I’ve returned from work today to discover that Bob has rebuffed an approach from Notts County (I think there’s an O in it) for Danny and Nicky. It doesn’t surprise me to hear that Danny and Nicky weren’t interested either, and if the doomed Magpies had done their due diligence it wouldn’t surprise them either.
When the boys were linked with the Grimsby job earlier in the year they made it very clear that the were here with a job to do: win us a Football League spot during their tenure. They were pretty clear on that, and had County done more than glanced at a league table and listened to the rave reviews, they’d know they were approaching two men with dignity, integrity and loyalty.
I may live to eat my words, but I firmly believe that any approach for the brightest young things in football management will be turned away by both our chairman and by the boys themselves. You may recall I’ve eaten with them, I’ve listened too them and these two do not want progression the easy way. If they moved to County this week, what would they have achieved at Lincoln? What would be on their CV? Six months of success? Nobody ever won a trophy for the first six months of a season.
Furthermore they’re not stupid, there are just two places between us top of the National League and Notts, 22nd in League Two. They’re on a losing run, devoid of confidence and down on their luck. Even an injection of two great managers wouldn’t be enough to absolutely guarantee survival. I read the tweets from Leigh Curtis about their miserable capitulation at Cambridge yesterday. They have all the hallmarks of a side heading for non-league football, and as an Imps fan I think I can spot the signs. Can’t defend, change managers like new parents change nappies and couldn’t buy a win even if they had Delroy Facey and Moses Swaibu on their books. It’s a recipe for relegation, and why would two bright young things like Danny and Nicky want a relegation on their CV, when a promotion is so close?
In other news I noticed that Gillingham are now without a manager, and that gives me cause for concern to a degree. All of the above still applies, the desire to win, the integrity and honour. The trouble is Gillingham are a League One club, and crucially they’re not too far away from the boys base. If the stress of travelling and barely seeing their young families was too much then maybe, maybe they might consider a move back home. Maybe.
I don’t truly think for one second that these two winners would give up on a team in mid season, no matter what level of success was on the cards. I’m going to boldly predict that at some point in the next few years they will manage in League One, I even think they might manage in the Championship. Gillingham would represent a fast track to the football management big-leagues, and were the job available in May I think we could genuinely be concerned. Who would begrudge them a move if they earn us league football? I’d be gutted, but realistically I can’t see them achieving Championship football here at Sincil Bank, no matter what Steff Wright thought about 2010.
Harsh truth time: The golden boys of Lincoln will one day further their careers an move on. I strongly suspect it will be back down south, closer to their families and closer to the area they know so well. Speculative modern media will link them with every job possible in order to get a few more clicks, and reactionary football clubs will approach without researching the boys properly thinking they offer a quick fix. They’ll fail if they do.
Danny and Nicky Cowley plan everything to the Nth degree. They talk to their young players out on loan and watch their games. They analyse match after match featuring our opponents. They recall the sort of stats even Championship Manager haven’t thought of making available and they even lay out their cones and bibs in training in specific formation. Don’t for a single second think they don’t have a clear career plan for themselves, one that they will vehemently stick to. My bet? League football with Lincoln City, thanking Bob for the opportunity for full-time football, and then look at the bigger jobs that become available. Would you begrudge them it?
Our best hope for keeping them, once it is ‘job done’ of course, is to continue to support the team fervently and passionately as we have been doing. We don’t need cringe-worthy outpourings of ‘stand up for the boss’, or tagging them in endless tweets begging them to stay. They will respond better to full stands, loud support and being assured that Lincoln City is a big club, bigger than League Two sides like Colchester and Cambridge, bigger than League One sides like Scunthorpe and Shrewsbury, and even bigger than Championship sides like Burton Albion and Rotherham.
Because with the right men at the helm, that’s exactly what we are, a side with growing potential. Which of those sides could take 5,000 to Portman Road in the FA Cup? Most of those sides don’t average that at home!