Winning the League might be old news, but today at the National Game Awards Lincoln City dominated proceedings with awards coming from the left and the right. Thank god we signed Luke Waterfall to head them back.
The obvious choice for Manager of the Year was always going to be Danny Cowley. He’s a two-time winner now having picked up the award with Braintree last season, and that underlines exactly what massive potential our gaffer has. Humble as ever, upon receiving the award he said “Everyone knows Lincoln City is a Football League (standard) club, but we’ve needed non-league personel to get us there.”
The Player of the Year went to our very own Alex Woodyard, and I’m convinced by this time next week he’ll have several trophies bearing that title. He picked up the Young Player of the Year last season, and quite rightly he got the main award this season. That is some achievement when you think he was in the same category as 40-goal Ricky Miller, but this award has represented so much more than just goals scored. I’ve banged on about Alex since the first day I saw him, I don’t need to tell you how good he is, and he doesn’t need an award to prove it. Just in case though, he’s got the first of a couple today.
Young Player of the Year? Yup, that’s ours as well. Sean Raggett picked up the award after a scintillating season at centre half, a season in which he not only stopped goals, but scored them as well. There’s no surprise our two most precious playing assets picked up the top two awards, both have been outstanding. I’m sure anyone that saw Sean Raggett mash his face up against Eastleigh, only to go on and score the winner, believes he deserves an award. He hasn’t won it just for guts and bravery though, he’s a great footballer destined to have a great career.
Goalkeeper of the Year? Lincoln City have dibs on that too, specifically Mr Farman himself. Farms is another player whom I bang on about far too much, my missus even questioned if it was her or me that put a fridge magnet bearing his face in our kitchen! He’s a top keeper, he’s grown and developed over the last five seasons, and it must be a fitting end to his non-league spell to be named the top keeper in the division. Another well deserved win.
The awards keep on coming too. There’s one for cup run of the year, and despite being eliminated at the semi-final stage by York City, we bagged that too. Oddly they didn’t give it to us for our FA Trophy run though, but for the FA Cup. We only made the Quarter Final stage of that competition though.
Seriously what we achieved in the FA Cup this season will be unrivalled for many years, the acts of giant killing just kept coming and coming. Our clash with Oldham changed the season, but from a fans perspective the Ipswich double header was perhaps one of the greatest moments ever as an Imps fan. Nathan Arnold’s winner will never leave me, and then to go and beat a Premier League team away seemed too fanciful even to write. Lincoln City earned the right to go toe to toe with one of the best teams in the country, and our day at the Emirates is another memory that will never fade. Nobody else could win this award, I suspect they engraved Lincoln City on it before the final whistle had even blown.
Team of the Year? Well, I’m afraid you don’t win the League, win the cup run awards, best manager and have three players pick up an award without taking the top prize for yourself as well. Lincoln City were named Team of the Year, and whilst I know that 99 points and top pot was enough for me, it is amazing to think that we have made such a mark on the non-league scene. We know what a great season we’ve had, but it is nice.
I’m sure many fans will read these words with pride, although it is very much the cherry on the icing, on the cake. National Recognition isn’t something the Imps have had in recent years, and these just go to show the level of achievement we’ve got to this season. We may be back in the Football League, but we leave the National League not only as champions, but also lauded by our peers.