Andrew Abbott's Blog

Friday, 16 June 2017

A whole new ball game.

Years ago in the days of message boards which I suppose were a precursor to the digital football age we're now in I used to style myself The Impossible Dream. Behind that epithet I used to wax lyrical about the prospects for Lincoln City. At about the same time that most super of super fans, Chris Ashton used to write a column in the Football Echo under the title The Oracle of Optimism.

I don’t think either of us in our wildest, or most impossible of dreams ever imagined ourselves, having witnessed the most magisterial of promotion and championship campaigns and mulling over the implications of over 5000 season ticket holders, awaiting the publication of the football league, yes that’s right, football league fixture list with Lincoln City so favourably positioned.

Ah yes, I hear you say, but what about new signings? Well we all like to get excited about them but I’m sure news is just around the corner and in fact the Echo are reported City have had two out of three offers accepted and new signings are a possibility, subject to contract.

Any writer will tell you inspiration is the key to a good paragraph or two and what sparked this particular bout of enthusiasm is the trailer that I’m sure you’ve seen for a tribute to the season past entitled “Impossible is just an opinion”.

I’m sure older supporters pine for the old days of the Football Echo, which was a marvellous publication, on the streets an hour or so after the final whistle but there was no local radio, at least not till later and that for a lower league football fan was as good as it got as the national daily’s certainly didn’t stoop so low as the fourth division, maybe a couple of lines in the Sundays.

What struck me was the quality of the product we are now eagerly awaiting which I suppose is testament to the sheer volume of material available as City seemed to be hardly off the television and we must pay tribute, as the club do, to the fantastic cover given to us by BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

Personally I’ve gone from feeling somebody up there doesn’t like us to feeling truly blessed but as Danny Cowley has taught us the impossible is not a dream and not even an opinion. If you work hard enough and believe and stick together it can be a reality and it’s here right now.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Swan or ugly duckling?

For the blogger, not much to write about but for the loyal fan maybe no news is good news but is the lack of activity on the surface a sign that City are not going to be making significant progress or are the Cowley webbed feet thrashing furiously under the surface?

Firstly what we do know and it’s all good news. It’s a bit old now but Luke Waterfall and Callum Howe have signed extensions to their contracts, which is very positive but the big story of the close season is the season ticket sales which at 5050 for a club so recently in the doldrums is remarkable and might well put them at the top of the tree as regards season long committed support. So the fans have matched the ambition of the managers and board of directors. It’s such a pleasant change to be commenting on this harmony of outlook and, as far as I’m concerned sends a message to the managers particularly that the fans are behind them.

Of course that’s not the end of the story as there are a sizeable number of junior red Imps joining us each home game and away support will be much greater so maybe we’re looking at six, six and a half thousand average from a standing start. Personally, after averaging five thousand last season I’d be disappointed with that if it ended at that level and we’d had a decent season.

I don’t believe it will for the simple reason that the average gate is going to start off in the five or six thousands and it started at a much lower level last year. I think we’ll start to see some transfer activity come July, seeing as the football league contracts don’t end till June 30 and, if there’s inspiring news as I hope there may be we could sell a few more and there does come a point and we’re not all that far off it when spaces become at a bit of a premium and people may decide, albeit at a late stage to get a season ticket rather than miss out.

It’s worth pointing out that provision in the Stacey West Stand will have to be allowed for where a club may bring a large support and there are several of those games coming up so the club, presumably has a limit as to how many season tickets are allowed and the Stacey West situation brings the number of spaces down for home fans to something like 8200 which sounds a lot but bearing in mind the gates at the end of last season and the number of tickets allocated already, not counting complimentary tickets and other considerations the club will have to tread carefully.

Who’d have thought that would be a problem for the board to consider as they peer down from (for us) the mountain of cash they’re sitting on. I do hope you’re savouring every moment as it’s a once in a lifetime scenario for us all and unlikely to occur again.