The Stacey West XI – Midfielders (Pt3)

There’s no point in hanging about, you know the drill by now. Four more that will be wanting your vote this weekend.

Peter Gain

The big question here is not whether he should be nominated or not, that’s obvious. It’s whether he was a left winger or a central midfielder?

Peter Gain joined City on loan from Spurs as we were relegated from the second division, and played just three times for City including a 5-0 defeat at Preston North End. John Reames however had seen enough and wisely splashed out £15,000 to bring the player to Sincil Bank.

Gain worked hard to earn a starting place; until that is Phil Stant took over and he dropped to the bench. He was considered a little light weight for the direct style of play we seemed to prefer. When Alan Buckley took over he signed his son Adam who was preferred on the left of midfield to Gainy. Eventually he forced his way in to the side scoring a goal in the superb 3-2 December 2001 win against Scunthorpe United. In a dark and desperate season, it was left up to the young player to produce the odd moment of excitement, and when Buckley left it was up to Keith Alexander to convince him to remain at Sincil Bank. He was one of the few players to survive administration and remain at Sincil Bank.

Under Keith Alexander he developed into perhaps the finest player I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing in a Lincoln City shirt. He formed part of a midfield often bypassed by a long ball, but when it did land on the turf in the final third we got to see what Peter Gain was all about.

He could glide past players as if they weren’t there, and he had a habit of producing exquisite goals and pieces of skill that completely betrayed the level of football he was performing at. As we surged towards the play-offs he became an integral part of everything good happening at the club, culminating in a 3-0 home win over Hartlepool in which he ran the show. He was unable to inspire us to play-off success but his trickery and ability had pushed us to within an inch of success. It was a Peter Gain pass that put Simon Yeo through to score the important equaliser on the last day against Torquay, as it had so often been a Peter Gain pass that led to the goals to keep us in the hunt.

The following season he arguably got even better. He scored seven times including spectacular goals away at York and Carlisle. He terrorized defenders and alongside Richard Butcher formed the best midfield pairing witnessed at Lincoln in a generation. Again, we got so close to success, but again we couldn’t quite get over the line.

The goals dried up in his final season and he failed to hit the heights of the previous two campaigns as we once again lost out in Cardiff, this time to Southend. Gainy was one of a few players who left in the summer of 2005 although frustratingly for Imps fans he chose Peterborough United as his destination, in the same league as City. Posh had offered him a three-year deal though and he shouldn’t be chastised for chasing that financial security. Predictably he scored against the Imps in Simon Yeo’s first game back at the club as we drew 1-1. Towards the end of the season he featured on the Big Ron Manager programme as a Peterborough player.

The following season he scored again at London Road against the Imps, this time City ran out 2-1 winners thanks to a brace by Ryan Amoo. Gain was criticised heavily for his celebration in that game against his old club, but as recently as 2016 he admitted that he regretted a ‘moment of madness in the face of extreme provocation’.He fell out of favour at Peterborough as McAnthony’s millions enabled them to sign more players, and in January of 2008 he signed for Dagenham, whom he helped win promotion in 2010.

Peter Gain should always be remembered as a legend of Sincil Bank, and not for a one-off celebration after he left. His skill and guile were a key component in our assault on three play-off spots, and he scored some of the most sumptuous and elegant goals I’ve ever seen from a Lincoln player. He had his own chant which I think sums up his talents perfectly: ‘Same old Gainy, taking the piss’.