Definition of Lincoln City reserves, for those who are unsure.

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

It seems my classification of reserves has left a few people perturbed, with me accused of disrespect and inaccuracy from some quarters.

I thought I’d defend my corner, because I didn’t mean anything negative towards the likes of Juan Luque, Matt Rhead or Adam Crookes. Perhaps I’m from a slightly older generation, but for me if you’re not in the first XI nine weeks out of ten, you’re a reserve.

Back in the day you could only name two subs, so outside of the thirteen or so regulars, everyone was classed as a reserve. There was no youth team involvement back then I don’t think either, the Imps have a reserve team playing in a competition designed for players who didn’t get much action. these days, I suppose that could be called the Carabao Cup or Checkatrade Trophy, but back then it was something like the Pontins reserve league.

If you don’t follow, ask Tony Battersby the next time he’s in the fan zone.

Batts saw his far share of reserve football (courtesy of Graham Burrell)

Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, that makes a portion of our current squad reserves, not in a bad way, but in an honest shout about their first team prospects. Let me put it another way; who would be in your starting XI? Sam Slocombe? Adam Crookes? Juan Luque? Maybe not even Matt Rhead or James Wilson, right?

Why is it therefore, that describing them as reserve players was deemed so offensive? I could understand it from a liberal leftie like Marcus Needham with his fishing rod and cheeky grin, but it seemed to spread wider than the usual agitators. It seems as though seven changes from a first team squad doesn’t constitute a weakened side. Madness.

I don’t think there’s any slander in labelling them as such. I think some of the players who came in last night did really well, Juan Luque grabbed his chance with both hands but tired later on and perhaps showed his non-league background a little, but that will come with games and training. Adam Crookes struggled for the first fifteen minutes, but didn’t do badly after that.

One player I would not class as a reserve, one player who looked every inch a first team player and one who has started league games, was Ellis Chapman. I think we all expected him to emerge this season, but perhaps not to the extent he has. What I’ve noticed about Ellis is the maturity with which he collects, controls and distributes the ball. He’s not trying anything spectacular or out of the ordinary, he’s playing simple football with absolute class. I can see why he is around the first XI, make no mistake about that.

Ellis Chapman – not a reserve (Courtesy of Graham Burrell)

I’m concerned that speaking your mind and being a troll are getting mixed up somewhere here. Calling a player a fringe player or a reserve isn’t meant to be derogatory and I wouldn’t want players or management to think it was. When I said our reserves were outclassed, I merely made reference to the fact Danny himself said, had the fixtures been kinder, he might have played a stronger side. If Danny says it, its fine, but if I say it I’m being offensive?

I’m sure we’ll discuss this in finer detail on the Stacey West podcast, out tomorrow, but in the meantime please try to be offended at the right things, people with bigoted views, trolls making mischief online and black and white shirts. Thank you.


  1. I have no problem with the term reserves as you have described. I think we are still searching for the right system and our best players in that system at the moment so a number of players might be in and out of the starting eleven, and I wouldn’t call Matt Green a reserve just because he started last night but not against County. Its semantic and I’m fine with it.
    Just to be a little controversial though, I’m less positive than you about Ellis Chapman. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big supporter and I am sure he will come through as a great ‘one of our own’ but against Bury, County and last night I thought he was ok. No better, no worse. He is clearly briefed to play a holding role and to move the ball on and other than a few loose passes has done this quite well – but I’ve not seen anything more from him yet – no great lay off’s, no defence splitting passes, no crunching midfielder tackles. If I were to be critical – he receives and then gets rid as quick as he can with a short pass. I have no problem with this – its his job and he has done it fine and he’s very much at the learning stage – but I’ve not seen anything yet that excites me. (Chuck that in the podcast and smoke it!!)

    • spot on julian……that young lad needs a season at Boston or the like to get some experience,,,,,,no first team ready ifyou are looking for a promotion spotjim

  2. It’s a squad game today Gary. That’s something a lot of the crowd don’t seem to grasp when they complain about the number of changes to the playing 11 every week. LCFC have a great squad and rotation is going to be needed both tactically and to keep them all interested. As for points of reference please don’t use Tony Battersby…. What a total waste of space and money he was!!!

  3. Maybe we should adopt the Rugby term ‘replacements,’ I think they are called. A very liberal type word don’t you think! I was by marriage related to Elliott Chapman’s dad Darren so, have followed Elliotts career with interest. Where this young man is concerned I echo one of Thommo’s favourite phrases. ‘He does what he his able do, but never tries anything he can’t do.

  4. A football match was alot more interesting before Substitutes were introduced, the team that was selected was the team that finished and that sorted out the men from the boys..

    • So players not selected are reserves. Perfectly true Gary.
      Look at the dictionary lads. They are in reserve!

  5. If the 3rd round draw was made 2 day before the 2nd round fixtures are played there’d be greater potential incentive for first 11 team selection and higher attendances!

  6. Agree completely about the concept of reserves. We put a side out where the majority of the team will not be starting many league games at all in the next month or so.

    I do agree with another post above though. Ellis Chapman is a good footballer, an outstanding prospect and it’s been easy to see why he is in and around the first team. But did he have a ‘good game’ last night??? No, not at all. Gave the ball away on a number of occasions, positionally unsure at times and dug out of a hole by O’Connor on a number of occasions. This isn’t being negative or anti Ellis Chapman….. its just he did (along with a number of others) have a poor game last night. I just worry some people are putting him on a pedestal already. I’m quite sure at some stage we will be…… just not quite yet.

  7. Lincoln City reserves played in Northern Premier league week in and out in the day. Hosted major team reserves, Liverpool, Newcastle, Man City etc. Admission 1s 6d for juveniles. Happy Days!

  8. Some really good replies here which I have enjoyed reading…. not rude but constructive. If you put yourself up as a blogger which is based on opinion then you will from time to time be challenged. It was interesting to note the crowd’s encouragement for Ellis throughout the game v Bury… I was please Danny brought him off at half time to protect him (Danny will say it was for tactical reasons) I think he did OK but looks more like a Woodyard than a Frecklington!

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