July 2011: Bob Dorrian speaking to the Lincolnshire Echo
“Had we been in the Football League, we would have been set to receive a payment of £200,000, but obviously now we have been relegated we are not going to receive that. Although we have made saving of £650,000, we are not going to really feel the effects of that until three or four months’ time. So in the meantime there is a slight problem with cash flow in terms of day to day costs and other areas of the football club that might be a little bit short. So I am prepared to stump up £100,000 of my own money just to tide us over and that’s on top of the £50k I put in last month. I can’t really afford to do it, but the football club is vitally important and it’s a case of needs must.”
The club was frankly, on its arse. Staff had been laid off left, right and centre. A budget had to be put together to allow Steve Tilson to try and get us back in the league. Bob hadn’t inherited a sinking ship, he was in his scuba diving gear scouring the bottom of the ocean to see what he could salvage. From pulling in £750k for Jack Hobbs we seemed to sink quicker than a tonne of lead dropped in the Witham.
Somehow Bob was still chastised and demonised by some sections of the support. He was derided as a comedy character, he faced an EGM and a failed coup to oust him from his position. He stayed put, he battled on through all of the hatred and vitriol.
December 4th 2015: Bob Dorrian speaking to the Echo
“I’m very pleased to have finally sorted things out with the Co-op Bank. It’s financially damaging but it is my belief that it is manageable. What we’ve agreed to do is pay off the mortgage of £70,000, I shall loan the money to the football club to allow that to happen. The £300,000 overdraft will now be split. Overall, we think it is the best deal we could have got. The figure is £25,000 a year plus interest and charges, so from that perspective, it’s quite onerous, but it does give us a lot of time to get our house in order. We’re looking to increase our revenue by at least £25,000 per year and that is the way to counter that problem”.
Hang on, another loan from his own pocket? More of his hard earned cash being pumped into the club? At this point we had a manager who was working for free and still receiving abuse from fans for being a pub manager, and a chairman who had pumped the equivalent of ten years wages into the club just to keep it afloat.
January 5th 2017: Bob Dorrian speaking to Melvin Pryor
“The clubs financial position is exceedingly good. Last time I looked, which was about five days ago our overdraft had been wiped out. I’m a very happy man.”
Okay I know there are other factors, I know Clive Nates input was a massive boost, and obviously the arrival of Danny and Nicky has put bums on seats, but today I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about Mr Dorrian, known as Mr Chairman to all the staff at the club. I’m talking about a man who had the emotional strength to ride out all of the hatred he received in the year we came down, and the years after that. I went to fans forums where his arrival was met with stony silence, perhaps even more belittling than a chorus of booing. It was indifferent, as if the man before them had done nothing to provoke a response. How did he react? He kept pumping his own personal money into the club, to keep the skeleton staff paid, to keep some degree of hope on the field and to give each manager some form of budget to work with (and waste in most cases).
I feel really passionately about this. One of the biggest events of my personal life happened in 2011, and the person that caused my immense distress hated Bob Dorrian. This individual was a figure in the ill-fated EGM attempt as well. When I saw Bob resisting calls to go, still supporting the club financially when it seemed everyone would rather he went, it reminds me of that struggle against negativity, and I found personal strength in his resilience. If the chairman of our football club could stoically soldier on through the difficult times then I could to. I understood what he wanted to achieve, even if I was perhaps a little bit naïve about how long it might take! He fought for what he cared about, he fought for what he thought was right. It is easy to sit around and criticise, but it is incredibly difficult to find ten years worth of wages and shove it into a football club that might not even survive a summer, to the benefit of fans who didn’t seem to support what you were doing.
A lot of other great blogging material came out of his seven minutes with Melvin this morning. There was talk of a new contract for the brightest young things in football management today. There was talk of new investment from a potential fresh board member, and another £75k for the club. There was lots of talk about the FA Cup clash with Ipswich and our biggest away following in 40 years. Essentially there was lots of positive talk about Lncoln City Football Club, the club I love and the club you love.
Without our Chairman that segment could have been filled with talks about the road legality of mobility scooters, because without him there probably wouldn’t be a Lincoln City Football Club to talk about. Without Bob Dorrian we would all be vegetating on our couches this weekend watching other teams compete in the FA Cup whilst we remembered when we used to have a club to support.
Thank you Mr Dorrian, for doing everything you could to save my football club, and for sticking with it when all you got was hate for doing it. You told us fans to enjoy the day: I hope you enjoy it the most because out of all of us, you deserve it the most.