I haven’t done a forgotten Imp in a while, and a quiz on Lincoln City Banter has had people scratching their heads. The player in front of Warren Ward in the picture above, just who is it?
I have two candidates, the first one I suspect is a real stab in the dark. The photo was taken at the start of the 1985/86 season, and with Steve Thompson still in the picture it has to be ahead of the season opener against Gillingham. Oddly I did a blog about that summer yesterday!
The first, and most unlikely candidate is Gary Emmanuel. Gary didn’t play a proper competitive game for City, but he did feature twice in the County Cup, in a 2-0 win against Scunthorpe and a 2-1 win at Gainsborough Trinity within the space of four days.
Gary’s was a talented youngster who had left his native Swansea to play for Birmingham City. He scored on his debut in the same side as a youthful Trevor Francis. By Christmas 1978 he’d fallen out of favour at St Andrews, and he moved closer to home, signing for Bristol Rovers. Three years later he signed for Swindon Town where he made over 120 appearances.
In June 1984, Gary signed a one-year contract with Newport County. He suffered a serious injury though, and only came back against former team Bristol Rovers, just missing Newport’s 2-1 win over City on March 30th.
Newport didn’t fancy him the following season, and he found himself on trial with the Imps. Speaking to SwindonFC1879.com he said “My old mate Bob Latchford from Birmingham was there, I travelled up with him, but they wanted me to move up there, which I didn’t want to do. Then I got a call from Terry Cooper at Bristol City”.
Two weeks later he left Bristol City, thus becoming one of a few players to represent both Bristol sides. He had further spells with Welsh Ton Pentre, Llanelli and Haverfordwest County, all of the Welsh leagues, but his career ended in 1992 when he suffered a broken leg and decided to call it a day aged 38.
The other likely candidate is Andy Toman, a player who started his league career with City. We signed Toman from Bishop Auckland in the summer of 1985, and he served us for one season. He scored four times for City, most notably in home wins against Walsall (3-2) and Brentford (3-0). He also scored for us at Molineaux as we drew 1-1 with Wolves. Ultimately both sides would be relegated at the end of the season.
Toman dropped out of favour with the arrival of George Kerr. He started his penultimate match for City as we sank to a 4-0 defeat to Cardiff, also relegated at the end of the season. John Pickering was dismissed, and Toman appeared just three more times from the bench, and then made his final start on the last day of the season as we surrendered 3-2 to Wolves, with both sides already relegated (unless City could produce a goal difference swing of 18).
Toman drifted back into non-league football with Bishop Auckland, but was given a second stab at the Football League by Hartlepool. He thrived in the North East, scoring 28 times in 112 league appearances before moving to Darlington. Whilst at the Feethams he secured a Football Conference winners medal in 1990, and then a Fourth Division winners medal in 1991.
In 1997 he linked up with Whitby Town, and managed to score at Wembley as they beat North Ferriby in the FA VAse final. Later in his career Toman remained in the North East managing and coaching a host of different sides. Interestingly (for me) he played in the first game I ever watched, a 4-1 home defeat by Hartlepool at Sincil Bank. I suspect he scored that day but I can’t recall for sure.
I’m fairly confident the unidentified player is Andy Toman, but I’ll wait until midnight to get the answer from former Imps striker Warren Ward, sporting a very fetching Duran Duran style mullet in the picture above!