tell you there is a considerable satisfaction in knowing that you are intimately involved with the Imps and when the share certificate arrived it certainly gave me a lot of pleasure, I proudly displayed my certificate in a frame on my study wall. I’m lucky that I’ve got my own little space I suppose although I would imagine there would not be too much objection if it had gone on the dining room wall. Apart from the fact that my wife does have a family connection with the club being the daughter of a former director and board member, of course Lincoln City FC does give her a nice bit of peace and quiet for a couple of hours every other Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Weekend draw was disappointing but really no need for apologies.

Chris Moyses told the press City were still in the playoff race. I’d thought in my own mind that the Imps are going to have to win the majority of their remaining fixtures to be in with a chance. Whether he’s right or I am, and I hope it’s him, as ever time will tell but if you can’t win, draw and that’s exactly what City did:-

"Things were a bit tense in the dressing room afterwards," said the Imps boss. "It did mean a lot to them to get three points.
"They will tell each other what they think of the situation and I will encourage that. We need to be honest with each other so we can understand and work on the situation.
"We might have taken a point before the game because that is a tough place to go to and Altrincham are in good form at the moment. They have got a lot to do to avoid relegation and they are going about it well.
"While it is a draw, we are still only three points outside of the play-off places, it is all to fight for."

Paul Farman also apologised for his uncharacteristic slip which led to Altrincham getting their hands on a point:-

"I want to apologise to the Imps fans who had come along to watch, because it is just so frustrating," he said.
"I was thinking 'do I take a touch? Or do I hit it first time?'. I got myself in two minds and you should not do that. Unfortunately the lad has closed me down well and I cost us the three points. I can only apologise for that.
"It is very frustrating. I think Greg Tempest deserves credit for how he got on the ball and played it back to me. I am asking for the ball, but I've taken a poor touch and I've kicked it off the lad who has closed me down.
"When this sort of thing happens you just want to get in a little hole in the middle of the pitch. The team get behind you though and I was desperate for us to score and get a winner. You are there to be fired at as a keeper, and it is part of the job."

I don’t accept that apology and by that I mean Paul Farman doesn’t need to make it. We win and lose and draw together and that includes us, the fans. When I think back to the car crash that was Farman of old, the one dispatched to Boston to get his form back, and we owe the Pilgrims a debt of gratitude there, and I think how he's rehabilitated himself and then the many times Farman has saved us from near enough certain goals I think he’s still well in credit so let’s have no more of that.

If a week is a long time in politics a fortnight is a lifetime in football.

Everybody happy? We should be as Chris Moyses has shown he is capable of pulling City out of the malaise they’d got in to and the club backed him thanks no doubt to the extra money available now that our new director is on board.

I don’t want to be thought of as a cheerleader for the sometime beleaguered Imps boss but I do get heartily sick of the merry go round that City becomes at times and I think this shoot first ask questions later approach has had the opposite effect to the one desired. City must be one of the most unsuccessful clubs around and I don’t think they’ve helped themselves over the years.

The City supremo has an easy relationship with the press, I wish some of that would rub off on Bob Dorrian, and was in ebullient mood at the weekly press conference at Sincil Bank. He has the luxury of not needing his job financially indeed it was said he was unpaid when he took it up. I don’t know whether that is still true. He’s thinking ahead though:-

"Put it this way, as soon as the season finishes, I'll be on that plane and enjoying myself for a couple of weeks,"

Moyses hasn’t given up on this season though but allowed himself to give some thought to player matters as well as that much needed holiday:-

"I'm looking to retain quite a lot more this summer. I think they deserve something because they're a great group. All the deals are in place, it just needs the chairman to sign them off.
"If we can add a little bit to the squad too, who knows where it might take us."

Matt Rhead also showed he not too shabby in the cliché department either:

"We'll just concentrate on every game as it comes. Hopefully we'll get in the play-offs, but if we don't I still think we've had a good season," he said.
"The manager has got a good group of lads together and hopefully we can have a good push next season, if we don't make it this season.
"The football we're playing at the moment is quite positive. We're going out trying to win every game. If we can do that, we'll be in the play-offs."

All this sounds a world away from the doom ladened predictions of a few weeks ago. I’m all in favour of that. Rhead was full of admiration for his new strike partner Jack Muldoon. I don’t think he’s the only one to have noticed his contributions further underlining my comments on the Liam Hearn situation. What’s that saying? Be careful what you wish for. Any more of this and it will be Liam who?

"He's doing all my work for me, which is a positive! Seriously, he's done well and he scored a good goal on Saturday and had an assist too,"
"Everyone who is willing to do that amount of work is always a positive. Liam is the same. He works hard, he gets in behind and stretches the opposition.

"I think Eastleigh were worried about him on Saturday and they dropped really deep.
"That meant I was able to take up positions where I could get the ball more often than if I was playing up front on my own."

Liam may well be the same but he’s going to have to wait some time before he gets the chance. Perhaps Barrow want to take him to get some match practice, once he’s fit of course.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Welcome to the mad house Clive Nates.

It’s the worst kept secret in Lincolnshire football and almost as long running as Crossroads but Lincoln City have now confirmed Clive Nates is on board as a director of the club and investment funds have now started to flow into the club.
The club have issued the following statement through chairman Bob Dorrian:-

"On behalf of myself and the Board, we are extremely happy to welcome Clive Nates to Lincoln City Football Club, both as an investor in the Club as well as a director in LCFC and Lincoln City Holdings, through his company Sportvest Capital LLP," said Mr Dorrian.

"It is a year since I started dialogue with Clive and his potential involvement in the Club. Happily, negotiations progressed well, culminating in today's announcement.

"Clive, like ourselves, is looking forward to helping us to achieve our goal of returning to the Football League as quickly as possible.

"In the meantime we shall look forward to seeing Clive at Sincil Bank in March, where perhaps some of you will have the opportunity to meet him. Welcome aboard Clive."

Mr Nates commented:-

"I am delighted that agreement has been reached. It has taken some time but the Club has had a number of issues to resolve and these have now been positively concluded.

"The funds introduced are relatively small in the context of teams at the top of the National League but they do provide stability for the Club and a fighting chance of achieving the success the fans desire.

"The Club still needs the ongoing support of fans and all other stakeholders, especially during difficult times, to ensure that Lincoln maintains a viable professional football club in the city.

"I am grateful for the support of Bob and the Board of Directors, of the Supporters' Trust and the vast majority of fans and hope that more exciting times lie ahead. I especially want to thank Kevin Cooke for all the hard work that has been necessary to conclude the deal."

That was a slightly cryptic comment from Mr Nates but I suppose you lose sight of the fact that football clubs, even those at our less than elevated level are relatively large businesses and there are bound to be issues to be resolved but from this blog, welcome Clive and may your involvement bring you pleasure and satisfaction.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Super Imps serve up a treat.

After last weeks jittery one-nil win over Guiseley all the talk on the radio after the game was, that’s all very well but wait till we play Eastleigh, then we’ll know if the revival is really on.

I said last week if City could just have got another goal, which would have been justified after the battering City gave Guiseley, the overall perception of the game might have been different and City might have had an easier second half. Guiseley went on to fully test the Imps in the second period so there was certainly no fluke in the result.

Inexplicably, to my red and white eyes, there were fewer at yesterdays game whereas I might have thought more would turn up against sterner opposition to see if the Imps could prevail against genuine promotion hopefuls. A good friend of mine, and a reader of this blog so I’ll choose my words carefully, sent me a text just before half time. He had been enjoying a pleasant lunch out with his wife rather than taking his usual seat in the Coop in the Community Stand. 3-0 at half time, he observed, not the smartest thing he ever did? Well, she’s a very nice lady and ordinarily I’d say fair enough but this time I didn’t pull any punches, you’ve missed the game of the season mate!

When we were chatting in the pub before the game, as you do, I think we were of the opinion that a draw would be a good result. Little did we think City would take complete command of the game and have it won by the break. Not only that, it was the nature of the performance, helped, I might say by the strong and gusty wind. City chose, I presume, to play against the wind in the first half. I don’t think I’d have gone the other way round if I’d won the toss. They were therefore required to keep the ball on the ground and what a difference it made. Once again McCombe was a steadying influence at the back although he wasn’t tested to the degree he was the week before. I must say Bush would have been my third choice partner after Waterfall and Howe but after last week he could hardly be left out and another clean sheet tells the story.

There was another good show from our on loan winger James Caton. One can only hope the way he’s playing, that Shrewsbury are either not watching or think that our level brings out the best in the player because he’s been a revelation and, after last weeks scorching effort, got one in the net yesterday in similar spectacular style.

One could go on and on after such a special display but I’ll just pose the question, where does all this leave Liam Hearn? The Muldoon Rhead partnership shows real promise. Sure Hearn slotted in well alongside Matt Rhead and I was desperate to get Hearn back but he’s injured again despite his complaints of not getting enough football. This is exactly the concern the management team had and someone else has come in and taken full advantage. Muldoon is an excellent, industrious player with a good attitude. Would you put Hearn back in at the expense of Muldoon when he’s fit again? Me neither.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Let’s hope City’s mini revival is not just a wing and prayer.

Not so long ago I’d have been tempted to give the home game tomorrow a miss and see if the good lady fancied a day out somewhere but after last week she’ll have to indulge in a little retail therapy by herself. She’d probably tell you this is not necessarily such a bad thing so it’s probably a win win situation.

The thing we all want to know is will the upturn in form continue or will it be back to a lose lose scenario. As always time will tell.

The return of Jamie McCombe certainly got Impish juices flowing and if he was listening to Friday Football on BBC Radio Lincolnshire last Friday evening he would have known he’d made the right decision coming back to Sincil Bank and be assured of a good reception which of course he received. The doom and gloom was at least temporarily suspended as fans took to their phones to text of their delight. The question was is he still mobile enough and he showed us on Saturday he was.

What got me out of my seat, apart from Chris Bushes goal was the scintillating performance of the other new boy James Caton. I’ve watched Lincoln City enough to not expect the display he gave against Guiseley every week and his chequered history of more or less constantly being out on loan gives cause for concern. Having said that, for all the criticism Chris Moyses receives I think most people will concede he knows a player when he sees one and personally I think if anyone can get the best out of a recruit it’s Moyses so I’m optimistic we may have got a find there. Caton and McCombe weren’t the only signing before the deadline so another reason not to miss the game tomorrow. Who knows we may now play with two wingers and if they can get going we could be in for a treat.

Caton was realistic about his debut but determined to make the most of his opportunity, he told the Echo:-

"I'm just grateful that the gaffer has given me this opportunity. I really enjoyed Saturday and I hope I can continue that each time I play. I have always believed in myself so I am hoping this is finally the opportunity I need to get going again.

"It is always nice on your debut to get off to a good start and I hope I can continue that. But I am not going to rest on my laurels. Yes, it was a good game, but that's at the back of my mind now and I am focussed on trying to do it again next week”

Monday, 1 February 2016

Muldoon puts aside sorrow to inspire City to a win at last.

Lincoln City finally recorded a win on Saturday as they saw off the challenge of Guiseley. That challenge was some time in coming as it seemed to me they had come to Lincoln principally to avoid defeat. All that had to change after City scored with Chris Bush nodding in a Greg Tempest corner. It’s perhaps a testament to the nature of the game that Bush told the press afterwards he didn’t realise he’d scored and was busy moaning at the referee asking for a free kick. Good job his wish wasn’t granted.

Chris Moyses surprised, if that’s the word, fans and press alike by playing no recognised strikers from the start although Robinson and the so far unseen, by me at least, Mc Daid were on the bench. The much anticipated return of Jamie McCombe meant there was no place for Waterfall in the starting eleven and Howe wasn’t even on the bench.

Bush was given the sponsors man of the match award although I could think of a couple of others I might have picked in front of him. There was very grudging acknowledgement of the win as far as the manager was concerned on the radio after the game but goodness only knows what the reaction to the team selection would have been had City lost. Moyses showed if nothing else he’s got guts and of course they didn’t lose. In fact if you’d watched that game again knowing the Imps were to hold on for the win I suspect you might see the game in a wholly different light with City giving their visitors a proper battering at one stage but failing to add to their score. Had they done so I suspect they might have produced an easier win than they did but they’re human beings as John Beck used to say and display human emotions, principally fear judging by the performance.

Having shrugged off their negativity of the first half Guiseley to their credit did give City a thorough examination towards the end. Bush got the plaudits but I think McCombes display gave City an assurance they were previously lacking, I’m really pleased to have him back. City’s most improved player, Jack Muldoon put the death of his father out of his mind and, captain for the day, gave a rip roaring performance in the lone role up front. Elsewhere I really liked the look of loanee James Caton who was a real crackerjack and so nearly capped his game with a spectacular effort which crashed off the woodwork. If that had gone in I’d still be cheering now.