Like the real thing in Russia, the Stacey West World Cup of Imps’ Strikers is well underway. I’ve done away with the video draws by the way, they didn’t seem to be particularly engaging. We try these things, you know?
Anyway, firstly we have the Group B result, then we’re doing Groups C and D today, spicing things up a bit with a double vote.
Firstly, the Group B result. The group finished as follows:
Adrian Patulea – Twitter 21 votes, poll 8 votes TOTAL 29
Davide Somma – Twitter 84 votes, poll 23 votes TOTAL 107
Mark Stallard – Twitter 55 votes, poll 28 votes TOTAL 83
John McGinley – Twitter 21 votes, poll 16 TOTAL 37
So, Davide Somma top the group and goes through to face up against John Ward in the last 16, whilst Mark Stallard is taking on one of the favourites, Andy Graver. Those rounds will be done once all the groups are complete.
On with today’s groups. Firstly, Group C
I did say the numbers needed making up.
There was a time Steve Torpey scored goals. That time was not at Sincil Bank, and Torpey will only ever be remembered as a symbol of ‘when it all started to go wrong’.
After five failed play-off attempts, trust was placed in Steve Torpey to come in and score the goals to push us towards a sixth. Not only did he fail to score, he failed to ever look like scoring. In fact, he did very little.
When the board and manager should have been strengthening as Keith did in 2004, they faltered and we got the cheap option, a man who had once been a goal scorer, but by the time he ‘graced’ our pitch he didn’t even look like a footballer.
John Schofield got the sack and just two more starts his Imps career was over. Peter Jackson didn’t fancy the aging striker and he was replaced by Ben Wright. Nobody cried.
You know who Matt Green is right? 17 goals last season? Yeah? Do I need to write a bit about him giving you an overview of who he is? No?
Good, let’s move on.
GTF, back when he was GF, came from Leyton Orient early in Keith Alexander’s second reign as manager. There was little doubt his arrival was funded by our 2003 play-off final appearance and Keith knew him from his time at Northwich.
It took him just three games to register his first goal as we went down 2-1at Gigg Lane, but it became apparent very quickly that this wasn’t just another ten-game wonder rocking up at the Bank. He was quick but had a footballing brain that often belied his status as a League Two player. Anyone who watched him play in the first season would have predicted he go on to play top flight football. We went to Leyton Orient and in a virtuoso display he scored a superb brace to give us a 2-1 win. As we romped to the play-off semi-finals against Huddersfield he hit 19 goals, and in truth I think that 2004/05 team was the finest I’ve ever seen in Lincoln City shirts.
The following season he started with a bang, netting in the first five consecutive games which equalled a club record. Injuries curtailed that run and he eventually went on to score a handful more through the season as we looked like genuine title contenders. His performances culminated in a 2-0 March win on Sky TV which really put us into the automatic promotion frame. However, a further six league games without a goal, and the semi-final and final goal-less as well cost us our best chance of promotion under Keith Alexander, and rumours in Cardiff suggested he’d already agreed a pre-contract with Huddersfield. Either way his contract wasn’t renewed and sure enough he moved to West Yorkshire.
He’s gone on to have a good career at Huddersfield and particularly Blackpool whom he helped fire to Premier League football. He appeared for future champions Leicester as well as they first marched onto the Premier League scene, but since then his fall has been dramatic, in 2014/15 playing top flight football and in 2015/16 playing fifth tier.
Ronald Peter ‘Percy’ Freeman started out at Stourbridge, despite being Newark born, and was signed by West Bromwich Albion in April 1968 as understudy to England international Jeff Astle.
Unable to nail down a place in the Baggies’ starting line-up, he found himself leaving the Hawthorns, heading to Sincil Bank courtesy of manager Bert Loxley. He was an instant success at Sincil Bank, scoring in his first four home matches which included League Cup victories over Grimsby Town and Sunderland.
He bagged a memorable brace against Brentford in a game during which the goalposts at the railway end collapsed. In all he smashed 14 goals in League and cup. Not long after Graham Taylor took control, City accepted an offer of £11,500 from Reading for his services. In today’s money, that would be around £150,000.
He settled well at Reading, but eventually things began to change. He briefly packed up playing football, trying his hand at scaffolding before returning to Reading, albeit briefly. They had a lad up front called Robin Friday who was a bit handy and Percy just wasn’t happy there. Eventually he was convinced a return to Sincil Bank was the right move, ironically by the man who sold him, Graham Taylor. City paid £1,500.
The rest is history but, if you don’t know it, he went on to carve his name into Imps folklore. He scored 23 times from his 35 League appearances as the Imps clinched the 1975/76 Fourth Division championship with a record points haul, forming a deadly partnership with John Ward. He was best described as a battering ram, strong as an ox and nota afraid to stick and head, or boot in where it might get taken off. All in all he scored 76 goals for City in 166 games.
Percy left Sincil Bank in the summer of 1977 at the same time as Graham Taylor, although Taylor went to Watford and Percy retired. He was given a testimonial against Sheffield United in May 1977 and later went on to play for Boston United.
Time to vote