Andrew Abbott's Blog

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Fly me to the moon.

What odds, would you say on Lincoln City playing in the prem in the foreseeable future. Ten thousand to one? A million to one? The answer, you may be surprised to learn is ten to one.

Those odds can say anything you want. Either the bookies think there is a realistic chance of the Imps continuing their journey to the ultimate goal or more likely they couldn’t give a monkeys so don’t want to get us all excited. It’s as good a time as any to pose the question just how far can this adventure take us?

Chris Ashton believes City can be restored to “their rightful place”, the championship. Most would find it hard to believe that City are not at least destined for league one. I’d have thought historically our rightful place would be right where we are now although I can remember, as can Mr Ashton, that Lincoln City did play, for several seasons at the second tier of English football. It has to be said though that the second level, in the days when I started my football watching career, involved just the one promotion, there being just the three divisions, with a north and south third division.

Putting it in perspective the population of Lincoln in the fifties was in the seventy thousands not the almost one hundred thousand now.The conjoined suburbs of North Hykeham and Bracebridge Heath and other areas surrounding the city boundary were mere ribbon developments and not the large populations they hold today, so lets say the Lincoln urban area was eighty thousand then and it’s more like one hundred and fifty thousand now. Would that be enough to sustain championship football?

I’ve written many times that the board of directors these days must wrestle with problems that their predecessors would have given their eye teeth to ponder. How far do we go with stadium improvements? Do we move? Is it all sustainable? One thing you can be sure of. No football club ever prospered by standing still and Lincoln City are not planning on doing so. By the same token no one knows whether the current interest in the Imps will survive the departure of the Cowleys. What would be the effect on crowds should the Imps achieve further promotion?

You would expect surely that they will increase should be City playing in the league above next season, both in terms of more interest in watching better opposition and those opponents bringing more fans with them. I don’t think there can be any doubt City would be in the mix as regards average gates in the higher division, towards the top end I’d imagine. Thereafter who knows? With a bigger and more enthusiastic supporter base than we’ve had at any time since I started going to Sincil Bank, with a few exceptions I’d like to think we’d not be entirely dwarfed. In any event even a few seasons at that lofty position would achieve, for me a dream I’ve harboured more and more the older I get.

One club that achieved just that, in fact almost got to the promised land at the top of English football were our opponents this weekend, Cambridge United. Admittedly that was under the guidance of our old friend John Beck and if they had reached that goal the “welcome” afforded by fellow fans would have been curmudgeonly I’d have thought such was the general disapproval of his methods, gamesmanship, long ball tactics and desire to win at all costs when those wins were achieved by staying just within the rules. Some people don’t like to see a club rise above the station their fellow fans imagine to be their place in the football firmament.

Does all this sound at all familiar?

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