Andrew Abbott's Blog

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

End of term report: Must do better.

There we are then. The final home game finished with a loss, a completely avoidable loss but one which sums up the Imps season. Press press press, defensive lapse (x2) and City are chasing the game. They emerge from the break, no doubt with the managers words ringing in their ears, get level in a spookily similar fashion to the way they went behind, press for the winner but instead concede. The youngsters in the corner couldn’t even summon up the enthusiasm to run on to the pitch at the end, not that I’m condoning that. I don’t like to see it at all.

The player of the season awards went the way they were expected although I almost didn’t see them due to a typical City mix up that left the prepaid ticket hut unmanned and someone telling people they had to go for a ticket at the office rather than paying cash. Of course they could have done, the turnstiles were deserted and a playoffs style queue built up outside the office.

It was an entertaining enough game. Much as I tell myself I ought to get real I still smart from getting beaten at home by the likes of Woking and, reflecting on the season as a whole, discounting Saturday where I can see us either upsetting the odds or on the end of a pasting, only marginal progress in our quest of no longer having to play the Wokings of this world. One can only hope that the presence of Clive Nates, our major investor, at the interviewing table might produce an improvement on previous appointments to the hot seat, it can hardly be any worse than in the past.

I’m ending the home season on a downbeat note, sorry for that but as I’ve said previously there are grounds for hope. A new manager can come into the job with at least part of the groundwork done and a decent squad to start work on. I’ve always tried to support the manager and, despite what you may surmise from my words the board too for that matter, always recognising what a difficult job they have.

On reflection, although I’ve said on previous occasions I’d have liked the manager to stay. What with this present alarming loss of form and slump in points gathering, maybe the enforced change in manager will turn out to be a good thing for all concerned. We must just hope that the reasonable state of the club financially and squad wise will produce a better calibre of applicants for the manager’s position and finally someone will emerge capable of galvanising the club and the supporters and give us all something to cheer about. As I’ve said the foundations are there and there must be many potential fans trudging around town of a Saturday afternoon looking for something more stimulating to do. Despite my mood at the moment and occasional acerbic pronouncement I can still recommend Sincil Bank as a far better prospect than the shops and probably a lot cheaper in the long run.

Friday, 22 April 2016

A man for all season.

So here we stand, last home game of the season almost upon us, once again it’s a case of what might have been but, for me a bit of an improvement. I’m trying not to think of what might happen on the actual last day of the season although, with promotion secured maybe Cheltenham may take their foot off the gas. Maybe.

We now turn our thoughts to the player of the season, to be awarded tomorrow before the game against Woking. The Echo have announced their player of the season. Theirs is quite scientific as the points are awarded after each game so it’s a long term view. If you’d taken a vote three or four months ago Matt Rhead would have been your man or Liam Hearn maybe as these two fine players tore off into the heights with some fantastic performances.

Rhead has faded a bit for my money, which is why I didn’t vote for him. Obviously with a player of that type teams are going to learn how to negate him but it’s been a special season from him and I thank him for his industry and skill, I really enjoyed his performances.

I just want to mention next a group of players who have enthused me and made it an pleasurable season but I start with a man who could have been in the frame had he had a bit longer in his role and that player is Jack Muldoon. Jack has been a shining beacon and a wonderful discovery for us. Again, he’s lit up the winter. James Caton, Terry Hawkridge, Greg Tempest, Jamie McCombe, Lee Beevers. You are all mentioned in dispatches. Brilliant seasons from all of you, in whole or in part.

So now we come to the man I voted for but starting with the man I didn’t and the reason why. In my heart Bradley Wood is my player of the season and he will receive the Echo’s trophy tomorrow. He’s been inspirational. Any notion that an Ex Mariner will not do the business for City have been firmly refuted. Combative, skilful, energetic, committed I could go on and on. Wood has been superlative and I would clap my hands raw if he won as I think he will. Why didn’t I vote for him? Discipline. He saw red once too often. I’m really disappointed I didn’t feel able to vote for him.

So who got my vote? Paul Farman. Despite being exceptional all season, just one noticeable clanger, just one, this most improved of keepers now enters the annals of City’s greatest in my view but I think, probably because he’s been so consistent he’s become almost a forgotten figure. Not by me though. I hope we can see a bit more of you Paul before you go on to bigger and better things.

I thank all the players for their efforts, I’ve really enjoyed this season. There’s not one player I have thought is a weak link although we could have done without a certain episode and without that episode I think Mr Moyses would have been looking for a new managing director for his business. I thank him too.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The season’s nearly over. How will we manage?

I must confess, unusually for me I’ve been rather more taken with the epic battle at the top of the Premier League than I have with the Imps lately, the season having rather petered out on us. It’ll be the Tour De France soon and to quote terminology from that race, which I’m a big fan of, City have come to a halt at the side of the road having entertained thoughts of glory at one time only to realise that our fate is the broom wagon that scoops up those that have tried but failed.

On the other hand the battle for the top league is reaching a white hot crescendo and Spurs cranked the heat up on Leicester last night with a comprehensive demolition of Stoke City. It’s going to be Leicester or Tottenham, surely a win win for any neutral fan and something of a black eye for the despots who have put their millions in to the supposedly only teams in with a shout. How we laughed.

Of the two my eye is on Leicester, not out of any particular loyalty, I remember being part of a very large contingent of Imps at Filbert Street in, I presume the League Cup but it could have been the FA. City were giving as good as they got when one of the Leicester players was caught unawares by a slight gust of wind and went down in the penalty area. You either know or can guess what happened next, so I’ve no affinity but, as a fully paid up member of the Lincolnshire is in the East Midlands as opposed to oop north proclivity, they’re sort of local, at least from where I am in the west of the county so my hopes are with them but if not, Spurs will do just as well and it all bodes well for the Euro’s with both sides significant English team content.

As for us Imps all we’ve got to go on really is the evolving story of the new manager although this usually provides some entertainment and an awful lot of conjecture. I’m not sure I can believe some, well one in particular name being bandied about anyway, being cryptic, for those who think they know who I’m on about, we’ve been down that road haven’t we?

It’s very easy for us to be dismissive of City’s recruitment policy. I thought Steve Tilson was a good appointment, after all his Southend side had recently scuppered us at Cardiff. Similarly I welcomed Gary Simpson although I wasn’t so sure about David Holdsworth. Furthermore the Echo quoted our new investor Clive Nates where he expressed the hope that the right man at the helm might inspire more investment into the club, who knows?

I have to confess I struggle to see the bright new dawn here, I’d much rather Chris Moyses had given it a go for another season but he didn’t. In any case the Moyses out bandwagon had started to gain membership so maybe it’ll all turn out for the best, got to be a first time surely?

Sunday, 10 April 2016

City in the shop window.

I suppose the interesting thing about yesterday’s game was to put yourself in the shoes of any watching prospective managers given the fact that the match did not affect the relegation situation or, mores the pity promotion. That’s provided you’re a Lincoln City fan of course. Chester have a nervous eye on the scrap at the bottom and the result did not do them any favours. Chester probably regard themselves as a little hard done by having hauled themselves back into the game but found themselves a man short when Hannah limped off, the team having used all their substitutes and had to see out the remainder of the game with ten men. City got their winner during that period.

City of course have been on a far from brilliant spell themselves lately although I didn’t really see any signs of dejection, a feature, I think of the Moyses tenure, he certainly seems to have given the players belief. So any onlooking prospective occupier of the hotseat did not survey the usual rag bag collection of underperforming players when a managerial change is called for although many will say for the quality of squad City have underperformed.

Chris Moyses has said that the Imps are more or less the finished article, a few minor adjustments here and there and away we go. I don’t know about that but with the prospect of a bit of money in the bank and a decent collection of talent things could be a whole lot worse for the incoming man. As to who took the eye, I’m not too bad at identifying the eventual winner of the man of the match award normally but I struggled to find anyone who had been outstanding. One player I was mightily impressed with though was Matt Rhead. He played too much of a cameo role to be considered for man of the match but I thought he threw himself into the match and really put himself about with no hint of a sulk having found himself on the bench. I liked that very much.

It’s tempting to say City have resolved their defensive woes, they certainly have some decent defenders but, once again we saw those frailties at the back so work to do there for sure. It didn’t help that McCombe was out of course. Plenty to admire though, City do have some stylish performers so just a case of a bit of polish and iron out those clangers? If only life was that simple.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Moyses no more.

Well he said he would if he felt he was no longer taking the club forward and now Chris Moyses has announced he will step down at the end of the season.

Those who have clamoured for this moment now have their way. Personally I would say be careful what you wish for.

I’ve found Moyses a breath of fresh air. Granted this season has tailed off as did last but in terms of the general level of football at home I’ve been very satisfied and the standard of players brought in has been very good.

I don’t believe there has been that much of a clamour for a change but the danger with appointing someone whose motivation is not the wages, Chris Sutton was another, the likelihood is that they will walk away rather than soldier on.

There are always voices for change whenever things don’t go entirely to plan and there’s no doubt progress was not rapid but I’m still full of regret that Moyses will no longer be in the dugout next season.

I’d like to thank Chris Moyses for his efforts, for some great performances and for some great players brought in and for running a very professional outfit in terms of fitness, man management and tactical knowledge. I really do mean that.