Lincoln City were relegated out of the Football League in May of 2011 after a string of horrendous results in the final eleven games. The Imps needed just three points to secure safety from early March but suffered a complete capitulation that saw us lose all our remaining home games to nil.
After relegation was confirmed questions were asked about former manager Chris Sutton who took a brunt of the blame. Once Steve Tilson was sacked the season after he also became part of the problem, but at the time he was considered to have ‘done his best’. He didn’t. However ,does the 2015 conviction of Moses Swaibu and Delroy Facey for attempted match-fixing raise question marks over some of our results?
Rumours were rife as we went down that Delroy Facey had often been in the company of shady characters at our Carlton Boulevard training ground, had he already got the contacts that brought him so much trouble? He had become a popular figure at Sincil Bank despite only scoring four goals, and many point to him being out of the side as a reason we went down.
Is it possible that during that time some of the loan players and youngster we had were able to be corrupted? It is almost certain that Lincoln is where Facey met his co-conspirator Moses Swaibu. Facey was charged with trying to incite Swaibu and two other young National League South players to fix ‘unspecified’ football matches in 2013. Did Facey have these same contacts two years before when our world was broken in two?
Facey suffered an injury during a 1-1 draw with Macclesfield which Macc only won in the last minute of the game. Just nine days later we got hammered 6-0 at home by Rotherham to spark a run of very suspicious results indeed. However, Moses Swaibu was no longer at the club at that time as he’d played his last game for two months earlier. Is it possible that Facey and accomplices fixed any games in the last few weeks of that season?
Here’s a list of some results that could arose some suspicion.
Friday March 25th – Rotherham (h) 0-6: Rotherham weren’t an in form side nor did they end up inside the top seven yet they systematically took apart a weak Lincoln side on a Friday night. Patrick Kanyucka played his last game for the club that day as Eliot Parrish palyed his first game.
Saturday 9th April – Gillingham (h) 0-4: Former Imps loanee Josh Gowling scored in another home rout meaning Parrish had conceded 10 in just two games. The Imps featured light weight players such as Grimes and Ali Fuseini.
Monday April 25th – Cheltenham (h) 0-2: Cheltenham finished just four points above us courtesy in the main to their 2-0 win. Neither sides were in good form and whereas a draw could have been enough to see us safe we turned in an appalling performance to effectively ensure Cheltenham stayed up instead of us. A real six pointer lost.
Saturday 7th May – Aldershot (h) 0-3 The worst day of our recent history another powder puff display sees us relegated as Barnet saved themselves with a win against Port Vale. Imps fans need not have turned up as we spent 45 minutes listening to the Barnet game after Danny Hylton put Aldershot 1-0 after a foul by Jamie Clapham.and Luke Gutteridge scored twice as we surrendered without so much as a whimper.
Were any of the players got at? Was there anything suspicious about our matches later on that season? There’s no proof to suggest other than the performances on the day but with hindsight it is yet another excuse we can cling to for a season of failure.