Andrew Abbott's Blog

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Lincoln City making an extraordinary season the norm.

I had an exchange with a fan on social media in the week, you know the sort of thing, letting our imaginations run away with us a bit but we finished the chat agreeing on one thing. This is not a normal season for the Imps and these are possibly once in a lifetime opportunities for we supporters, anyone connected with the club in fact.

For other clubs these times may be commonplace, not for us. I had a family member connected with the club, at boardroom level and I’m a shareholder. City’s problems have rarely, if ever, been about how to fit more fans in the ground, how to make sure the toilets flush as there are that many people using them, how to get the irrigation system to function properly for much the same reason.

City’s history, for those who have had to grapple with such matters, has been to do with lack of cash, attracting the right players and managers or having to make do with personnel who weren’t up to the job but were all the club could afford or persuade to come to Sincil Bank. Get bums on seats. Historically the board and management have had to be concerned with keeping the club afloat rather than ensuring a promotion bid comes to fruition. Even when the club had the players to achieve success finances have got in the way. Even great managers such as Graham Taylor and Colin Murphy have felt the cold wind of reality blowing away their aspirations.

Yesterdays win at Cheltenham underlined the sea change that the Cowley revolution has brought to our lives. Like me you probably thought oh yes, well we were expected to win there as indeed we were but that wasn’t the case last season, in fact we have rarely prospered there. Yesterday I read a Grimsby Town fan bemoaning their fate (yes I know, sorry) stating it was not the managers fault, years of neglect had led to their lowly position, the club train at a cricket pavilion on one and a half pitches. Well that was us last season.

As our team prepare for games at their state of the art elite performance centre and stay in a hotel whenever the manager deems it necessary, training at some high end venue or other and don’t have to rely on a wealthy benefactor helping them out it’s worth reminding ourselves this is Lincoln City, the new kids on the block when it comes to success. The ones with the FA Cup run, the Wembley winners, the ones the opposition manager has to think up his excuses well before the match because he knows almost certainly he’s going to need them. This is the reality of the moment.

Doesn’t it feel wonderful?

Saturday, 29 September 2018

City head west to spa with Cheltenham

Every game is a battle for Lincoln City now and by the sound of their manager that is exactly what Cheltenham have been told to expect from the Imps. Excuse me while I yawn.

If that’s the limit of Cheltenham’s scouting information then they may get rather more than they bargained for, the last time I looked City were featuring a rather more measured game these days but, as they wish however it will take more than readiness for a battering ram approach. I rather wish I’d put a line through the gardening diary now and gone to see for myself.

Plenty will make the trip though as the advance ticket sales testify and it’s a journey I’ve made myself more than a few times and never with any noticeable success either but I’ve got a feeling this will not be a wasted journey for those of us of a red and white hue this time and it will take more than resolute defence to keep the Imps at bay.

After last Saturdays extraordinary last gasp winner at Sincil Bank I expect nothing less from the Imps today. Lets hope they don’t leave it quite so late though.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

City close to being kicked out of the Checkatrade Trophy.

If you create a separate disciplinary system for a competition meaning any yellow cards are not counted against league matters do not be surprised if teams exploit that fact. Add into the mix an ineffective referee and a bit of local rivalry and you get last night’s foul fest at Sincil Bank.

As a spectacle it wasn’t a bad game and separate system or not one would presume the FA will want a word about the sheer number of yellow cards racked up by Mansfield in the first half. O’Connor saw red in the second but that was almost an irrelevance.

With fans boycotting the competition because of the perceived undertones of it you’d think the time would be right for a rethink. The fact that Mansfield don’t have a game at the weekend and City do and of course City are sitting pretty at the top of the division meant that the two clubs had a different outlook on the game. I don’t think anyone present at Sincil Bank last night were surprised to see Lee Frecklington go and get some tracksuit bottoms to keep warm on the bench and John Akinde remain seated. In any event the Imps are not out of it yet.

For all that I enjoyed it. There was a strange atmosphere with the usual vocalists absent, it was a decent crowd, 4200 which many clubs would be delighted with in the league but there seemed little in the way of fervour from the assembled Imps, perhaps it was the absence of our favourite Scotsman.

So there you are. City live to fight another day. Whether they do remains to be seen.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

City still top and showing no sign of losing their grip.

Could Lincoln City spend virtually the whole season on top of league two? Surely not. This last two weeks I’ve looked at the opposition, firstly Notts County and yesterday Exeter City and wondered, is this the week the wheels fall off?

I was convinced the Magpies would use the momentum of the local derby to resurrect their season and rescue their beleaguered manager. No such misfortune. City strolled it and Kevin Nolan was sacked in the morning. The change didn’t do them good, they lost again, to Forest Green Rovers. Maybe another star on the shirt come the end of the season? Let’s hope not.

Yesterday I wondered if the previously superior Exeter City would be the ones to knock the Imps off their perch. I listened to the game on the radio. It sounded like they too were swatted away like some pesky fly.

On to Tuesday and Mansfield come to town. Remember them? I really enjoyed all the Checkatrade Trophy games last season and will enjoy our defence of the Trophy we so memorably won at Wembley. Mostly I’ll enjoy it because we have absolutely nothing at stake. We could win it, that would be nice but not as nice as winning it for the first time or maybe we won’t and that won’t matter because we have something far more important to occupy ourselves with.

City are top of league two and look to stay there at least until a bigger stronger better organised team take away our crown.

From where I’m standing I can’t imagine who that may be.