Stacey West XI Wingers – More nominations

I thought we’d done this to death, but after going back through the Tweets last night it appears we’ve not finished, not by a long shot. There are still twelve nominations left, six of which we’ll look at today.

After that we’ll do the last four and then the vote, finally.

Before we go any further, let’s clear up a couple of points of business. George Shipley – not a winger. Sorry if you nominated him, we put it to a Twitter vote and he was definitely a midfielder. Sorry.

Secondly, Gordon Hobson. Great player, one who is bound to be right up there for the striker role, but sadly you voted not to include him with the wingers either. That’s going to leave the strikers role jam-packed, but I’ve got something a little special planned for that – you’ll see.

However, one of the players we had some doubt over has been defined as a winger by you lot and we’ll start with him today. He’s a home-grown winger who went onto play for England B, ply his trade in the Premier League and even spend time in America. Not bad for one of Keith’s class of ’93.

Darren Huckerby

I’m not sure we’ve ever had a home-grown talent who has gone on to have such a solid career in the top flight of English football. Hucks broke through under the watchful eyes of Keith Alexander’s youth set up, and even scored within six minutes of his debut away at Shrewsbury.

His Lincoln career may have looked unremarkable judging by the stats, but even as a youth player he was exciting to watch. His pace was terrifying and he played with arrogance and confidence that always suggested he would go on to greater things. He survived three managers, Keith, Sam Ellis and Steve Wicks before the infamous John Beck cashed in on his prized asset. £500,000 and a lucrative friendly later Mr Beck had the means to finance an ultimately successful promotion bid. It is widely believed the Huckerby money financed the move for Gareth Ainsworth although the two players actually played three times together for Lincoln, winning two and drawing one. Hucks scored on his last Imps outing, a 1-1 draw at home to Hartlepool. With just 31 outings, 23 starts and seven goals, he was off out into the big wide world.

That lucrative friendly turned out to be far more than we could ever have imagined thanks to the generosity of Kevin Keegan. He promised a full strength side would perform in front of a packed Sincil Bank, and when he signed Alan Shearer for a world record fee a short time before it was assumed Shearer wouldn’t play. He did and for a few days in the summer of 1996 the world’s attention turned onto Lincoln City. Shearer got his debut goal, Newcastle got a 2-0 win and within two years City had got promoted.

Huckerby went on to move around for transfer fees totalling just under £10m and featured for such giants as Leeds United and Manchester City. He is perhaps most revered by fans of Norwich City where he put in over 170 appearances in a five-year spell. Not bad for a humble boy from the Lincoln YTS set-up, not bad at all.

David ‘Magic’ Johnson

Again, there will be some who question why David Johnson makes it onto this list but as a young man in the 1993/94 season, he did have a significant impact. He was the highest scorer (13 goals) and there was something exotic about him. I’m not sure what, it certainly wasn’t his name, nor his background. Perhaps his style of play caught the eye. Perhaps we’ve had so few out and out wingers that he was the only one people could think of. Well, it was either him or Steve Mardenborough.

Magic Johnson arrived from Sheffield Wednesday in 1993. He had allegedly been highly thought of at Sheffield Wednesday, and they turned a £100k bid down for him from Hartlepool the season prior to him signing for us. Wednesday had also accepted a £40k offer from Scunthorpe United, which Johnson turned down, making him even more of a fans favourite! Eventually the tribunal set his fee at £32k which was brilliant news for City.

He was a right-sided forward (or winger as I suppose it’s better known) with a touch of flair, and initially it seemed he would play out wide all the time. He drifted into the centre and ended up as our leading scorer in the 1993/94 season with 13 goals, including our only strike against Bolton in the FA Cup defeat that Sky televised live.

His next two seasons were disrupted by injury and management changes. He scored seven times in 1994/95 including a famous winner against Premiership giants Crystal Palace at Sincil Bank, and a winner at home to Huddersfield in the FA Cup. The following season was blighted by injury as well, and he only managed seven starts under John Beck before leaving the club. His replacement was Gareth Ainsworth, so few could blame Beck for letting Johnson go. After leaving us he went to Altrincham, but never appeared in the league again thanks to those injuries.

Despite a relatively low goal haul for three full seasons Magic Johnson will always be remembered fondly by Imps fans for popping up with those goals in cup ties. My personal highlight has to be the winner against a strong Palace side, and what should have been the winner over two legs had referee Gary Willard not found seven minutes of injury time in the return leg at Selhurst Park.

3 Comments

  1. What!!! Not a mention of Gordon Hughes. The wee man we bought from Derby. Now there was a winger. Ask your Dad…Or maybe someone older about him.

  2. Re Danny N’Guessan, remember a night game at the Bank, he came on as a second half sub.
    As he came on I said, which Danny is it tonight? cart horse or thoroughbred? After is first touch, cart horse it is then.
    Had the skill but so frustrating!

  3. The reason David Johnson didn’t suit John Beck was because he couldn’t head the ball despite being at least 6ft, which was also the reason he was usually played out wide. A talented player who should have done better.

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