Out of respect for the 56 I haven’t posted for 12 hours, but I couldn’t wait a minute longer than that to blog about Paul Farman, particularly the news of his new 2-year deal.
I think regular readers of my blog know I’m a big fan of Farms, he’s not only a very good goal keeper but he’s the sort of character off the field that does the football club immense credit. His joy at winning the league was heart warming, of all the players he is one that really has been to hell and back, or rather Boston and back.
I spoke briefly with him this evening, and he’s clearly delighted with today’s events.
“I am absolutely delighted to have signed to have my first year in the Football League with a club I love. I like working under the gaffer, Nick and Jim. I know they can get the best out of me, and I am looking forward to another two years of it. I am going to enjoy my off season but I will be back ready and raring to go, it is another massive year.”
I don’t think there was too much doubt that Danny would want to retain his services, and I think there was even less doubt that he would want to stay. I first spoke to Paul at the start of the season and he said the one thing he wanted to achieve in his career was to win the National League and become a Football League keeper. He’s done that, and today he’s scrawled his name across a contract that ensures he’ll be with us for the next two years.
I’ve often had to smile this season, whenever he has had a great game (and that’s been quite often), Danny has always played it down in the media. I’ve gotten used to hearing ‘yeah, Paul made a good save but that’s what he’s there to do’ or something similar. We all know how much he rates Farms, but he is rarely one to heap praise on him.
I think he’s grown as a goal keeper since first working with David Preece, and this season he has taken it to another level. It is easy to point at the headline writers such as Nathan Arnold or Matt Rhead, but Paul Farman should have written headlines as well. He’s been superb whenever he has been called into action, and I’m not just talking about his man of the match display at Arsenal.
Eastleigh away, his saves were the foundation of us grabbing that crucial win. Sean Raggett wrote the headlines with his gammy tooth and his winning header, but Farms pulled off two saves that kept us in with a shout. Forest Green away in November, at 2-1 down he pulled off a world class save to stop FGR extending their lead, shortly after Raggett again grabbed the headlines. Every week he’s been consistent, commanding and at times incredibly clever as well. We know his tactical injuries helped earlier in the season, but as it progressed it became clear he was carrying a real injury, and as soon as the title was wrapped up he got the chance to recover. Therein lies the character of the player though, playing through the pain barrier to a high standard to make sure the job gets done. Others have done too of course, but it is a clear indication of the sort of determination the squad has.
It isn’t just his shot stopping that has made him so popular though. This season he has been called into action repeatedly as a sweeper, offering himself up as a backwards ball whenever pressure was on the back four. I thought at some point he would get caught out, he’d slice a kick or a quick forward would dispossess him, but that didn’t happen once. His distribution has been crucial to our play, not least in the home match with FGR where his immediate forward ball dropped to Lee Angol to give us the leveller. It is moved forward quick when we need it, but also he is a master of eating up valuable seconds when we need to slow play down. He’s evolved in the years he’s been at City, and today he is every inch a Football League goalkeeper.
In a blog comparing the 2006/07 side with that of today, I wrote the following:
“Paul Farman is my favourite Lincoln keeper since Alan Marriott, but Mazza was an outstanding stopper who deserved his testimonial … however, Farms isn’t far behind and if he continues to perform at the levels he’s found in the last twelve months then I have no doubt he could go on to eclipse everything Mazza achieved at Lincoln.”
The comparison between him and Mazza was always inevitable, but on a night where Mazza returned to Sincil Bank in the ProNinety match, Paul Farman has at least eclipsed the Imps legend in terms of achievement. I can’t choose between them now, I wouldn’t want to. Alan Marriott is a Lincoln City legend, and by winning the National League and signing a new two-year deal, Paul Farman is of exactly the same standing.
Here’s to another two years of great saves, pink shirts and hopefully winning trophies.