Alex Woodyard hit 100 outings for Lincoln City yesterday, a superb achievement in just under 20 months of football at Sincil Bank.
In that time he’s had a couple of new contracts, plenty of interest from opposition and a somewhat odd goal scoring record of three goals, two of which came in one game against Carlisle. What he has also done is turn in confident and busy performances virtually every week.
What I like about Alex is, as Luke Waterfall once described it, his ‘ratting around’ in midfield. He won’t settle, battling and contesting every single ball. He’s got a decent pass on him too, often backwards or sideways helping to build our possession and pressure. I wouldn’t say he’s one to thread a thirty yard through ball or create something from nothing, he’s a worker bee, doing the breaking up and laying up that helps both defence and attack but doesn’t truly belong to either.
It’s often called the unseen work, but with Alex much of what he does has to be seen because your eyes follow the ball and so does he. He’s got his own song too, something that is a sign of true endearment (or a sign that your name fits nicely into a song).
I’m also impressed with the way he’s bounced back from the January speculation linking him with Luton. His girlfriend works down in London and a move to Kenilworth Road would have brought more money and convenience, but instead he chose to remain at city and with his mentors, Danny and Nicky.
His relationship with Danny is something I’m told he’s given quite a bit of stick for, being the ‘gaffers son’ and there’s certainly a deep mutual respect between the two, or three if you count Nicky too. That relationship has been critical to him making 100 appearances, will it be the same in 100 more?
Alex started as a trainee at Charlton Athletic before moving on to Southend. A loan spell at Braintree led to a permanent move to Dartford, but it looked as though the youngster was going to drop out of the game, especially after being deployed as a right winger. Concord Rangers, managed by Danny Cowley, came knocking and you could say the rest is history.
He’s been one of the integral parts of our success in the last 20-odd months, in all of the memories we’ve had Woodyard in the middle, working away. He might not get the goals, he might not be the threat at set-pieces but he is absolutely crucial to everything we do. From the Stacey West, congratulations on the 100 Alex, here’s to 100 more.