Saturday, 29 April 2017
Goodbye National League.
You only had to turn your radio on for Friday Football on BBC Radio Lincolnshire last night to realise a sea change has taken place at Lincoln City. Despite the fact that this is a meaningless fixture at the end of the season City were installed in their team hotel having trained at Everton. The Imps have sold what I would imagine to be well over 2000 tickets for our farewell to the National League giving relegated Southport a nice payday before summer.
I previously cringed at Bob Dorrian’s radio pronouncements now I hang on his every word as he details City’s desire to get into the championship after umpteen years. In fact this period corresponds exactly with my own supporting career. The championship was where City were when my Dad first took me and we’ve never been near since. That’s not entirely true as a manager who is still attending games, Colin Murphy who, for the benefit of younger readers coined the phrase “Deranged Ferret” and regained City’s league status the first time the Imps were dumped out almost did it. I checked Colin’s Wikipedia entry and it didn’t make anything of it but I’m sure he got the club to within a whisker of the championship needing either a point or a win at Fulham to go up.
So to all those fans who doubt this is an achievable aspiration I point to that time. Now City are an oasis of calm with club and supporters in complete harmony and the city council organising an open top bus celebration. Then the clubs board were basically at war and the council regularly beseeched by the fans to rescue the impoverished Imps. If they can almost do it in those circumstances they certainly can now.
As we sign off this wonderful season we look forward with relish to the next. We’re promised a pleasant surprise when the season ticket details are announced. So far this announcement has not materialised but when it is I predict another rush to the box office. Long may this continue. In praising the ticket office staff, as I do, the prospect of another onslaught as fans clamour for season tickets must be a bit dispiriting but as we head for the summer the prospect of much work to do is a lot better than the prospect of none, which is the fate, I suspect of many football clubs in these uncertain times.
I did think, following the gaining of the league title last Saturday City might tail off and lose their remaining two games but the “lizards” performance at Maidstone suggests the Imps may sign off in style. One things for sure there will be plenty of joyful city slickers there to witness it.
So we say farewell to the National League, it’s been er…. an experience.