He’s back in the game – former Imps boss surfaces at Carlisle

A former Lincoln City manager will appear in the opposite dugout this season, doubtless receiving a rough ride for his tenure as manager.

David Holdsworth has been brought in to help John Sheridan at Carlisle United, having been out of the game for four years. His last managerial role was at Goole Town, which ended in January 2014.

Holdsworth was Lincoln manager from late 2011 until early 2013, but suffered immensely from trying circumstances. He came in when the club had next to no money and operated with the remit of reducing the outgoings. He did divide opinion, many wanted him out before he’d completed six months in the job, but eventually a run of poor results saw him dismissed in February 2013.

He did, arguably, save us from the drop in our first year in the BSP. He did recruit some decent players, Tom Miller and Paul Farman two who he brought to the club. He got the best out of his little black book, by securing Vadaine Oliver who later moved on after forging a strong partnership with Jamie Taylor. It was Holdsworth who gave Taylor regular football, Tilson preferred Kyle Perry and Sam Smith.

David Holdsworth nearly took us to an FA Cup tie with Liverpool too, had it not been for Matt Rhead’s late goal at Sincil Bank we might have made it to Anfield. The win against Walsall in the first round was perhaps the highlight of his reign, one moment which shone out over and above the dirge served up in that god-awful two-season period after we dropped out of the Football League.

Jamie Taylor against Walsall in 2012 (Courtesy of Graham Burrell)

Had Rob Duffy stayed fit, maybe David Holdsworth would have got off to a decent start in 2012/13 and subsequently kept faith with the squad he assembled. In the end, his tinkering was maybe his undoing.

Few will remember Holdsworth for any of these things though. Fans will remember the high turnover of players, the truly awful ones he brought to the club who lasted just weeks, days or perhaps even hours. The constantly unsettled squad, with aging veterans like Mark McCammon and Richard Pacquette, often left fans feeling short-changed. Plus, he signed Paul Robson.

All many will remember ps lummeting towards the Conference North in 2013 with no direction or purpose.

I liked Holdsworth, not so much as a manager because he clearly didn’t have what it took to elevate us above the bottom eight, but he did serve his purpose. He did plug a few gaps, he did work on a tight budget and he squeezed everything he could out of his little black book. whether he’ll be any use to Carlisle remains to be seen, but if I were Tyrone Thompson or Gary Mills, I’d have my phone on stand by, just in case.



  1. Good balanced article. He did what he could in an impossible situation. Good luck to him at Carlisle.

  2. He had a difficult job. However he was long on platitudes and short on integrity. I couldn’t stand him.

  3. Interesting article. He certainly divided opinion. Must admit I think he was under-rated. His achievement was modest but the task was monumental. I seem to remember his communication let him down badly at times but I wish him well at Carlisle.

  4. When I first thing of him, I think of him looking lost on a Carshalton touchline with us 3-0. But looking back I think I may have judged him harshly. We came down with all kinds of problems. We had many of the players who took us down and didn’t give a monkeys. He started to turn that around at a club that was really struggling to adjust to being non-league. Moyses gets all the credit for “saving” us. But like Simpson after him who actually got us mid table, Holdsworth was the man who helped the club make its biggest adjustments.

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