Former Imps manager and Manchester United legend David Herd passed away over the weekend aged 82.
He started out playing for Stockport County before a 1954 move to Arsenal for £10,000. He made 180 appearances for the Gunners scoring 107 goals, including one in the last league match before the 1958 Munich air disaster against Manchester United.
In 1961 he signed for United for £37,000 and played for seven years at Old Trafford appearing over 265 times and scoring 145 goals including two in the FA Cup final win over Leicester in 1963.
He moved to Stoke City towards the end of his career in July 1968. Stoke were struggling at the wrong end of the table and he left in 1970 after making just a handful of appearances. His playing career finished with him having made five appearances for Scotland, scoring three times.
As his career came to an end he was linked with the Lincoln job as early as August of 1970 but instead he recovered playing fitness and chose to play for Waterford in the League of Ireland. However as City struggled under the watchful eye of former trainer-coach Bert Loxley his name became linked again, and he joined the club in March 1971 with the popular figure of Loxley returning to the back room staff.
His tenure at Lincoln didn’t start well with just two wins from 15 which left us requiring re-election. There was a feeling the club could be about to turnaround though. Under Loxley they had made the FA Cup 3rd Round and been 3-0 at Torquay, only to lose 4-3. The potential was there and it was hoped David Herd could turn fortunes around.
Herd set about signing players in the summer and for the first time in many years Lincoln mounted a serious promotion challenge. An opening day win against Colchester due to goals from Phil Hubbard and Dave Smith in front of 6607 at Sincil Bank certainly got fans thinking, and by the time September 29th came 15015 were convinced enough to watch us despatch Grimsby Town by 3-0. The Imps were in business.
City were almost invincible at home, not losing until April 15th 1972 against Darlington. The team was an embryonic form of the superstar side of the 1976 season, with Graham Taylor on the playing staff along with John Ward, Percy Freeman and Hubbard and Smith. John Ward played 11 games that season, three as substitute appearances and he netted five times. In January David Herd became the first ever Imps manager to win a manager of the month award after wins over Workington,(1-0), Brentford (4-1) and Doncaster (2-0) with a 2-2 draw in front of 15856 at Grimsby as well. Form faltered towards the end of March but despite a late season loss of form (just two wins in ten) The Imps finished fifth, seven points behind eventual league winners Grimsby and just three points behind promoted Brentford in third.
In the close season Herd used his contacts to bring in Brendan Bradley and Jimmy McGeough, stars of the League of Ireland. Bradley had scored nine goals by the beginning of October as the Imps looked to mount a challenge once again. However a 3-1 defeat at Bradford on December 2nd meant just one win in nine games, and amid rumours of a crisis Herd left to focus on his business interests. He didn’t manage again despite experiencing moderate success at Lincoln.
There is a train of thought that the work he put in at Lincoln set the foundations for the next manager, Graham Taylor to achieve the wonderful things he managed to achieve. Certainly he impressed at Sincil Bank losing only three league games at home during his tenure. However it was his insistence on a defensive approach away from home that broke up that positivity. Despite leaving City still finished a creditable 10th after Taylor took over, and those who remember that far back speak of Brendan Bradley as being one of the finest players ever to pull on an Imps shirt.
David Herd passed away aged 82 on October 1st 2016.