It’s all getting a bit tense isn’t it? Since recovering our form with fine displays against Southport, Eastleigh and Aldershot we seemed to have slipped somewhat, and once again the anti Moyses brigade are having their say loud and clear.
They’re saying four wins in twenty four is relegation form. They’re right. They’re saying the squad as it sits at the moment can not get us promoted. They’re right. They’re saying we have an inexperienced manager. They’re right again. They’re saying a 2-0 defeat at Bromley simply isn’t acceptable for a club like Lincoln City and to a degree they’re right.
Let me deal with one point that is beginning to grate on me a little. People say we are a club that should be challenging for promotion, a club that deserves to be higher than this tin pot league. Firstly in my opinion we did challenge for promotion this season, and we’ve fallen away due to a combination of injuries and trying out different things, but I’ll come back to that. However we have no divine right to be above the Bromley’s and Dover’s of this world simply because we have over a hundred years football league experience and they don’t. In 2016 we are their equals, whether they get 500 or 5,000 fans they have earned the right to be in this league and we have earned the right not to be a league club. They may be pub teams to us, they may be the sort of teams we used to enjoy seeing pulled out the bag in the first round of the FA Cup but they are now our equals. Harsh reality check number one.
I don’t think it’s any surprise that the smaller clubs that are succeeding are from the south of the country. I think it’s easier to attract a better quality of low paid player in and around London than it is to get them to come to us. We can’t offer league football now and therefore players like Ricky Miller can stay closer to home and play the same level as we can. The great training ground we wasted money on under the previous chairman isn’t a draw anymore and we’re out on a limb in a county with one motorway, and that leads to Grimsby. Harsh reality check number two.
Yes Bob Dorrian was the chairman who presided over our relegation season, but the harsh reality check number three is without his leadership we wouldn’t have a football club now. That is fact. Despite rumblings of discontent and rumours of investors turned away, that is simply rumour. You can blame Bob all you like but he has saved this club, and in this writers opinion he saved it from the mess created by Steff Wright’s administration. That’s a blog for another time. That’s the reality of where we are today. We’re a non league club with only our ground and former status to attract players, indebted to a man whom fans take for granted and the equal of teams we used to look forward to drawing in the FA Cup. That isn’t Chris Moyses fault.
Onto the present day, those four wins in half a season and the recent poor form. It seems a lifetime ago we were unlucky to lose away at promotion chasing Tranmere doesn’t it? We turned in a decent display there in front of the cameras and the mood afterwards was good. There was hope for next season, youngsters like Eliot Hodge had acquitted themselves well and with a few additions we’d be a force to reckon with next season. Now we’ve lost 2-0 to Bromley and the policy of trying the kids is suddenly foolish and we don’t have a squad anywhere near good enough to compete next season. Eight days that took. Eight days. I’ve had a splinter in my thumb that lasted longer than the optimism from last weekend.
Let me list some names for you. Paul Farman. Jamie McCombe. Bradley Wood. Alan Power. Terry Hawkridge. Jack Muldoon. James Caton. Matt Rhead. In my opinion at least one if not more of those players would fit into any team in this league. Cheltenham wouldn’t turn down Jamie McCombe. Forest Green would find a place for Bradley Wood and I know the Cods would love to see Alan Power in the black and white. This squad is not that bad and it hasn’t become that bad in the space of eight days. The squad is depleted thanks to the likes of Liam Hearn bottling it, and it was always a little short from the start of the season anyway. My own personal view is that if Liam Hearn had stuck around in December then we’d probably have something like ten wins from twenty four as a minimum, and twelve/fifteen more points would see us tucked in nicely. However he didn’t and we were left with Nathan Blissett or Craig Reid as a plan B. It’s hard to attract a decent striker in the transfer window. We needed a bit more business in August but the budget only runs so far. However several two years deals meant this season we’d be adding to an already settled group of players, not starting again. It’s only a few years ago Tinkerman Holdsworth signed up enough players to play a hundred a side, and we grumbled then we didn’t have a settled squad.
This season hasn’t been such a write off. The real low point was that 4-1 defeat by Dover just as we seemed to be gaining momentum. That night the players did let fans down and that night they deserved to take some criticism. I don’t ever believe players should be abused on twitter but sadly that’s the modern world for you. However before that game we were in with a shout and that was mid March. It’s been a while since we were still in the mix with just a month or so left of the season.
Fans are complaining of course about yesterdays result, and rightly so I suppose. It’s not a 6-1 home reverse by Rotherham or a 3-0 defeat at home to a weak Aldershot side, but nonetheless it wasn’t exactly a great outcome. Now I didn’t go so according to some my views are not valid, but I think we should put some context into the game. Alex Simmons started up front, George Maris started and Eliot Hodge started. Two youngsters who are a product of our own system and one whom we are looking at for next year. They started in a game which (lets be honest here) meant absolutely nothing at all. We can’t go up and we can’t go down, so why would the manager not start thinking ahead to next season? I know the 211 that travelled were disappointed to have spent fifteen quid on fish finger sandwiches and even more on petrol and tickets only to watch us lose but at the same time if that result is the one that convinces Chris to sign George Maris or let McDaid go then in the context of next season it was worthwhile. Bear in mind that our top goal scorer is out, our second leading scorer is stropping all over the place at Harrogate and our talisman returning defender is injured. Not only that but yesterday arguably our player of the season Bradley Wood was suspended. Whether or not it was ‘just Bromley’ is immaterial.
Finally lets move on to Chris Moyses, a man who divides opinion amongst Imps fans like Moses divided the Red Sea. It seems to be a Moyses supporter you’re a mafia member and to be a detractor your opinion gets shouted down. I’ve openly supported Chris since day two of his reign and I’m going to openly support him again here. I do want to stress I am not one of his pals, I haven’t worked for him and I’m not on the clubs payroll. I support Chris Moyses because he is the manager of our football club and even though he’s inexperienced I believe he’s in the middle of putting together a team worth supporting, irrespective of yesterdays result and the really bad form we’ve shown over the past half a season. The fact is we’ve been that bad over half a season that the twenty odd games before that HIS team must have been good, otherwise we’d be battling relegation wouldn’t we? So surely there’s a crumb of comfort that with the right people on the pitch and the right people around him we can actually turn in performances? I don’t think there’s an honest fan out there who will say this squad doesn’t need some additions, but in the main it’s a decent squad of honest professionals. I think a couple of centre forwards of a decent calibre are needed, and possibly another full back, perhaps a central midfielder. The point is we have sixty/seventy per cent of a squad that I believe can challenge for the play offs next season. He’s still had to deal with some of Simmo’s squad such as Nat Brown and Jon Nolan this season as well as being let down by Hearn on the goal scoring front. Does anybody reading this believe if Hearn hadn’t thrown a paddy we’d be in the same position now? I don’t. I think we’d have two twenty goals a season strikers on our books and we’d be keeping the play off weekends free. One player, one incident with one big outcome. Think Toner and Richardson.
To call for Chris to go is short sighted, but it is also the fans right to express that opinion if they so desire. I’d prefer they didn’t express it at games and I’d prefer they didn’t express it offensively or aggressively, but then I think Moyses supporters should realise that aggression and offensive language isn’t the way to deal with the detractors as well. We are all Imps and if we made the play offs we would all feel exactly the same. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but the nature in which you express it is important too.
Chris has perhaps shown his inexperience at times with comments such as yesterdays on the radio and again confronting fans at the end but he is only human. Just because we have a manager who lets his emotions out from time to time doesn’t make us a ‘tin pot’ or ‘amateur’ club at all. It’s not to everyone’s taste but Chris is human and prone to errors of judgement just like you and I. Whether he’s paid for the role or not is irrelevant, he’s halfway through a job here and I believe he deserves to be given another twelve months to show us that the results will come. I’d be incredibly disappointed if Chris walked away now as I was when Chris Sutton did the same. I’d like to see a bit of experience on the coaching staff to help him out maybe, but then when Schoey came we dropped off last season. I’d say whatever happens some fans will support changes and some will not, that’s the nature of football. Peter Jackson’s best spell was when he had Neil McDonald as his assistant and Keith always looked a better manager with Gary Simpson at his side. What we need is to add to what we’ve got, on the pitch and off it. There’s no value in starting again.