Tom Champion’s miserable spell as a Lincoln City player is over, with him being recalled by his parent club Barnet today. I imagine that consisted of him being told at training not to drive to Lincoln on Friday morning.
I’m not quite sure what to make of Champion’s short stay at Sincil Bank. It was clearly a troubling time for him and it didn’t work out in any way, shape or form. However it is more the motivation I am struggling to understand.
I don’t blame him for ending our run of five wins, that was going to happen at some point anyway, and had he stayed on the pitch against Barrow we might have snatched a draw instead of getting beat. Football is full of ‘what if’, so I’m not going to speculate on where we may or may not be had he not come to the club.
It was clear to me that the writing was on the wall once Danny Cowley admitted dropping Lee Beevers to include Champion was a mistake. Although he didn’t say outright that signing him hadn’t worked out, it was heavily implied and many Imps fans took those comments as the beginning of the end for Tom.
I can understand the manager taking him out of he firing line somewhat, and knowing what the player could offer I wasn’t surprised to see him come on against Bromley. As soon as he gave the ball away for their equaliser though you sensed that it was game over as far as his Lincoln City career was concerned.
The bit I am struggling to understand is based around comments Danny made last week in either the press conference or Facebook live chat (I spend that much time listening to Danny Cowley I forget where and when). He mentioned that they shuffled the side around in order to accommodate him, not specifically because we needed him in against Solihull Moors. Words to the effect of ‘he signed on the condition he plays’ were mentioned, and that seemed an odd move for the manager given how conscientious and methodical the rest of his transfer dealings have been. When Theo Robinson signed he didn’t go straight into the side despite his obvious talent. Why make such an exception for Champion?
You have to ponder on the circumstances of his return to Barnet as well. I know they haven’t won for six matches and perhaps they want to add that steel that Champion is rumoured to have to their midfield. It could be that they see him as a way to battle out of the bottom four, but if so there’s an element of cheek about recalling him. It looks suspiciously like he simply came to Lincoln for a little bit of game time before heading back, and that doesn’t sound like the sort of business Danny Cowley would agree to.
I would wager it is more likely that a recall by Barnet saves Champion the indignity of being sent back. The fact is Tom Champion isn’t a bad footballer, but it just hasn’t worked out for him at Lincoln. Within minutes of him stepping off the pitch against Solihull Moors he had been made a scapegoat for the draw, and that continued as we slumped to defeats against Dover and Barrow. Losing the fans was one thing, but when Danny admitted dropping Beevers was a mistake he appeared to have lost the management as well. I think if I were Barnet I would have been looking for a get-out and one that spared the player a little bit of dignity.
The next 72 hours will probably help clear things up a little bit. If we don’t see a new face come in then maybe I’ll buy it, maybe I’ll accept that Barnet have recalled him to aid their relegation battle. However if City unveil a new signing then I’d be inclined to think that the two clubs worked out the least damaging method of returning him to his parent club. It would be too much of a coincidence if we were to bring someone in around the exact same time Barnet called Champion back, wouldn’t it?
Whatever the story is behind him going back he certainly won’t live long in the memories of those who saw him play. It is almost certain though that should he ever line up against us he will score, and he will play a blinder. We just have to hope we cross over with Barnet at the end of the season!
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I’ve made it through to the finals of the Football Blogging Awards 2016 thanks to your votes, and I need now need your votes again. There are a couple of ways you can register your vote. You can click on the link below and select ‘The Stacey West Blog’ from the drop down menu under the Best New Blog Category. All you need is an email address to vote. If you voted in the first round you can now VOTE AGAIN in the final stage.
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