The Stacey West XI – Centre Backs

It’s time for you to have your say on the latest positions to crop up on the Stacey West XI – the centre backs.

This promises to be a highly controversial field where two age groups are set to argue with each other until they can’t argue anymore. It could cause a divide bigger than the Checktrade Trophy boycott, bigger than those who love Ollie Palmer and those who didn’t, even bigger those who love Sweet Caroline and those who think it’s been done to death. yes, it’s time to vote for the centre back pairing.

Now, I’m going to be controversial right from the off. I received around twenty-three nominations, some ridiculous, some borderline, but I’m narrowing the voting down to the ten most popular.

This does mean some good players miss out, but there are ten really great defenders to choose from and I’m convinced that the very best we have had in the last thirty or forty years are contained on this list. As per usual, I’ll do a run down of four and then you’ll get a chance to vote yourself.

Before I go on though, a quick mention to Tony Emery, once upon a time our record appearance holder. Due to playing between 1945 and 1959 he wasn’t featured on the final cut of ten because only a very small percentage of our fans have seen him play, but if this were a genuine all-time XI then he’d be somewhere in the mix. 402 appearances, 1 goal. His one goal, for those who want to know, came away at Chester in 1951.

Firstly, the four favourites are to follow, but there are six names that at present, I’m not going to preview.

Gareth McAuley  (pictured top) will doubtless be amongst the red-hot favourites to take one of the spots. McCauley is well-known to all of us for the stellar career he went on to enjoy at West Brom, but it was Lincoln City which first brought him to England. In typical Keith Alexander fashion, he made his Lincoln debut as a striker! Do remember though, you’re not voting on the career they had, but how they played for City.

You’ll all know Steve Thompson too, he definitely makes the list after two good spells at City. He was a hard man when it meant something, an uncomplicated defender who kicked the ball away, headed it away and quite often did both to the player too. No nonsense was a phrase coined specifically for Thommo and he’s a proper Imps legend.

A few of you won’t have heard of Tony James, the Lionel Ritchie lookalike who arrived from Gainsborough Trinity in the late 1980s. He made just 24 appearances and a further five as a sub, but he got a lot of nominations so I couldn’t possibly have left him out. We paid £6000 for him in August 1988, one year later Leicester gave us £150,000. He suffered a bad injury early in his Leicester career which effectively snuffed out his promise.

Steve Holmes had three spells at City, beginning as a YTS player and later on loan from Preston before signing a permanent deal. He was a leader on the pitch when, according to many observers, we didn’t have one-off it. Peter Gain spoke incredibly highly of him in a 2016 interview with me, and rightly so. Holmes could get forward and offer a threat in both boxes and he deserves to be talked about in the top ten defenders you’ve seen play.

Grant Brown needs no introduction, if longevity was the key to a place in the side then he’d be the first name on the team sheet, literally. He played more games than anyone else for Lincoln City, joining as a young man from Leicester and staying here for the duration of his playing career. Mr Lincoln City, Hoof, call him what you will, he’s an Imps legend.

Sam Ellis can be fondly remembered as a player, not so much as a manager. He played in the 1975/76 Fourth division winning side, a tough and uncomplicated centre back with no hairs or graces. If much of the voters were younger, I’d be putting my money on sam to win his place in the side. who knows, we might have some old school voters waiting in the wings.



  1. As talented as Paul Morgan was – and he’s my choice – I do recall how comically bad he was at knocking the ball forwards from the back!
    He rarely made a mistake though and always had the pace and skill to recover if he did.

  2. Jamie McCombe was every bit as good for us as McAuley & Morgan.
    I can’t vote for Morgan, as we never saw him in a traditional back four. He was always in the sweeper role, mopping up what the two giants in front of him didn’t.
    I’ve voted for the duo that I think complement each other the best, Austin for his pace & power & Raggett for his aerial prowess.

  3. Peake and Thomson were the best pairing I’ve seen in an Imps team but you can’t ignore McAuley for the time he has lasted in the top league. So Peake and McAuley for me.

  4. Not sure if I am just biased against Morgan because the journalist prior to Curtis always referred to him as Baresi, and although he was decent he was never that good. My personal feeling is that he is thought of as better than he was because he didn’t just hoof it, but I don’t think he did enough of the key stuff well. Unlike McCauley and McCombe he also didn’t play at a higher level after

  5. I’ll vote for Peake, given he was brilliant, but also because he told me to get off the pitch on my third lap of the centre circle as an over-keen, seven-year-old mascot. Happy memories!

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