I didn’t think I’d be celebrating the signing of two people we already had at the club as the off-field highlight of my January, but sure enough my football club continues to surprise and amaze me. Today amidst the sadness at the passing of Graham Taylor, we tied Danny and Nicky down to new contracts until 2021.
The significance of the move isn’t lost on a single Lincoln fan, social media has been a curious divide of sadness and elation this evening. I’ve written about Graham Taylor, so please forgive me now for focussing on something so very positive for the club.
The Cowley Effect has been incredible, I manage to write about it every single day, and queues on Wednesday made Sincil Bank look busier than a 2011-2014 match day. We’re playing attractive and effective football and even without the rose-tinted glasses we look every inch Champions-elect. The strides the club has made on its own were significant, but our management duo have undoubtedly been a catalyst for quick progress.
Getting them to sign new deals wasn’t something I imagined the club would be able to do easily. The quality they bring to the club is obvious, they have strong reputations throughout the world of football, and that is growing by the day. The media coverage is unprecedented and I can’t help but feel that is set to continue. The TV cameras will be knocking around for Dover and Ipswich, for Forest Green and Barrow as well. Who’s to say there won’t be more games, more exposure and more on the pitch success?
When I feel the need to buy tickets for a Friday night game against Dover in advance in case they sell out, you know something very good is happening at your club. The last couple of seasons the same fixture has barely attracted 2,000 fans. Now the City is buzzing with talk of the Imps potential, and the club have acted quickly and decisively to ensure we get to ride the wave a little longer.
That said why would the boys not want to remain at the club? As I understand it when it comes the Danny and Nicky the club’s favourite word is ‘yes’. Can we spend the FA Cup money? Yes. Can we go over and above to get the right players in? Yes. Can we source alternative training facilities to continue to grow the club? Yes. Why would they not stay? Whilst Clive, Bob and the rest of the upper management are saying yes, Danny and Nicky get all the tools they need to implement their blueprint on our club. It’s worked so far, and I can’t see it stopping any time soon.
What surprised me was the relative ease with which the negotiations have been concluded. Talk only really surfaced a couple of weeks ago and here we are today, the brightest young things in football management tied to our club for the next five years. I would imagine anyone wanting to come and take them away will have to pay us a significant sum, and that will put off some of the League Two paupers thinking simple divisional status is enough to tempt our crown jewels away. Of course new deals don’t secure them absolutely, if a Championship club wanted them then it would be crass to stand in their way, especially if they do bring the success that the last six months have hinted at.
I would imagine they’ve seen the 5,000 at Ipswich and the 7,000 at home to Oldham. I would hazard a guess that they see the potential for us to be a League One club in a few years time, and they figure that success is earned not bought and sold. If Danny and Nicky do get us promoted, and (I’m dreaming here) then we go up again, how good will that look on their CV? There’s no climbing the divisions cheaply by jumping from club to club here, they want success at a sleeping giant (of sorts), they want to earn their stripes before moving on. They want to do that by creating a team that the City can be proud of, that we can look back at in 40 years time and say ‘we were there’.
Which seems to bring me back to Graham Taylor, that is exactly what he did at Watford and to a degree at Lincoln. Life has a funny way of sending you signs and getting little ironic digs in. On the same day that one of the former kings of Sincil Bank sadly passes, the two princes give us an indication that the good times might be on the way back.
Let us not get too carried away though. Danny and Nicky do not automatically ensure success. They ensure a well drilled side of good, honest men. The ensure a prepared side with tactical awareness and a never say die attitude. The ensure we continue to grow our reputation as a fine club for young players to cut their teeth.
With those things in place however, success is very likely indeed.