September 2006

I originally wrote these notes for the matchday programme back in 2006. Keith had recently left the club and Mr Schofield and Mr Deehan were presiding over events. We won the match 3-1 and despite a late slide we made the play offs only to be turned over by a Rickie Lambert inspired Bristol Rovers. We went on a three match winning run before a scintillating 3-2 home defeat by MK Dons. Later in the season we beat Rochdale 7-1, Barnet 5-0 away and won at  Swindon to top the league. Sadly after winning manager of the month for October 2006 we fell away from the chasing pack.

The first thing I’d like to do today is extend a warm welcome to myself, as this is the first opportunity I’ve had to see the Imps in competitive action at home this season! Regular readers of my column will recall last weekend I was at my brothers wedding and I missed the Notts County game in pursuit of a better career, but finally an early Friday fixture allows me to see my beloved Imps in action at home.

Of course I already know plenty about the side and their potential because like most of you I am surrounded by armchair Lincoln pundits at work who have gleefully explained to me our frailties and weaknesses from these early games. I’m sure you all have these people at your places of work; I like to call them ‘Joe Nobodies’. Old Joe is always first in your face on Monday morning after a defeat, or ready to point out why you didn’t deserve a hard fought win the Saturday before. Sadly they get most their information from a bloke they know who used to work at the club, or from Jeff Stelling on Sky Sports News so their views are as valid as Osama Bin Ladens passport, but it doesn’t stop them shoving them down your throat. I’d like to furnish you with a few of the Joe Nobody thoughts I have been bombarded with during my enforced Sincil Bank absence.

Port Vale v Plymouth Argyle 20120128
John Deehan watching Plymouth v Port Vale. Oversaw some nice football and some poor signings.

“City can’t play for 90 minutes” A popular theory that came about thanks to a last minute equaliser for some opposing side once, and only once. Then of course Walsall pop up with a stoppage time winner and the Imps concentration levels are immediately brought into question. The sad fact of the matter is that Joe Nobody obviously has no short-term memory as just the week before minute 90 of our game against Torquay saw defeat turn into victory. Likewise at many occasions over the past two seasons a certain Mr Yeo netted several last minute winners for the Imps.

Torquay should have wrapped the game up, you were lucky” LUCKY??? To keep pressing and pushing a side on against the wall even when the game looked lost and over? Lucky to score twice in a minute after bombarding the goal unsuccessfully for forty-five minutes? I don’t know what Joe Nobodies definition of luck is, but for me its selecting six random numbers that match those drawn by Dale Winton on a Saturday night, or meeting two beautiful blond twins whose dream is to run away with a ginger haired Lincoln City fan. There is no element of luck in meticulously breaking down an Ian Atkins side with stunning football. Likewise there was no element of luck in going two up against Walsall and looking comfortable. Win late or dominate early, The Imps can’t seem to satisfy the armchair Nobodies either way.

“Neither Goalkeeper is up to scratch” Firstly I’d like to know how anyone who has seen one game in six years at Sincil Bank can possibly know that, especially as it was the Liverpool friendly a couple of weeks ago. Alan Marriott has got his detractors who simply must need committing to an institution. Mazza has always been the number one shot stopper in this division and the odd individual error does not detract from his overall ability. Similarly Simon Raynor has waited patiently for his shot at competitive football at it seems this year he might push Mazza all the way. Competition for places is a key in a successful side at having two goalkeepers vying for a first team spot is a good thing.

“You’ll not make the play offs again, mid table would be an achievement” is a ludicrous statement based purely on the number of times we’ve been recently and not based on footballing acumen. We are as likely to make the play offs this year as any other side in our division, which we showed when holding Walsall at home, and in reality playing them off the park for forty-five minutes. Just because the bruising, unattractive style of Keith Alexander has been replaced by a tentative passing style still in its infancy doesn’t mean we can be written off. Teams take time to be nurtured and grown with care, its not possible to cobble a few decent players together and hope for the best. I think we missed out four seasons in a row due to uncertainty over player’s futures at key times of the season. We need players on two-year deals who know that if we make the grade and climb to League One that they will have a club and a contract next year. Early signs are that patience is the key and quick fix strikers are a thing of the past.

I could go on for days relaying to you the rubbish I hear about my football club week in week out, but frankly it’s boring. I wanted to highlight to all genuine Lincoln fans that you may be maligned and misunderstood in your place of work, but we all know that something may be starting here at Sincil Bank, and maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon rewards will be reaped. Mind you then I suppose Joe Nobody will just move on to criticising the ground, staff or board. Perhaps next time he starts you should just hit him with a brick.

Enjoy the game.

I actually recorded the commentary from the last two minutes of that 2-1 win at Torquay and used them as a ringtone on my Sony Ericsson Walkman phone. To win a game after trailing 1-0 with just a minute on the clock is something you don’t hear often, but I heard it every time someone rang me for at least four months. Sometimes I’d go and just listen to it to reaffirm my belief in life.

The course I was bettering myself on was a diploma in hypnotherapy. I basically stopped my Dad smoking and then packed in, but I figure it was worth it just for that.