It’s 11.24pm and I’ve just walked in from a truly unique evening in our club’s history. The result is that for the first time in 133 years of trying, Lincoln City are going to Wembley.
I’ll do an article tomorrow talking about the game, the incidents and the outcome, but right now it is hard to formulate the words that will do how I feel justice. I know there are thousands of you out there who feel exactly the same.
I know this is a tainted competition, I know there’s plenty of controversy surrounding it, but nobody complained when they made the JPT final, certainly not our friends up the A46 whenever they got to Wembley in it. No, whatever your feelings we’ve reached a Wembley final on merit.
Not only that, but we struck a blow for lower league football, we put the rich kids in their place, blame the pitch, our tactics, whatever, but in the end we wanted that and we went out and took it. Chelsea kids were a good side, they have some very special footballers who will go on to play at the very highest level. They won’t be playing at Wembley in April though, we made sure of that.
History was made at Sincil Bank tonight and I’m honoured to have been there to witness it. Countless Imps fans have lived and died without ever knowing what it was like to reach a cup final, but I’m fortunate enough to have found out. On April 8th, I won’t care that Swansea kids took part, nor Chelsea kids, nor any of the academy sides. Some might find it an insult we had to face them at all, but we beat everyone put in our way, we beat kids, we beat League Two teams and we beat League One teams. Now, for the first time ever, we will walk down Wembley Way in our red and white striped shirts, proud to be Lincoln City fans.
I didn’t cry at the final whistle, I guess I save the emotion for league titles, but by god I was proud. Our players have performed superbly throughout the season, tonight each and every one stood up to be counted. Whether it was Elliott Whitehouse with his commanding display, Ollie Palmer putting emotion under his hat to remain calm during penalties, Bozzie and Rhead doing exactly what they needed to in order to leave an impression on the kids, or even Lee Frecklington’s one touch of the evening. To a man, they were superb.
Last season, we wrote National history as well as our own, but this evening we stopped debatable history being written as well as adding another page to our own. We stopped the kids reaching the final, not MK Dons, not Portsmouth, not Oxford, us. Lincoln City. We did it.
It hasn’t really sunk in just yet if I’m honest. I need a night’s sleep and a bit of perspective before I can write coherently about the game, but just as I did against Burnley and Ipswich, I had to write something. I had to get some of the whirlwind of emotions onto a page and up for people to read and identify with.
Lincoln City are going to Wembley. I am one of the first people to ever write that in an internet article and it makes me proud with every inch of my being. 133 years of history, rewritten.
Danny, Nicky and the players; I thank you as a fan, as a life long supporter of this sometimes downtrodden football club. If there was ever any doubt that you were amongst our greatest managers ever, tonight has surely dispelled that. Thank you.