One Hell of an Evening – Serious Intent by Lincoln City

It was another one of those off field moments where fans were either glued to screens or in attendance, another moment of pure theatre from a club that have got good at this sort of thing recently.

Aside from the packed crowd, the swish videos and the uplifting questions and answers, there was some fundamentally important things developed at our football club tonight and although a Β£1.3m training ground would seem like the most important, it is not. The most important thing is, and always has been, those tow likeable Essex boys who have adopted our city as their own.

They’re moving up here, they’ve signed chunky new deals and for me, there’s a lot more to be said for finding a school place than there is for signing the deals. When they spoke about Michael Bostwick’s summer move they told an endearing story about Ian’s staff cooking a meal for his family while negotiations were ongoing and that being something that convinced the big man Lincoln was the place for him.

It’s a nice sound bite, but there’s much more to it than that. It is the ethos of our staff, not just Ian and his team but the media guys, the office girls and everyone at the club. It is family orientated, Nicky has spoken about that bond between father and son resonating with him. The Cowleys get it, but we as a club have it. Danny and Nicky have brought that out and developed it, but chef Sarah, she’s been one with a heart of gold for as long as she has been at the club. We’ve always had that family vibe bubbling away, but it’s suddenly bloomed and is paying dividends.

Danny and Nicky identify with it, they know what it is like to work an eight-hour days and then pour your heart into a football club. They know what it is to support a team, they’re real people. Contracts, sure they mean something to them, but when I hear their kids are going into a school here I think that’s a bigger message. They might sign a deal and have their heads turned, I stress might, it is feasible. But, are these two men, fathers with young families, going to put their kids in school here if there’s the slightest doubt they might be tempted away? Are they going to get their wives to commit to a move if there’s an outside chance they might move on? Never. 2022, means 2022. God bless them both, in fact god bless all of them, Danny and Kate, Nicky and Lauren and the kids. They’ve made me one happy little ginger writer this evening, I’ll tell you that.

Of course, hearing that they’re getting the tools to do the job is great. I suppose if you asked Da Vinci to do your portrait in just pencils he’d make a great job of it, but give him oils and a bloody great canvass and you’d have yourselves a masterpiece worth millions. This is the same, those two boys could mould a team of fighters and Championship winner by training on school pitches and RAF pitches, but what might they do with a purpose-built facility? They say it is important for development, how much more can we develop? We’re currently in the most successful two-year period of our history, the only time we’ve lifted two pieces of silverware inside a twelve month period and we’ve done it essentially with one hand tied behind our backs.

Luton Town, Coventry City, Shrewsbury, they all have these facilities and yet in fairness, we’ve not been that far away from them in our games. Now we’re getting the edge, now we’re getting the same toys and advantages they have. What can we do now?

I’m still surprised to hear managers talking about investing money in infrastructure over the playing squad, when did we ever hear that? Sutton and Jackson wanted money for players all the time, even when they got the training ground it wasn’t really heralded. When has a football manager ever looked a half a million quid and said; “no, you use it on putting some foundations down and we’ll stick to our budget”, and done exactly that? When has sticking to a budget ever involved bringing two former Welsh internationals into the squad, a Championship captain of twelve months ago and a player as influential and dominant as Bozzie, fending off interest from bigger clubs?

I was one of those who panicked about Ipswich, I make no secret about that, but I wish I’d never doubted those two now. I’m not sure it was doubt in them, I think it was fear that this was all a bit too good to be true. Even in 1976 it all went for a Burton after the main event, all through history we’ve reached a peak and then lost it. Colin Murphy’s great side was let down by a lack of investment, Keith’s side petered out (in my eyes) due to the board room changes. We’ve often promised a lot but in truth, I never felt we would get to see it through.

After tonight, I’m utterly convinced we will. Long live the Cowley’s, long live Lincoln City FC.

We’re on our way.

In case you missed tonight’s announcements, there’s one here about the training ground, one here about Danny and Nicky’s new deal and one here about Michael Bostwick’s extension.

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  1. The bottom line here is that this is all rather unbelievable, and wonderful. After last year’s pitch invasion post Macclesfield, and a return to League football, that I thought I would never see, I thanked Danny Cowley personally, because we had all watched some proper rubbish over the years, but the reward had come for some loyalty. Nobody saw a game against Arsenal coming in the FA cup quarter final, and nobody could think that we would watch the team go to Wembley and win this year after 134 years. We are a fortunate generation in a fortunate place, with a proper club, with proper people, proper fans (Danny amazed and touched with the support and singing after the awful Crewe game) and a proper future. Train booked from Edinburgh for Yeovil game. So pleased for Bob Dorian. We are imps – enjoy!

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