Before I start, rumour of Imps interest in Padraig Amond are purely social media speculation. He is one of those players that fans think would be a good signing, and with him dropping into the National League it is assumed he will want a step back up. There is no suggestion from me that we’re chasing Amond. I know proper media like to deal in facts, so there are the facts.
However, the need for an alternative to Matt Green hasn’t been hidden by Danny Cowley, and as deadline day approaches he will be burning the midnight oil checking on players. On the face of it, Padraig Amond would be an incredibly good signing.
Whenever I hear his name I immediately recall the song; “we’ve got Amond, Padraig Amond, I just don’t think you understand….”. It’s sung to the tune of Achy Breaky Heart and it was the soundtrack to one of the worst car journeys of my life. Amond had a cracking season for Grimsby in 2015/16, 35 goals from 46 outings is an impressive return. He terrorized defences and I confess I was envious. I longed for a striker of his ability, and I was delighted when he jumped ship as soon as they got promoted and joined Hartlepool.
He started off last season in decent form, clearly Football League defences were a bit wiser and tougher for him to break down. Not Grimsby’s though, he bagged twice as Hartlepool won 3-0 at Blunder Park on the same day we beat Braintree 3-0 at Sincil Bank. Oh how I celebrated that night. “We’ve got Amond…” indeed.
He went on to get a decent tally of 19 goals from 49 outings as Hartlepool slipped out of the league, but despite their demise he wasn’t really mentioned as a target for anyone in the summer. I expected he would honour his Hartlepool contract, especially when the new manager stated he needed him for the upcoming season. A goal a against Maidenhead a couple of weeks ago seemed to underline he was staying put. Part of me thought he might do a job for City, but the other half wondered if he’d be happy playing second fiddle to Matt Green. When rumours surfaced on social media that we might be looking at him I was neither underwhelmed, nor overwhelmed. He can score goals, but is he what Lincoln City need for the final fifteen minutes of a game? Some strikers, such as Amond, need starts and seventy minutes to get into games, others (like Adam Marriott) are effective from the bench but not so much from the start. We need that explosion of pace and skill for the last twenty, a long-term successor to Matt Green.
I suspect all of my thoughts on the subject are irrelevant now anyway. This weekend ‘Podge’ as he likes to be known, refused to turn out for Hartlepool in an attempt to force a move to the Football League. He was happy enough to take a two-year deal when it suited him, but now he’s wanting to get back to the higher level, and he isn’t willing to do it the hard way again. Hartlepool lost 2-0 to Bromley, and manager Craig Harrison told the Non League Paper it wasn’t a big surprise;
“We can’t do anything more, it is his decision. Podge not wanting to play Saturday didn’t come as a big surprise to me. He doesn’t want to be here. He handed in a transfer request four or five weeks ago. It was the last step to make himself unavailable.”
If Danny Cowley had been looking at the player, I believe deliberately being unavailable for selection despite being under contract would instantly put him off. He likes men with integrity, players who remain focused on a cause even if their future lay elsewhere. Players like Sean Raggett. Amond might score goals, he might add something to our squad but in one foolish move he has ensured the only clubs that will take him are those mercenary enough to trust a player willing to ditch his employers when things don’t go his way. That’s probably the other 23 clubs in our league, but I’d rather be the one side with integrity.
Danny once told me that you can have one disruptive player in the squad, one player you have to keep an eye on and manage in a special way, but only if they add significant value. It was during a conversation about Ricky Miller, but I’m not sure Padraig Amond is the same prospect as Miller. I’m not saying he is disruptive in a group, but his actions show he lacks one quality that Danny values very highly indeed, integrity.
The sad fact is Padriag Amond’s ploy will work. One of the other 23 League Two clubs will take him on, most likely Newport County. His actions, however disrespectful to Hartlepool will not serve as a warning to his potential employers. They will see almost 60 goals in two seasons and that will be enough. Football isn’t a game where loyalty and integrity carry much value at all, which is why I’m delighted with our current set up. We don’t just claim to have the qualities, our management demand it and our players demonstrate it. It means when sides come knocking for Danny and Nicky, unless it is a phenomenal offer, they’ll stay put. It’s why Sean Raggett played against Wycombe and virtually ensured he’d be back on loan. It’s why, no matter how rough the next few weeks are in terms of results, Lincoln City have a bright future.
My apologies for the Achy Breaky Heart Link in this piece. My Mum bloody loved that song as a kid, she got the single and used to play it over and over again. Then she recorded the video on VHS and used to spend hours playing it over and over. It is catchy though!