An estimated 30,000 people lined the streets of Lincoln this evening as the title-winning Imps side did a three-mile tour of the city.
Everywhere you looked was a sea of red and white, jubilant faces and walls of noise. From the adopted anthem of ‘Sweet Caroline’ to ‘Waterfall is magic’ and back to ‘Alan Power is an Imp’, the playlist of a season got one final rendition as our heroes hung from the vintage bus, spraying champagne and taking in the enormity of what they have achieved.
At the beginning of the season an attendance of just over 3,000 was deemed a success, and just battering through the apathy that had descended on the club for six years was a job in itself. Tonight that journey from the depth of despair to the Football League was signalled as complete. Throughout this swashbuckling season they have performed admirably as a team, driven not by one or two stars but as a complete unit, a squad of players all fitting together like a block-paved driveway. Nothing epitomised that more than seeing Billy Knott and Josh Ginnelly hanging over the front of the bus with the trophy in their hands.
This team doesn’t do individual egos, it does unity and togetherness. Where divided teams fall, united ones stand and a proper squad of players poked out from the top of that bus this evening. There were literally people everywhere, it wouldn’t have mattered if Luke Waterfall had headed a brick to the left or right, he would have taken somebody out. At times the bus had to stop as the road was cleared, at other times people hung out of third story windows waving their flags and scarves. Danny and Nicky Cowley haven’t just united a team of footballers, they’ve brought together a city and awoken a sleeping giant of a football club.
Lincoln City hasn’t always been a sleeping giant though. Sine the university arrived the city has grown and begun to spring into life, but the football club has been left almost rotting away on itself at the bottom of the High Street. Today on the back of unprecedented success and record-breaking performances it got up from the floor and paraded around the streets of Lincoln to the adulation of the hard-working men and women of the city. Now this growing city has a football team it can get behind, and attendances of 7,000-10,000 in the latter half of the season show what potential we really have.
In 2017 the talk is of how far we can go, and in just three miles the club demonstrated how far it has come in a short space of time. For Bob Dorrian it was a poignant moment, he was a ridiculed and maligned figure for much of his tenure as chairman, but he bravely battled on to save the football club he loved since he was a boy. I’m sure he was a proud man as the bus passed the street where he grew up, and he should stand tall and proud as his belief and hard work was vindicated in front of 30,000 people.
Lincoln City are back, and we’re bigger and better than we were before. League Two had better watch out, there’s a lot of big clubs tried to stop the Lincoln Loco this season and failed. Who knows where the next stop is? The EFL Trophy? League One? 15,000 fans fighting over 10,000 seats? With Danny and Nicky behind the wheel, this journey could take us anywhere. It already has.
Thanks to Ryan Frost and David Adams for the photos