Deadline Day Extra: Questions Must Be Asked

I’m still here, plugging away at my well-worn keyboard. After thirteen hours of following proceedings I’ll admit, I felt a bit cheated at 11pm. I’m not alone either, am I? There’s a lot of you out there wondering what exactly has happened. After thrashing some poor kid on FIFA 18 and having a nice up of tea I’ve settled down and composed myself.

Disclaimer: at the end of this article there is some bad language. If you’re easily offended, don’t read the last line. Cheers.

There are questions that have to be asked and I feel, having followed this transfer window and reported on it for you, I should be the one to start asking. Are you ready?

Why do some fans feel that we need a 20-goal striker? Matt Green has eight in twelve, we’ve failed to score once in 13 games and scored twice or more on ten occasions in that run. We’re hardly stuck for goals are we? Where our rivals have a fifteen goal striker, we’ve got goals from all over. Those people looking at the stats saying our rivals strikers score more, have you factored our wingers goal in against theirs? No? thought not.

Why is our entire transfer window being judged on not bringing in one player? Okay, so we’ve not fulfilled all of our targets, but it could be worse, we could be Grimsby or someone like that. You know why they’ve been so tragic this season, aside from John Fenty? Because managers have been allowed to bring in average players who subsequently clog up the budget. You know, the exact thing Danny is wanting to avoid. Do you think there is a single team in League Two who has ticked all of their boxes in this window? No. Do you think there is a single team in League Two that wouldn’t take our business over theirs? We signed a League One captain in Lee Frecklington, a Championship quality defender in James Wilson and the same in midfield in the form of Danny Rowe. We’ve taken one of our rivals star players in Tom Pett and resisted having the same done to us by Luton. We’ve undoubtedly strengthened and improved since the window opened, hanging on to all of our best players and bringing in far better than we had, bar perhaps Raggs.

 

Those people crying on social media about a lack of goals, consider this: we’ve scored more than two of the sides currently in the play-off spots. We’ve scored as many or more than every single team below us in the table. To suggest we’re being held back by the lack of striker is madness. Yes, if Matt Green gets injured we’re going to look a little light on the ground, but we’re not being held back because we haven’t brought in Ricky Miller. Any neutral observers wouldn’t glance at the table and go ‘if only Lincoln could score more goals’, because we’re comparable with those teams around us. So Padraig Amond has got more than Matt Green, we’re still above Newport and have scored the same amount overall.

In fact, where do some supporters get the nerve to moan about our dealings in the transfer window? Two weeks ago Danny was the messiah for bringing Freck home and then securing Jordan Williams and James Wilson the next day. This window has been superb and I have utter belief in the manager. If he couldn’t get value for money, I trust that he’s done the best for our club and walked away from deals. Can you tell me the one time he hasn’t done the best for us? Can you tell me one time he’s frittered away our money on a whim? Never. Can you tell me a time over the last eighteen months where his win percentage has dropped below that of any Lincoln City manager in history? I’ll give you a clue: it’s never. Why then, do some feel justified to sit behind a keyboard and call him naïve in the transfer market? ‘Danny’s got to learn how the big league works’ I saw last night. Has he really? He’s got a 60% win percentage as Lincoln manager, Graham Taylor had 44%. Danny has brought us Michael Bostwick, Lee Frecklington, Matt Green, James Wilson and a host of other superb players. He’s barely put a foot wrong in the market since he arrived and in the space of twelve months we’ve reached two semi-finals, an FA Cup quarter finals and won a League Title. We’re now one win from automatic promotion in League Two and in serious danger of achieving back to back promotions for the first time in the club’s history. I think he understands the so-called big league very well.

Yet still, some fans moan. Sure, I felt disappointed when the clock struck eleven and a striker was nowhere to be seen, but seeing as the man responsible for the transfer policy has taken us on an unprecedented run and completely rebuilt a shattered team, got an entire City to love the club again and given us all belief we can reach the Championship, I’ll trust his judgement. If the players he wanted to sign weren’t value for money, then I’ll trust him implicitly when he doesn’t sign them. How do we know Tom Pett, a wonderful player by all accounts, won’t drop into the centre and bag a few goals? Jordan Williams is rumoured to have played centre forward too, how do we know he won’t do it again? Because he’s a winger on FIFA? Sure, that must be a better way of judging, rather than trusting the manager who works with the players day in, day out and is dedicating every single second of his life to pushing our club forward.

A midfielder, scoring a goal. A midfielder who was captain of a Championship side this time last year.

You know what? I won’t entertain it any longer. I won’t have the negativity and bad vibes. You’re entitled to an opinion and I respect that, but no longer will I indulge in arguing my point. Danny Cowley does not deserve to be questioned incessantly on social media, his record speaks for itself. He is on an upward trajectory and his actions yesterday are completely in line with the actions that have brought him and Nicky to this point. I am not saying he is beyond reproach, nobody is at any level of the game, but I will not indulge the doom and gloom merchants when we’re as good as we’ve been in my lifetime.

Let us not lose sight of who we are, where we are and what we’re achieving. Lincoln City haven’t been to Wembley in 133 years, yet within 12 months we’ve been within one game thrice. It hasn’t happened by accident either, one of those semi-finals, due to take place next week, has been achieved with ‘just’ three recognised strikers. Who the hell do we think we are as fans to start calling out a man who has done the things for our club which Danny Cowley has? I feel disappointed with myself for doubting him at 11pm last night, but I’ll leave the article up to remind myself of what posting rash blogs achieves. Nothing.

If Danny didn’t do business for a striker yesterday, there will be good reason. Until we’re in the bottom two (FGR), spending beyond our means (Mansfield) or have only scored three in ten games (Grimsby), perhaps we should trust in the man who has led us for the last year and a half? Perhaps we should rally behind the excellent squad we do have and stop wanting more and more all the time. The transfer window and football in general has turned fans into gluttonous fools, desperate to add more names to a squad list when in truth, we’re not doing to badly at all. Our clamour for more news was like a spoiled kid at Christmas, no sooner had one announcement been made than we wanted the next, disregarding the new signing we’d just witnessed in an incessant hunger for more, more, MORE. More presents Mummy, more players Danny, MORE!

Right, my deadline day is now over, it is 1.38am and I want to be by the radio at 8.50am to listen to what Danny has to say. When he talks, he’s earned the right to have us listen and believe. In the meantime, if you’re raging about us not getting a striker in time, go and have a flick through our last six years of history and get some fucking perspective.

 

32 Comments

  1. Well said Gary. I read the 11pm blog and was a bit disappointed by your comments. Thankyou for being man enough to admit you were a bit hasty with some things you said.
    I cannot understand anyone doubting Danny or Nicky in their passion & hard work for City. There is no bottomless pit of money to spend. The team of players assembled by Danny all echo his commitment to Lincoln so why shouldn’t we as fans follow this example.

  2. I do not doubt Danny’s ability for one moment but we seriously needed a ruthless striker. Matt Green works tirelessly for the team and is scoring but his chances to goals ratio is appalling, if we had a Doidge, Miller or Hylton we would sat in the top 2.

  3. All true. The only thing I would add is that it’ll be useful for the club to state when business is over. Other clubs do it.
    It stops the speculation and lack of sleep!

  4. I couldn’t agree more. The Imps are flying high and it’s all because of the Cowley’s. There is absolutely no reason to start doubting then now, we have brought in some quality players and more importantly, quality players who Danny KNOWS will gel with the squad. Danny’s Lincoln are not a group of individuals, they are a tight knit group. They all work hard for each other. And for us. Be proud! These are great times for our club, let’s just keep on embracing it and trusting the people who have made it all happen. UTI!

  5. Well said Gary. Yes, it would have been nice to have brought in more players. But as it is we (well, DC & NC) have selection challenges in defence and midfield because of the quality we have and our forwards are doing very well thank you. Last season was great but our forwards were not scoring that many and we were relying on others to get among the goals. I watched the highlights of the Newport game and to see 3 forwards each get a well taken goal was really encouraging. I do hope the players don’t dwell on the negative comments that they may read on social media.

  6. I think I’ve just wasted my last 5 mins having read your rantings , It’s like a News of the World journalist. Can anyone really be thinking like that at all. What we all desire is a final push to promotion and a Wembley final. How fantastic would that be. We’ll achieve this by;-
    – having a goalkeeper who comes out for crosses rather than confusing the defence.
    – retain possession a little better. When we move the ball well, 2 or 3 passes in the right area we open teams up.
    – Green up front with three in midfield (including Bostwick) is a really sensible option particularly away from home.

    • Some very good points gary, but we are talking fickle fans here some with a very short history of real support,and some with short memories.

  7. Good points here Gary, particularly on Williams and Pett – when signed I think they were described as a ‘forward’ and an ‘attacker’ respectively. Surely this says that they are much more flexible than simply a winger! I’m expecting to see one or both play up top at some point. I’m delighted with the business done in January, how anyone can moan is beyond me when things are so good currently I can scarcely believe it still. UTI

  8. Will second all of the above comments and a great article. Some very good business done in January and now looking forward to the remainder of the season even more than I was before. Just hoping we can beat Chelsea kids next week to really bring home where the club are and what has been achieved to date. UTI

  9. We have a bloody good squad now. I think we all irrationally expected another Bostwick /Freck moment, but we certainly have the tools for automatic promotion as of today. Bring it on!

  10. We would have been moaning like hell had we signed the 2 “strikers” Grimsby signed. Quality over quantity every time for me. I think the Lincoln fans have become a little spoilt of late. Sit back and enjoy these good times, because even as a football league club in my 57 years watching there have been far more bad times than good. Embrace what we have it does not come round very often.

  11. Never doubt the Cowleys Simple.
    Even before yesterday the squad was stronger than December 31st.
    Would still have preferred to have still have RAGGS until the end of the season but time to move on.
    Miller – well a bad egg who has moved to the remand home for convicted criminals.
    Onward and upward with the Cowleys and the Imps.

  12. A fantastic transfer window for me. We have upgraded the squad in most positions and are ready to kick on now.

    Yes another striker would have been nice but let’s not forget that advanced midfielders we have signed who have a track record of banging in goals as well! We can easily switch to a 4-2-3-1 if a striker gets injured and have Freck playing more advanced banging in the goals, as well as pushing up Anderson and Rowe even further who both definitely know where the back of the net is!

    In Cowleys we trust

  13. Great points Gary (and in the other comments here). I confess that I got caught up in the hype as well as was a bit disappointed at 11pm. However, a new dawn brings fresh perspective. 2 points from me. Firstly, this disappointment comes because we are actually sharing Danny’s disappointment. It is because he shares as much as he can with us and tells us it straight. He doesn’t indulge in spin like others. Evans in the same position would have claimed that he was wasn’t after a striker after all. The other point is that he wanted a specific type of player – a channel runner to give cover for Green. If that wasn’t possible then he had to abandon it (however late in the day). It was surely always only going to be back-up or an equivalent standard. As others have pointed out, if Green is injured then our back up is what we saw in the second half on Tuesday. 3 in midfield, 3 front players (2 of which are wide players). We have 6 to cover the 2 wide positions and 3 to cover the front 1 with that formation. We also have players such as Freck and Whitehouse who can play a number 10 role in addition to those 9 (count them!) players.

  14. More than happy with the signings during the transfer window.
    The squad has been strengthened and are capable of making the final push for a promotion challenge.

  15. Finally? Miller, Robinson, Angol,all touted. Miller hasn’t scored since last April. Angol & Robinson have scored almost the same and none of these has had much match time. Thank goodness they’re not part of LCFC this morning.

  16. Very true gary we have to realise how far we have come in this season, danny and nicky work 24/7 for this club and they haven done a bad job so far have they ? A medium sized squad is a happy squad, the more players you have the more you have sitting on the sidelines unhappy, in the cowleys we trust UTMI ⚽⚽⚽⚽

  17. Agree with most here, the squad we have today is something we couldn’t have imagined less than a month ago. Every player brought in has been carefully selected, we have never had this before, bloody awesome.

    Still maintain that Neil Eardley is the best defender in this league but James Wilson really looked the part on Tuesday night against Newport.

    Not heard any news on Nathan Arnold, do we know why he isn’t playing at the moment ?

    And well done Gary on being honest, brilliant coverage as always.

  18. I think this is your best article so far Gary – puts everything into perspective. A new striker would have been the cherry on the cake, but overall a successful window, especially when you consider we could have lost crucial players. Although we never really know until we see the new recruits play – remember we were all salivating (not literally) over Maguire-Drew before we’d seen him pull on the stripes.
    Anyway, glad the window is shut and we can just enjoy the ride now

  19. I totally agree. Very shrewd business. We have plenty of players to create and put away chances. If strengthening at the back allows a midfield 3 of Bostwick, Woodyard and Frecklington, we will dominate games. A front 3 with forwards that work hard for the team and wingers unleashed to attack (fresh and rested) seems like a recipe for success to me. Why blow the budget on an over-priced striker when you can strengthen the team as a whole?

  20. Feels like we are behind the times. You have always had SSN and Jim White and yellow ties with Robhino and Torres etc. But Lincoln were never part of all that guff. Now we are back in the big league and had a good cup run, putting an extra 6k bums on seats and behind keyboards, suddenly deadline day is a thing for us. Endless bloody prattle about who we may or may not be signing. That in itself is dull but completely tosh, because it doesn’t matter who you get in, if they don’t fit the system we want to play. And for all the talk of Miller, how likely was it the Cowley’s who like to know a player’s passion and desires and history were likely to opt for him. Yeah he scores goals but at what cost? And it is so redundant to think “We don’t score as many goals as we like, therfore we must get more strikers”. Man utd signed no strikers in the window, only an attacking forward but I would say they are now more dangerous.

  21. Re couple of the comments above, the club summarised the transfer window action about 10pm last night, presumably about the time it was clear the striker deal wasn’t going to happen.

    And for one at least, Danny doesn’t know what he’s doing and has a rubbish squad. Each to their own, evidence so far suggests otherwise.

    He’s sticking to his principles, the club refused to panic last night and sign any old journeyman striker which no doubt was a viable option. He trusts in what he has to do the job in hand and recruit in the summer, hopefully with the incentive of League 1 football next season.

    Last season and this so far goals have been shared around the squad, that’s healthy, our eggs are not in one basket. Two of the top scorers in the league are with clubs in a relegation fight, good players who I’d have liked to see here, but that clearly indicates FGR and Chesterfield have 1 jewel and the remainder dross, whereas we have quality across the board.

    Interesting that the Stevenage chairman has mentioned in a ‘deadline day’ piece they took 2 strikers we were interested in (Goddard and Revell)neither mentioned here on any of the other fans’ forums, some of us looking in the wrong places.

    Great article.

  22. When you look at the starting 11 v Macclesfield last season: Farman, Wood, Raggett, Waterfall, Habergham, Arnold, Woodyard, Whitehouse, Hawkridge, Angol, Rhead. Subs:Knott, Ginnelly, Long, Anderson, Marriott.

    Then look at the starting line up v Newport last Tuesday. Farman, Eardley, Waterfall, Bostwick, Habergham, Rowe, Woodyard, Frecklington, Anderson, Rhead, Green. Subs Long, Whitehouse, Williams,Wilson, Palmer, Stewart and Walton.

    Vickers is out injured and would have possibly replaced Farman in goal, yet people bemoan not adding a striker.

    Seriously people with possibly the exception of Raggett can you argue that the current side is poorer man for man than that of last season, and I’ll also add Bostwick was the captain of a league 1 side this time last year.

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