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.