Man down – no looking back

What a transfer deadline day for Lincoln City. The tension was palpable as the Theo Robinson transfer saga unveiled before our very ears. Fair play to Michael Hortin and Rob Makepeace for staying with it until the last possible moment.

The outcome is that ‘FA Cup Theo’ won’t get the chance to add to his tally in the famous competition as he’s signed for League One Southend. In fairness to the player he has spent his career (bar the last six months) in the Football League, and as important as he is to Lincoln, no player is worth more than any other in the current squad.

I do think Theo has been crucial though. His running and movement causes all sorts of issues for opposition defenders, and whilst he didn’t seem to like National League games, he’s been instrumental in putting pounds in the bank via the cup. He added a different dimension to our attack and often did a lot of Matt Rhead’s running, which allowed the big man to do what he does best, hold the ball up.

That said Theo wasn’t crucial to our success, and in Jack Muldoon we have a player who is Lincoln City through and through, desperate to get a run of games. It’s an interesting fact that Theo has scored one league goal in 14 games, but Jack (used mainly as a sub) has managed three in the same amount of games. The clamour for a new face is bound to be the focus, but in Muldoon we do have a player whom I think is more than able to fill Theo’s boots. Jack ain’t slow either.

I won’t get to use this picture again

All of this rather overshadows what was a really good win at Solihull last night, and I’m sure once the excitement had died down Danny that will be the full focus of his attention. There is a need for another body or two, but ultimately without Theo in the squad we brought back all three points. Tranmere, Forest Green, Dagenham and Dover have all won at Moors this season, and to underline our title credentials we needed to do the same thing. We were winning games before Mr Robinson arrived, and we’ll be winning games whilst he warms a seat on the bench at Southend.

You won’t hear me criticising Theo for his departure though (despite te occasional withering comment), perhaps only the manner of it. As soon as he failed to appear in the team last night, the writing was on the wall. The pantomime at final whistle gave fans more intrigue than Sky Sports News could ever manage, but in truth as soon as Danny spoke of no player being bigger than the club, I knew it was signed, sealed and delivered. Once again, our management team have come out smelling of roses, even after the tough post-match period.

If I were Southend, I’d be concerned with Theo’s motives for signing for them. He was offered a big money deal with a League One club for two and a half years, and yet he was still at Solihull Moors frantically negotiating to try a get a similar deal with the National League leaders. I suspect he was torn between security for his young family, and the desire to be a part of what Danny and Nicky are building. Ultimately, he took a personal decision based on finance rather than football, but at this stage of his career he would have been foolish to do anything more. What should worry Southend is that had the two deals been the same, he would have stayed with us and not stepped up two divisions.

Fans might say he could have won the league here and added some silverware to his career achievements, but that won’t pay the bills after he retires. Southend United might do just that. We knew we were lucky to have Theo anyway, and although he polarised fans I always felt he’d be one that left before 11pm yesterday. He will be missed, whatever a small section of the support might feel. However, he was a big game player who seemed to come out in the competition where he got noticed.

Now as for Jack Muldoon, we know he can do it on a wet night in Solihull, and we know he can do it on a tough afternoon in Chester. I’m sure given the chance he might just do it on a cold day in Welling as well. As for Theo, thanks for Ipswich away, thanks for Oldham at home and thanks for the significant sum you’ve helped put in our bank account. Good luck at Southend.