I’ve been so focused on us recently I’ve forgotten my one-man crusade against the Lincoln City anti-hero Steve Evans. Aside from those lost Coco-Pops from the other day, I had been content to concentrate on Lincoln City and ignore Steve Evans. Many of you perhaps feel I should, but today’s Mansfield Town iFollow has made me smile.
Steve has been chatting to local press about the season, and after ten minutes of well-reasoned rhetoric and perfectly acceptable discussion about his team, he finally came onto Michael Bostwick. Prior to today I was (perhaps obsessively) critical of him not mentioning Lincoln City, but today he brought us into his own title race completely unprompted.
Whilst talking about his own team being favourites, Evans mentioned the spending power at Luton and Coventry before turning his attentions to the signing that shocked League Two last week.
“You have to look at Lincoln who spent in the region of £400,000 on Michael Bostwick, and he was the Peterborough Player of the Season last season. You see that sort of investment and you have to think it is going to be a hell of a league. I’d rather be favourites than 66-1 though, last season Mansfield were something like 40-1 and the pressure on the manager was still the same. When you’re in League Two and you have Steve Evans as your manager then the expectation is that you’re going to challenge, and we are going to challenge but it’s question of whether we get into that top three.”
Now usually at this point I’d rip into Evans, but to his credit he had earlier said that his sides are always favourites because he always has very strong backing. My observation here would be that he puts almost all the emphasis onto the spending power of teams and doesn’t seem to place much importance on continuation from a successful season last time out.
Whilst Luton and Coventry have spent some money, as have Mansfield Town, I think teams such as Exeter and Cambridge must be brought into the promotion mix. They’ve added to stable mid-table squads with good signings, although the loss of Ollie Hawkins might dent Exeter’s hopes. Continuity of success is vitally important, and on thing Lincoln City have that Coventry and Mansfield do not is the spine of a successful side from last season.
Okay, I’ll mention it. £400,000? Does he not read the papers? Peterborough turned down a reported £250,000 bit from Blackburn Rovers, and Darragh MacAnthony openly said Lincoln had paid less than other sides in the hunt;
“This wasn’t a financial decision for our club transfer wise. Blackburn offered us more money for Michael than Lincoln, but Michael is a family man and he didn’t want to move his family up there so he had no interest in talking to them.“So we took the decision yesterday when Lincoln approached us and Bossie intimated it was a move good for him and his family geographically as opposed to other offers we had accepted from other clubs, that it was the right thing to accept the bid & allow him to move on.”
So Steve, £400,000 is some way off what we actually paid, and in truth it is likely Michael Bostwick has still cost us less than Lee Angol.
I’m quite proud of both Steve and myself today. He was very reserved when speaking about Bostwick, aside from some inflated transfer fees (and lets face it, Steve inflates all his transfer fees) he was complimentary enough to bring us into his ‘title contenders’ fold. It does show what a flash of cash can do to the belligerent Scot. I’m proud of me too because I didn’t spend fifteen minutes watching the iFollow feed to find something to rip him about, although I could have done because there was material there.
In truth, this article is only being published to underline the fact that our dealings last week have taken us from mid-tables also-rans in the eyes of out competition, to top seven material with a real chance of the play-offs. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think two players alone make that difference, but they are a clear signal of the strength of our recruitment as a whole, and therefore they’re enough to make even Steve Evans take note, the self-styled ‘master of promotion’ from League Two.