Danny Cowley: working tirelessly but still finding time for the Stacey West

Credit Graham Burrell

The unconfirmed news that we’re chasing John Akinde has brought a somewhat unusual raft of excitement and euphoria. Maybe, just maybe, we’re going to sign a ‘top’ striker.

Now, I don’t want to ruin anyone’s Sunday, but those expecting an announcement in the next couple of hours are going to be very disappointed indeed. Having an offer accepted for a player, if indeed it is us, is not the tail end of the process. In fact, it is only the start.

I don’t know John Akinde, but let’s assume he isn’t a bachelor living in a dingy flat in London. Let’s assume he’s a regular 28-year old, living with a long-term girlfriend or wife, maybe even with a young child. His wife might have a good job too, you never know. He’s settled in the south and, just because Barnet have agreed to sell him, he has a big decision to make.

Agreeing personal terms isn’t as simple as us saying ‘here’s some wages’ and him going ‘it isn’t enough’ or ‘cheers, I’ll get the car keys’. There’s factors to consider such as relocation; does he or doesn’t he? If he does, what about his family?

My gut feeling is we are in for John Akinde, but I can’t see anything being decided right now, certainly not before the lads go to Spain. Ask yourself this; would you decide to up and move sticks just like that? Ditch your current job for one that is paid similar or slightly better, but move your entire family away, your girlfriend away from her family and job, just for a two-year deal?

Why do you think Lyle Taylor chose Charlton Athletic over Sunderland? The latter will bounce back, will most likely win League One and guarantee second-tier football next season, but Lyle Taylor is London-based.

Life is not like Football Manager, however much Sports Interactive tell you differently.

The truth is, London clubs can get the same players we can with a smaller budget. That is fact, you may not think it is, but it is. Barnet do so well because they’re in London, young players wanting to go out on loan can stay in the M25 and professionals looking to drop down the divisions can do the same.

Lincoln City is a ball ache to get to from everywhere other than Newark and Lincolnshire and that brings with it problems. We got Michael Bostwick because he was settled in his home and could commute here easily. There’s a reason we’ve done so much business with Posh over my lifetime, because of location. There’s a reason we don’t do much with Exeter or Carlisle, the same reason..

One of the most beautiful humans on the planet (after my Fe), once sang the immortal words ‘A Pessimist is Never Disappointed’ and this article may seem very pessimistic, but it isn’t, it’s just real life. Sometimes fans have a blinkered view of the market, they think because they signed Akinde on Football Manager, he should be easy to sign in real life, or because he’s requested a transfer he should jump at a move to Lincoln. Real life doesn’t work that way and sometimes I wish we viewed football the same as any other business or career.

It’s like Danny’s insistence that we will be fishing in the loan market, a source of much consternation and anger amongst some. Us, the great Lincoln City who got to an FA Cup Quarter Final, picking up freebies? We deserve better, we’re not bargain basement now, etc etc. Do you really, honestly believe Danny won’t pay for a player? Think about it, before we even had a cup run he bought Elliott Whitehouse for a nominal fee.

However, do you think he’s going to shout it from the roof tops? Do you think he’s going to hang a sign outside his door letting agents know they can start screwing us over for a few more grand? Of course not. Knowing Danny as I do, I imagine it is a source of great discomfort for him, telling the media we’re fishing in the free agent pond. Anyone who has chatted to him properly for half an hour or so knows he’s as candid as they come and even misleading people for a second wouldn’t sit well with him.

I spoke to Danny a few days ago, he rang me for a catch up and just to let me know how things were going. Contrary to popular belief I don’t have a direct line to him and we perhaps chat every couple of months because I’ll rarely bother him. I feel he’s got enough on his plate without me ringing him up asking what was happening. Anyway, he called whilst he was driving from one player to another, probably a six-hundred mile round trip. He doesn’t tell me names, I don’t ask. If I guess a player we’re after or follow the breadcrumbs that is one thing, but I wouldn’t want a top-secret move to be scuppered by me gobbing off on here.

Love him or not, Elliott was a fringe player

Anyway he asked how I thought pre-season was going, honestly. Perhaps I give the impression of being hugely pro-club, if so I make no apology because I am. I’m honest about what we need, a new striker and I’ll always be critical where I feel there’s a need (new kit). I told him I thought the current new signings were very good, I thought the players who had left were fringe players but that everything hinged on who the new striker was.

Without going into details, Danny knows what he needs. He doesn’t sit on his hands a home blindly thinking everything will be alright. He spends every hour of every day bettering this football club, every second he is awake plotting how to get an extra ten points next season, an extra ten goals that will see us jump into the top three. He lives and breathes Lincoln City, his happiness depends on three precious points every Saturday. After all, he has the lovely wife, wonderful kids and the job he loves so the only thing left to covet is success.

When a man is that driven, that focused on achieving what he wants to achieve, do you honestly think he does things by halves? Do you truly believe we miss out on players for something within his control? Danny has a budget to work with, a good budget for this level, competitive but not astronomical by any means. We won’t fork out silly money for Tyler Walker, not because we can’t or because we lack ambition, but because it doesn’t fit the model of the club.

Next page – Danny’s future vision and more of me rambling on about stuff you should know.


  1. Excellent piece, Gary There’s an endless stream of bull on social media. Will we, won’t we, should we, shouldn’t we? Our geographical position has always made things awkward for us whatever Danny tries to do. I’m sure 6300 season ticket holders tells us we believe more than ever.

  2. I think the amount of footballers who do actually up sticks and move around the country is higher than you would expect when you sit back and think about it. Players can either be very young or very settled.

  3. Gosh, Golly Kev and i believed you could do it with FIFA Well at least one member was under that impression,and how could you disagree as this member had won the World Cup with England he claimed DC has a long way to go yet it seems?

  4. Great read once again Gary, I utterly agree with you that Danny and Nicky will get the best players he can for this club, I have total faith in them. In the past we have had a decent season and got promoted but then it’s never been the same the following year but we have had 2 fantastic seasons on the bounce and hopefully a 3rd to come and I can’t wait for August 4th to get started.
    By the way if you do read this Danny or Nicky thanks for everything you are doing and have done for our football club and here’s to many more years with you both at the helm.

  5. Interesting article. I think more modern day players in the lower leagues look to interested clubs in their locale. Where does Akinde actually come from? After all he played for Alfreton, surely that means he comes from somewhere relatively local. Every chance he might be looking to get back to his roots. Did he not turn down a move to AFC Wimbledon? Wonder why that was. Barnet had agreed a fee with the Dons. As I mentioned elsewhere if we got the big man and unless he has already signed elsewhere. I bet Akinola would be as sick as a parrot. Like the song says # It should have been me.# Lots of players are now officially out of work. Even with the World Cup I expect the transfer market to at least move into 2nd gear…Armchair imp

  6. Akinde, with a young family, lives in Kent so not local at all. I understand Wimbledon pulled out because they thought the fee too big given Akinde’s injury last season.

  7. Mark Billingham really? He’s a bit obvious in his plotting. Try William Shaw. Otherwise I agree with you totally.

  8. Thankyou Gary. Yet again a thoughtful and balanced view.
    As with any fan I like to hear who could be coming or leaving City, I have my opinions and talk to friends about my views .
    Football and society has changed so much over the years since I first attended and people in general feel a need to know now what is happening.
    I’m pleased we have such a good management team who work so tirelessly to choose the players who will make the best team possible and look forward to the season ahead

    • The world has gone bonkers….if Danny is ringing Gary to ask how he thinks preseason is going!

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