Andrew Abbott's Blog

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Lincoln Loco steaming in a slightly different direction but in some ways not.

Farewell then Sean Long. That’s the bit of the Lincoln City story that doesn’t change. Fringe players offered a contract which they keep on the back burner hoping something better comes along. It’s a tribute to the stature of the club at the moment that usually an offer will be made as clubs seem more than happy to consider our outcasts as suitable for their first teams.

It was the same last season and of course in most cases the players go with our best wishes as we realise that, for the players the career is short and they need to be playing. We know or can be reasonably sure that replacements will be found.

They’re not advertised as replacements of course they are the players who will improve the squad and coming to Lincoln to dislodge the present incumbent. That’s understood by players and to a certain extent accepted. Until the chance of a move that is but at least they can console themselves with the fact that they were offered new contracts even if it was in a slightly half-hearted way.

I’d be surprised if Shane Long isn’t given a good reception if and when he returns to Sincil Bank. Whether that will be the case with Elliott Whitehouse remains to be seen. He has of course gone to Grimsby Town. Personally I think there has been enough business done between the two clubs lately to negate any bad feeling. The case of Nathan Arnold has highlighted that a player moving from Lincoln or Grimsby is not necessarily on a downward trajectory although my argument is questionable in view of Arnolds move to Boston United but there are other factors in play with that move. Not many clubs can expect to hang on to players who aren’t getting a game, particularly with no reserve side. The thought does occur though whether it is time for City to feature a second string? My Father used to tell me in the good old days City’s reserves played in front of gates of thousands. Could that happen again in view of the current supporter numbers?

The different direction could be a figment of my imagination but are we detecting movement away from our much derided playing system to something a little more, ahem scientific? I’d certainly like to think so. I have no problem with a simple and effective style but the better teams will easily negate those tactics and I’ve always thought the most successful teams will be fluid in their approach and able to switch things around as the circumstances dictate. Our manager is not one to let things stagnate and he is on a constant learning curve. The least effective manager will continue in the same rut convinced they are right and everyone else wrong. I don’t think ineffectiveness is a failing the Cowleys can be accused of.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Bob Dorrian.

News has emerged that Bob Dorrian has stepped down as chairman of Lincoln City FC. It’s hardly a surprise as it’s been hinted at many times.

I’ve been critical in the past, mainly of Dorrian taking to the airwaves to impart gems of news that he always managed to make sound worse than they really we’re although to be fair he’s had to preside over some very turbulent times at Sincil Bank and impart more than a little bad news.

It’s ironic now that, under his tenure the club is in as healthy a position as I can remember and I’ve been a fan for an awful long time.

It’s been well documented that Bob has kept the club afloat with large amounts of his own money. It’s typical of the man that just when he could bask in the good fortune he has been largely responsible for he would choose to stand down and let someone else take the plaudits.

I’m sure you would like to join with me in wishing Bob Dorrian well and to thank him for his stewardship of our great club. Great that is because Bob Dorrian has simply refused to let the club go down and because of his business acumen now has the possibility of going on to possibly the most succesful period in its history.

Thank you Bob. Thank you for our club. It’s down to you we still have it.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

A tale of two Cities and a Metropolitan Borough.

Now that the dust has settled on the Alex Woodyard transfer I have to admit I’m still gobsmacked that Woodyard has departed Lincoln City and particularly Danny Cowley. I saw Woodyard as Cowleys man and expected he would depart when Cowley did and to wherever Cowley went. Shows what I know.

A look at Woodyards career, pre Cowley shows a restless character failing to cement a place anywhere and only once he arrived at Concorde Rangers did a settled progression emerge. The rest we know.

I look also at the history of Lee Frecklington as I think there are similarities. There are two football clubs and one manager who keep springing to mind. Peterborough United, Rotherham United and Steve Evans. Now at the risk of being accused of getting ahead of myself, personally I’ve always seen these two clubs as of a similar size to Lincoln City although there’s no denying that both these clubs have enjoyed considerably greater success than the Imps. At the moment Peterborough have significantly less support than City, Rotherham a bit more although this could be down to stadium size. Both clubs eclipse City in the buying stakes and of course this is brought sharply into focus as Peterborough have prized away one of City’s most celebrated assets, Alex Woodyard. How has that happened?

Woodyard has said it’s the lure of league one football but I’m not so sure. Posh will have offered considerably greater wages although, somewhat mystifyingly the Peterborough chairman says Woodyard has chosen ambition over greed. What does that mean? Woodyard will have to get used to playing in front of considerably fewer supporters and nothing like the atmosphere of Sincil Bank. London Road is half a good stadium with impressive stands on one side and behind one goal. The other two sides are back to the fifties although the ground does have a nicely enclosed feel.

Lee Frecklington also found himself at Peterborough and progressed to Rotherham United where he played in the Championship. They of course are now back there. There’s no point in pretending that, attendances apart, Lincoln City are anywhere near Rotherham or for that matter Peterborough who have an owner prepared to spend big bucks to get what he wants.

Hovering over this story is the not inconsiderable figure of Steve Evans. We’ve got history of course and, for my money Evans feels he does not get the credit he deserves and the reason for this is his exploits at another of our local sides, Boston United. Now this article is not an attempt at a demolition job on Evans, he’s clearly a good manager with a proven track record of getting clubs promoted. He’s tactically astute, ruthless and with a good eye for spotting talent. What he is not is anything like Danny and Nicky Cowley.

Somewhat to our consternation, the Cowleys are about patient building, sports science, continuity. Evans is about big budgets, splashing the cash. The Cowleys see players as their boys, part of the group. To Evans players are commodities. To be used at his command. You couldn’t see Neal Eardley flourishing under his stewardship. You have to say though Evans track record stands examination but he can never get away from the image forged whilst at the Pilgrims. I think Evans will enjoy success at Peterborough United. I also say Alex Woodyard has made a big mistake going there but as ever, time will tell.