This article first appeared on the Lincoln City Mad website before I relinquished control and it became a vehicle for one mans fight against the club. I’ve added a second bit which was intended to appear in the third digital Deranged Ferret, had we ever actually got it out.
In the eyes of most Imps fans, ex manager Peter Jacksons reign will be defined by the name of one other man – Adrian Patulea. The Romanians persistent exclusion from the side despite finding the net 11 times for City was the turning point for a large section of fans. In the eyes of the average man through the turnstile, Adi was the best striker to grace Sincil Bank since Simon Yeo. If he caused trouble it didn’t matter as long as he hit goals in an Imps shirt. Surely only a manager of immense ego could leave a successful player out?
He will be remembered fondly for a few things as well. He’ll be remembered as the manager who made a massive profit for the club by selling off star players. Dany N’Guessan was a fringe player until Jackson stuck him out wide and told the remaining ten Imps player to pass to him. Jacko will be remembered as the man who saved us from relegation and the man who successfully beat cancer in a spell that saw him fully endeared to the patrons of the City. He also brought Richard Butcher back to the club, a player set to figure in a massive way for The Imps in the coming weeks (gutted reading this back). He also stuck by the Imps youth policy bringing numerous young players through. It might be said he relied too heavily on it, but Messrs Hutchinson, Adams, Coleman-Carr, Miller and Bennett will disagree.
However as well as Patulea he’ll be remembered as the man who swept out the old guard. Keith Alexander stalwarts such as Alan Marriott and Jamie Forrester were farmed out as the new Jackson faces came in. There will be those who cannot forgive the constant references to his budget, constantly bemoaning the war chest he had. His comments often made the club look like a poor side when the truth is we are competitive with 70% of our league financially. Then there is the unique stubbornness he has that saw him stick with 4-3-3 when all the fans around him called 4-4-2. When he changed at half time of a game we trailed against Accrngton, the 4-4-2 brought 5 second half goals, with substitute Patulea playing a big part. Needless to sat Jacko took the credit.
There’s his debatable transfer record to hold against him, with only Moses Swaibu, Aaron Brown and Rob Burch emerging as quality players for the club. Other faces such as Gall, Graham, Horsfield, and Sinclair will be seen as flops. His magnificent seven turned into decent double a five of failure last season, and so far this season few of the new faces can hold their head up high, perhaps only Paul Connor.
Although results have been cited as a reason for his departure, the love / hate relationship with the fans will probably be the most memorable feature of his reign after Patulea. He breezed into the club winning many friends, and the battle with cancer further cemented the special relationship he developed across the City. However the Patulea incident definitely signalled the end of the love affair, and him blasting supporters for not turning out proved unpopular. When he stated he expected seven thousand for a friendly with Arsenal Youths, fans were left scratching their heads at where he thought the attraction lay. His berating of Stefan Oakes in the press won him few friends, and the ones that stayed were beginning to waver when he persistently commented on transfer targets before losing them.
LCM lost faith in Jacko last season after Frecklington’s departure came too late for adequate replacement to be found. Perhaps Michael O’Connor would have changed our mind, had it not been for the 5-1 defeat at Grimsby in his first game. We were prepared to throw our weight behind Jacko this season, but the meek surrender against an average Burton side convinced us nothing would change. A 3-0 demolition at Dagenham on Saturday further enhanced the view that his days were numbered, but even we didn’t expect a move to come so quick.
We are in favour of his dismissal, which did come suddenly but not wholly unexpected. Word hit LCM at around 11pm on Tuesday that his days were numbered, in the aftermath of yet another defeat, this time a cup exit against Darlington. Arguments on the pitch between players suggested he’d lost the dressing room, and the 60 or so travelling fans chanted ‘your getting sacked in the morning’. When people who are prepared to travel 250 miles round tip for a JPT 1st round game want to have their say, we think they’ve arned the right, and those loyal followers were maing it well known Jacko had entered the final straight of his tenure as Imps boss.
The big matches of Jacko’s spell in charge
Chester (H) 0-1
The first game and a breath of optimism breezed over Sincil Bank. Chester were half an our late, Jacko waltzed into the supporters bar before the game and gave an impassioned speech and we lost 1-0. Jacko was sent to the stands and everyone felt despite the result a new era was dawning. Oh dear.
Wycombe (H) 1-0
Jacko’s last game before a spell recovering from cancer saw us beat Wycombe 1-0 thanks to a terrific Louis Dodds strike. Thoughts of Jackson leaving the club at this point seemed more ludicrous than thoughts of merging with Grimsby Town
Dagenham (H) 1-3
Cruising at half time thanks to a Lennell John Lewis goal, and having had a Ben Wright strike cancelled out for offside City seemed to be on a crash course with success. However a complete second half collapse saw us lose 3-1, and the first minds began to turn to thoughts of trouble ahead.
Chesterfield (H) 3-1
Not remembered at the time as anything other than a good win over a decent side, but the result was our last win at home on a Saturday last season, and it came in October. A miserable home form came to typify the Jacko regime, and this win soon became linked with the future failures of the side.
Kettering (A) 1-1
The race row game that saw Jackson and Onuora both end up giving evidence in court. A hostile home support witnesses a terrible Imps display, lit up only by a strike from enigmatic Frenchman Dany N’Guessan. The replay perhaps gave us our best chance at prgression in a cup competition for year, but we lost 2-1 thanks to a last minute Craig Westcarr strike.
Accrington (H) 5-1
A role reversal as City are 1-0 down after an appalling first half. Jacko bows to fans pressure and changes the system from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2. A Mr Patulea inspired comeback sees us bang 5 past hapless Stanley to record a win on a cold Friday night. Possibly the last time anyone saw David Graham in an Imps shirt.
Grimsby (A) 1-5
A truly terrible result that codheads everywhere still see as last season’s only achievement for their side. Trailing 2-1 Jacko gambles and goes for broke, City concede 3 more times for an historic defeat. Eve the staunchest Imps fan won’t forget that debacle in a hurry.
Dagenham (A) 0-3
The match which finally confirmed City were making no progress at all under Jackson. A weak City almost at full strength are rolled over by a hard working Dagenham side in some style, and the nails in the coffin began to get knocked in. Perhaps the manner of the defeat lingers longer than the implications of simply losing three points, but from here only a miracle could save Peter Jackson. Three days later a goal from Imps nemesis Lee Thorpe saw Jacko and Onuora leave the club after under two years at the helm.