I think it’s time we acknowledged that something extraordinary is happening at our football club, something unprecedented for us, and I’d imagine for League Two as a whole.
Today, for the seventh consecutive day, queues are forming at Sincil Bank that look likely to last the whole day. That is seven solid days of queuing from fans desperate to lay their hands on a season ticket to watch the Mighty Imps back in the Football League.
I know the process of buying takes a little longer which results in some of the queuing, but yesterday my step-mum Mo joined the queue at 10am and was there for five solid hours. People were being turned away, indicating that there is no shortage of fans still without the golden ticket. Will we see two weeks of queues? How about three? Doubtless come June 10th many people will be back at the ground hoping to mop up the seats that haven’t been renewed, if there are any.
Remember many fans (such as myself) have renewed via post, meaning the fans willing to wait in the rain are only a portion of those wanting season tickets. The very real possibility is that next season crowds will not drop below 5,000, with a bare minimum of 4,000 season tickets looking likely to be sold. There is also the real possibility that the floating fan will not be able to come along in a group of two or three and find a vacant seat in the Coop stand.
What sort of statement is this sending out to the rest of the league? Here we are, six years after being relegated in front of dwindling crowds, and we truly are back stronger than ever. The fan base is looking likely to get up to the levels achieved in the mid seventies and early eighties, and those incorporated some of our most successful years on the pitch.
Please bear that in mind when talking about these queues, they may be an irritant, tempers may get frayed, but the whole scenario is a clear indication that Lincoln City are not just back, but we’re new and improved. The city and the club are in unison, and that isn’t just because of Arsenal away anymore. I am left wondering if this is the new order of things, if this is now the ‘status quo’. This city has so much potential, since the inception of the university it has grown and thrived, it has become somewhere people want to visit, rich in both culture and history. Now in the summer of 2017 that growth and good feeling has finally embraced our beloved Imps as well, and there’s no reason why that should not continue and push us to new heights.
Mark Cooper can talk about his style of football all he wants, Dale Vince can think it is easy to get out of this league as well, but we know differently. They’re treading the boards of the Football League for the first time, but we spent years in the basement division, plotting, fighting and scrapping to try to elevate ourselves. Having a few bob is one thing, but as we saw this season fans do make a difference. How many teams withered in front of 7,000 Imps towards the end of the season? Forest Green certainly did, and they’re not going to be short of big games next year. Finally, we are on of the biggest clubs at this level, and not just because we have a nice ground.
I’d like to end with a big thank you to the ticket office girls, Nicole Smith in particular. Yesterday, after standing in the rain for over five hours, Mo came away with the wrong seat. We wanted something close to UJ79 and UJ80 in the Coop upper block 3, and unfortunately she was given UG77. I emailed last night on my Dad’s behalf explaining the situation, and at 10.01am this morning I got an email back. The only seat close to mine that was available was UK80, and Nicole had swapped my Dad to that seat. In amongst all of the chaos, all of the queuing and all of the ticket frenzy, there is a group of people working incredibly hard to ensure they offer as good a service as they possibly can.
These truly are exciting times, and the longer the queues and the higher the demand, the more exciting the future looks. On our way back? Nah mate, we are back and we’re not going to look back for one second.