Monday, 13 March 2017
So the great FA Cup adventure is at an end. No more the scanning of the Sunday papers to see extensive coverage of Lincoln City’s exploits. The headlines said something like the fairy-tale ends. Except that, as far as we’re concerned we hope it’s just the beginning. I’m very confident that the club will use the proceeds of this run in the cup to cement our future and if we can get promoted and it’s a big if, we could re-enter the league in very good order, with a squad of players capable of continuing the progress made and, in contrast to many clubs, a comparatively wealthy outfit. I never thought I’d hear myself say that.
We chose the special train arrangement, not necessarily the quickest way there and back but great fun which started off at Lincoln Central Station where there was a very large gathering of Imps awaiting this and the other trains bound for the capital. When it arrived it looked more Hogwarts Express than HS2 but it was clean and comfortable enough. There was a sense of anticipation on the train and thankfully no rowdiness. I’m getting a bit old for shenanigans.
Down at Arsenal I’ve got to give credit where it’s due we were met with friendliness and respect wherever we went, at the station, at the stadium (and what a stadium) in the bars, it was a first class day out.
I thought, despite the final result the Imps did us proud and once again, for most of the first half more than held their own. If Nathan Arnolds run had produced a goal if they had just held out to half time if, if, except they didn’t and once they went behind that was that.
We’ve quickly established ourselves as a noisy crowd par excellence. I’ve never heard us make that sort of racket for such a prolonged period of time. Compare that to the home fans, well there is no comparison. However, I do have to say, like at Ipswich the Gooners were very generous with their applause for our team and the players were very generous with us fans, they gave us a day to remember for the rest of our lives.
Back to Finsbury Park after the game there was a bit of a delay awaiting our train but soon enough an announcement was made that it had left Kings Cross (platform 9 and three quarters presumably) and we were on our way back to Lincoln.
I felt nothing but pride reading those papers on Sunday morning and those same papers were fulsome in their praise for the team, for the Cowleys, for the club and for us fans.
So not the end for us, maybe the end of the beginning but I don’t think I’ve ever been as confident that Lincoln City can use the proceeds of this cup run wisely and we will still be feeling the benefit of it for seasons to come. To hear Bob Dorrian talking about the possibility of City once again playing at championship level after all these years fills me with hope. If they could achieve that we will look back to this season, the one where it all started as the best ever.
Football fans always have hope. For me as an Imp I was starting to wonder if this sort of thing happened to other fans not me but now it is us and maybe when I do hang my scarf up City will have got back to where it all started for me, in the championship. It’s a dream but they’re starting to come true for us.