One of the keepers who might be amongst the favourites for the ‘title’ is young Parish, or at least he was young when he joined us.
When Steve Bruce recalled Trevor Carson after our 2-1 defeat by Stevenage towards the end of 2010/11 season it caused then-manager Steve Tilson all sorts of problems. He’d already told many senior players they weren’t going to be retained and he couldn’t swallow his pride and bring talented Joe Anyon back into the side. He thought he’d solve the problem as he solved all his problems, and that was to borrow someone else’s player.
The issue was that in mid-March most clubs have settled squads, young players are out on loan and they’re not looking to do business. One exception to this rule was Aston Villa, who were willing to loan twentieth-choice youth keeper Elliott Parish. Tilson assumed (wrongly) that Parish would be better than Anyon so he snapped him up.
Now I’m not blaming Parish for us going down, but I will state firmly that had Carson remained with the club we would have stayed up. Had Anyon been chosen in goal we would have stayed up. If we’d put an outfield player in goal and hoped for the best we might have stood a chance. Instead we exposed young Parish to what I assume is the worst couple of months of his life.
The kid was out of his depth and he wasn’t protected by a paper-thin defence either. In nine outings he conceded 23 goals including six against Rotherham, four against Gillingham and three in that final day defeat by Aldershot. It may be history clouding my memory but I can’t recall him making a single save. He was out of his depth, and as he drowned he took our club down with him.
Since Parrish has gone on to make a decent league career, and with game experience has come a degree of consistency. However irrespective of what he achieves between now and the day he retires he will always be the keeper who seemed to butter his gloves before taking to the field.
1997/98 was a good year for Lincoln City. By fair means or foul we battered our way to a third place finish, inspired by John Beck and his assembled team of hatchet men and committed, dogged professionals. We lacked finesse, we lacked poise but we made up for it in graft and fight.
Just before Christmas we travelled to our promotion rivals Peterborough United for a crucial top of the table clash. The week before we’d been knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Emley, and ahead of the Peterborough clash John Beck dropped Barry Richardson and brought in promising young keeper Simon Brown from Spurs.
Brown had a stinker as we lost 5-1. Lee Thorpe put us ahead before a first half collapse saw us go in 4-1 down at the break. Nobody blamed the young keeper, not directly. However after the game he was sent packing back to East London, and the experienced John Vaughan took his place in the sticks.
Brown has since gone on to have a decent career, most notably with Colchester. He was fortunate that his brief flirtation with the ruthless John Beck didn’t set him back!
The clown prince of Liverpool’s wonderful side of the 1980’s, Grobbelaar is probably on the list more because of who he is than what he did for City. He was never far away from the headlines, whether it was the unsporting wobbly knee incident in a European Cup final in 1984, or the outrageous body check on Gordon McQueen in the 1983 League Cup final. With over 400 appearances for the decade’s most successful club team, Liverpool he was a household name.
His career was tarnished somewhat by a match-fixing scandal and various red top tabloid stories of infidelity and bad behaviour. He eventually walked free from court and even took The Sun newspaper to court. I’m sure across the globe people either love him or loathe him.
He played for Lincoln, twice after signing on December 10th 1998. He kept a clean in a 0-0 draw with Macclesfield before conceding four away at Wycombe. He was released from his contract before the onset of Christmas and didn’t make another league appearance for anyone. There were rumours of an argument over unpaid wages but nothing ever came of it. Was he the worst ever to play for us? Probably not, but he certainly didn’t do himself any favours either.
Lance Key made just five appearances for the Imps on loan from Sheffield Wednesday at the start of the tumultuous 1995/96 season. His debut saw us beat Preston North End 2-1, but then he conceded 11 in just four further games before being replaced by John Vaughan. He wasn’t joining a happy side, Sam Ellis hadn’t built a good team and Key was as much a victim of the manager’s poor start as anything else.
He didn’t earn a deal, not surprising really. He kept goal, of sorts, as we lost 3-0 to Gillingham at home, lost by the same margin away at Colchester then drew 2-2 with Scunthorpe. Finally he fumbled his way through a 3-1 defeat at Barnet, before being replaced by Andy Leaning, another of our terrible keepers.
He struggled to find regular first team football anywhere in the Football League but appeared regularly for Northwich Victoria and latterly was a member of the Histon team that reached the Second Round of The FA Cup in 2005/06.