The grass is rarely greener – why leave Lincoln City?

Alex Woodyard left Lincoln City yesterday looking for fame and fortune at a higher level. Had we been promoted, I have little doubt he would have stayed. Instead, he’s gone and we reluctantly have to move on.

Inevitably though, his career will be tracked by many on social media, always making reference to him being on the bench, being dropped or even worse, left out completely. Given his talent, that shouldn’t happen, but given the manager he’s working for, you never know. After all, Steve Evans isn’t known for loving his players, not even a little bit.

Recently, quite a few players have left City looking for a better life in a higher division, or even in the same division, and few have come off well.

Jonny Margetts was the first, within a few months of joining City he was on the radar of Scunthorpe United. It was speculated he was never really wanted by the manager, but chairman Peter Swann coveted the striker. Some say it was because he knew him from Gainsborough Trinity, others say it was a malice buy, a show of strength in the battle to be Lincolnshire’s top team. Whatever the case, Margetts left for the bright lights of League One after a handful of appearances and that four-goal haul against Southport to his name.

He played seven time for Lincoln in just a month. August 2016 saw him move to Iron and since then he’s played five matches, all as a sub, scoring once in the EFL Trophy. He suffered an injury, but never got close to the first team and was recently released. He made more starts on his short return to City on loan, but his season on the bench saw a relatively unfit player stumble through four end of season games. His likely destination will be National League or below this summer.

Theo Robinson was another who fancied a stab at a higher division, although to be fair to Theo he never hid that fact. He played 19 times for us and scored six goals, five of which came under the FA Cup spotlight. Was he a show pony, putting on a performance when he knew the world was watching? Not for me, but some did note his improved performances in the FA Cup. He was another deadline day departure, another who got a League One call and couldn’t wait to make the switch. again, but how could you bear him any malice? He was on a week to week contract and wanted to be in the shop window.

Since his January 2017 move he has scored seven league goals for Southend, but of his 43 league appearances, 33 have come from the bench. Did he ‘make it’ after his move? He got more game time than Margetts but it could be argued he hasn’t really thrived at Roots Hall. He was linked with us in January too, just like Margetts it seemed a move back to Lincoln was in his heart. Both jumped ship and, if the speculation is to be believed, both regretted it.

What about Sean Raggett? He doesn’t quite fall into the same category, Raggs was a fine servant to this club and earned his move fair and square, just like Alex did. His loan spell back here helped us establish ourselves as a Football League club and his return to Norwich was meant to be the next step on the ladder. However, speaking to a Norwich fan the other week I asked how h thought Sean Raggett was getting on. The answer I got was ‘who is that?’

His game time has been limited to say the least, two brief appearances in the league, one of which came as the Canaries were thrashed 5-1 on the final day of the season. He’s a Championship player so has gone one step further than Alex has, but his progress has stalled. He’s younger than Alex and arguably has a bit more potential, but that green grass of Carrow Road has yet to see much of our National League hero. What price on another loan spell this season? Maybe not at Lincoln, but I wouldn’t mind betting Peterborough are paying close attention.

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4 Comments

  1. Well said as always Gary. I’m sorry to see him go, but far less worried out the Imps without him than I am about him without the Imps. I wish him well, but fear he may have made a mistake. Working with Evans, after working with the Cowleys and their integrity will NOT be easy. I genuinely hope I’m wrong and he does well for himself……

  2. Sorry to see Alex go but as you say life goes on. If Danny is looking for a defensive midfield player he need not look further than Neal Eardley who played there in one of the checkatrade games last year and was absolutely outstanding. For me personally that would be a better fit with his abilities but in Danny we trust and I am sure he will have considered all options knowing that sooner or later Alex would go

  3. We know that Alex is a great player and whatever we think of the Peterborough set up Evans will want to win matches. No reason to think that Alex won’t succeed even if the atmosphere is somewhat different! I well remember the shock when Mick Harford was sold to Newcastle in the first half of the 1980/81 season. Good job we had no Twitter then! He had been scoring goals with his eyes shut but we still went on to finish secondthat season.

  4. I have always thought the over hyping of certain players is prevalent among City fans.. truth is that the step up from one dIvision to another is massive and this is evidenced to some degree by Gary’s write up. However most squads are around 24 to 28 players… these players are all going to be considered capable of doing a job for the Club in the Division they play in if not necessarily on the team sheet every week. Prestige wise and financially I would suggest it would be be better to be associated with Norwich and Peterborough than Lincoln. Players who have established themselves at one level, in general, will want to test themselves at the next. Finally on quality the fact that Neil Eardley and Michael Bostwick were the most consistent performers for us having stepped down a league albeit for different reasons should give us some perspective when talking up players…

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