I’ve had some time to think today, a flare up in my sciatica has meant I’ve got a little time at home. I’ve been watching some footage from last night in between playing Mass Effect: Andromena on the PS4, and in between I’ve been thinking about Lee Angol.
The whole time in the back of my head I could hear the two good ‘ol boys sat behind me last night criticising everything that Lee Angol did. Maybe the tramadol has been winding me up, but as the day has gone on it has made me more and more agitated. You know what happens when I get mad, I don’t go green and burst out of all of my clothes. I sit down at my laptop and furiously bash the keys.
Firstly let me give a clear message to all those who dislike young Lee. You are entitled to your opinions, I’m not going to start getting abusive or saying you know nothing about football. It is a game of opinions, and my opinion is that you are wrong. That doesn’t mean you are wrong.
Secondly I’m afraid you’re going to have to get used to seeing him in a Lincoln shirt. It is currently unsubstantiated rumour (created by me) that he is due to sign for us in the summer, on the condition we are promoted to the Football League. If we fail to go up, he goes back to London Road. If we regain our league status then Lee Angol writes his name into history as the first £100,000 player to sign for Lincoln City.
I’m basing my belief on a number of things. Firstly there was media comment that Danny had to deal with an agent when signing Lee on loan. Why? Why would an agent be involved to that degree on a simple loan deal? I can only see the deal needing finalising if there was a future fee maybe, or some longer term wages negotiations. It would also account for the comments by Posh boss McCann who claimed the deal was worth £100k to his side. That fee is preposterous for a loan deal, but if it were a future fee it would seem far more relevant. Did the manager make a slip as he tried to defend letting a player leave who immediately scored a debut hat trick?
It also puzzled me that they’d even let him join us on loan in the first place. He had been a regular starter for Posh up until a fortnight before we signed him, a loan deal made no real sense at all. Sure if he was in the position of Harry Anderson, with no real first team experience then maybe he’d join. However, a first team player suddenly going out on loan to a team two divisions below? I couldn’t see how that would work in the real world.
I’m also basing the rumour on rock-solid information I have from a friend of a friend who is a Peterborough season ticket holder and claims to be ‘in the know’. If a friend of a friend says it, then it must be true.
If this is the case, why not release details of the detail publicly? The answer there is fairly obvious. If the deal depends on promotion, the club wouldn’t announce anything knowing that there was a possibility the deal wouldn’t go through. The player might have to go back to Posh, how would he feel if they’d claimed to have sold him, and due to our failure he had to go back and fight for his place? Plus would an announcement of spending £100k on a player if we go up put undue pressure on the young lad? This way we already see him in action and know he’s worth the fee when the day finally comes.
That brings me on to the player himself. If I’m right, if he is here with a view to staying, then it is a serious statement of intent by Danny and Nicky. I’m led to believe they took a couple of months to decide spending a significantly smaller amount on Elliot Whitehouse, and if rumour is to be believed he is as thrifty and shrewd with the pennies as any manager we’ve ever had. I’m told Danny Cowley would rather walk around town all day needing to wee, than put 20p in a slot to use a public convenience, and if he pays you £3.99 for something then you’d better have his 1p change waiting for him pretty damn quick. Just look at all the FA Cup money he hasn’t spent if you need proof of his nature. He gets value for money, despite knowing Theo was important to our method he refused to be held ransom and pay over the odds. If Danny Cowley is willing to spend a six figure sum on a player, that tells me the player is worth the money.
Danny has had a great record in the transfer market, he’s pulled players out of nowhere all season who have contributed greatly to our season. Theo Robinson, Joe Ward, Harry Anderson, Billy Knott… the list goes on and on. In fact the only so-called turkey has been Tom Champion, and even he is a very good player who had a bad time with us. We’re top of the league, we made the FA Cup quarter finals and the FA Trophy semi-finals. As far as I’m concerned if Danny Cowley tells me a player is good, then I’m inclined to believe him. He knows what he is doing. 82 points testify to that.
Despite the criticism of Angol the facts speak for themselves. He’s scored five in seven games, and even if you argue three were in one game he still scored three in one game. Had he not netted when he did against FGR, would we have gone on to win the game so resoundingly? He made that goal by holding off the defender and he finished as well as anyone I’ve seen in red and white all season. Against Bromley it was his tenacity and battling that created the goal for Billy Knott, and again had we not scored them would we have managed it later in the game, or gone on to draw? Arguably he has played a crucial role in us winning six points instead of just one.
He isn’t quite on method yet, but his all-round play reminds me a lot of Theo Robinson. He took stick during his tenure here, but he played almost exactly the same as Lee Angol does. They both chased the ball down extensively, often sapping energy reserves merely to pressure a keeper into a clearance. They often had to chase the ball into the corners and therefore find themselves on the periphery of an attack once the ball is won. They don’t get a lot of out and out chances, but in the case of Lee Angol (as yet) I haven’t seen him miss a genuine golden chance.
His work rate is fantastic, and it has been suggested to me that some old school fans don’t appreciate it because he wears pink boots and has an outlandish haircut! I’m sure that isn’t the case, but I can’t for the life of me work out why some people are calling him a bad player. He didn’t get his chance last night, but in a display that is widely regarded as one of the best of the season, how can one player not have been pulling his weight? He couldn’t. Lee Angol wasn’t a passenger last night, and although he didn’t get a goal he was part of why we did so well. He presses from the front and when he gets a chance he works the channels too. Every throw in we got around the half way line saw him drop beyond the full back. He might not have always got the ball, but it meant the full back had to follow him, and that creates gaps up ahead. Now that might not get plaudits from the guy sat behind me, but it is crucial in making space and prompting an open game of football.
He gets caught offside four times out of five, but on the fifth he’ll make a goal scoring chance. He gives away fouls three times out of five, but the other two times the referee lets it go and we get a chance. My only gripe would be his predisposition for going down very easily, something that has seen him pick up a couple of bookings. I’m sure over time that will be gently eased out of his game.
At one point in the first half last night he was out on the right having chased the ball into the corner. He hung to the ball and whipped in a deep cross that evaded everyone to go out of play. The voice behind me remarked ‘where was Angol there’, as if he hadn’t even noticed it was him who played the cross! When you’re up against that sort of pre-determined dislike, how can you ever win people over?
Luckily those knocking him are in a minority. I’m sure 75% of paying fans can see exactly what he brings to the team, and exactly why he is set to become our first £100k player (based on unsubstantiated rumour). I just hope that as the next seven games come and go, he is amongst the goals at Sincil Bank at least once. I know if he is I can turn around to those two old guys behind me and just smile a smug, ‘you know nothing’ smile as my opinion is proven right, and their opinion is proven wrong.
Photographs by the ever-dependable Mr Graham Burrell