Everton Build Up: I’m not excited at all and it’s a good thing

This is the bit where I’m suppose to put some sort of rabble-rousing speech on about David and Goliath, talk about excitement, about it being our time and all that sort of stuff, right?

Lincoln City, heroes from 2016/17, back in the game, back on the big stage. Everton are out of form and likely to play a weakened side and that surely plays into our hands. it’s a chance to put ourselves on the map (again) and if we lose, we’ve lost nothing. I should be talking about memorable days out, visiting a majestic stadium steeped in history and maybe, just maybe pulling off a result.

Balls to that.

The truth is, I’m not excited at all. Not even a little bit. I’ve spent zero hours thinking about the game and the only time I’ve mustered up anything close to an opinion has been for the various media people who have wanted a chat. There’s nothing in tomorrow’s match that has grabbed me by the short and curlies and screamed lifelong memory. Nothing.

I sound like a right miserable sod, don’t I? I agree, so in order to work myself up into a frenzy I read back over the blogs I wrote in 2016 and 2017, the emotional stuff pre-Burnley and of course, the excited pre-Arsenal rhetoric. I soaked myself in those magical times and if I’m honest, I enjoyed it so much I read some twice. My favourite has to be the post-Ipswich stuff, reliving that through my own words was almost emotional. Almost.

I then settled back into my seat to recreate that magic for your viewing please and got nothing. Zilch. Nada. The truth is, I’m not excited about tomorrow one little bit. The result doesn’t matter at all. If we win, great. if we win I’ll change my tune and it will indeed be another great memory for us all to mull over in years to come. I don’t actually think that will happen and if it does there’s the thought that we’d ‘only’ be in round four. Been there, done that. We’d only have beaten a Premier League team on their own patch. Been there, etc etc.

There’s lots of chatter about it being a great day out for the fans, something to cherish as a reward for the loyal support. That’s all well and good if we win, but if we don’t it won’t be a great day out. I enjoyed Arsenal to a degree, but was it a day I’ll remember for ever? Not for the right reasons no. We got beat 5-0, remember? I don’t enjoy things like that, whether it’s Oliver Giroud scoring the goals or Ollie Banks.

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

One thing I did like about Arsenal was the ‘sesh’ as we like to call it these days. There’s nothing better than getting mortal with the lads, right? Taking over a big city, singing a few songs and all that. Right now, that’s not for me either. I like a drink, but I can do that in Lincoln on a Saturday if I like. It matters little to me where I get together with the Imps fans and my own personal preference is to take over somewhere like Notts County or Mansfield, somewhere they actually give a rats ass who we are.

Everton won’t care tomorrow, they’ll smile fondly at us and praise our support like Ipswich did. We can all come away thinking we’re the best of the best, but what does it actually matter? We know our support is the best there is in League Two, personally I don’t need Everton to tell me.

I’ll enjoy the day, of course I will. We’re going on the rustic minibus and I’ll be with my Dad, Dave, Neil and the gang, so it is all good. I just can’t get nervous for a game that has little riding on it. If I just wanted a day out I’d join the National Trust. I follow Lincoln to watch us be successful and frankly, I don’t think we will be tomorrow. I could get that little snippet of hope in my heart we might grab something, but I’ll save it.

All of this is going somewhere, I’m not laying on the miserable twat routine for no reason. I realise exactly why I’m not as up for it as I was in 2017. I realised it as I read the blogs from the week before the Ipswich game, or the week after the Burnley game. It’s because right now, we’re on a different path. 

Together since 1986. We’ve been together longer, but I’m not sure we bonded over lego, filled nappies and tantrums. That was just him.

Two years ago we were only just emerging from the cloak of the National League, peering out from behind and letting the world know we were back. Lincoln fans have a chip on their shoulders, me included, about being noticed. Why aren’t we on TV? Why aren’t our players picked for this award or that accolade? Why aren’t we on the football map? Up until 2011, we were. Keith Alexander’s play-off teams were noticed. Colin Murphy’s eighties heroes were noticed. Graham Taylor was noticed. We’re not invisible, or we weren’t until the fifth tier enveloped us.

That is why 2017 was so magical, not only what we achieved but because we were coming back. reading those articles I saw it, each week a little bit more pride returned to our great club. As the season unfolded so did the belief and the cup run magnified all of that. from the 2629 who watched us draw with Guiseley in the qualifying rounds to the 8942 that went to Arsenal, or rise could be charted through the cup run. We could be proud once more and we announced it in the greatest possible way. I’ll never forget those days, but let’s not forget that it was all a precursor to the real job in hand: promotion.

Right now, we’re back. Everyone knows who we are and all the media coverage has centred on our run of 2017, the plucky National League team breaking records. That is not us, not anymore. In six months time we could be in the same league as Ipswich Town, a club we marvelled at travelling to in that previous cup run. Financially, we’re alright now too. The money coming in will be of great use, but we’ve got a decent budget and a good set of players right now. We can always have better and always improve, but as a club we’re so far removed from two years ago it is unreal.

That’s why I’m not as excited, because tomorrow’s match isn’t life changing like it would have been. Win, lose or draw we have a bigger fish to fry; promotion to League One please, ideally with batter and a bit of red sauce. The FA Cup income was vital two years ago, giving us the boost to bring in players such as Billy Knott who helped push us on to success. With or without success tomorrow we’ll be challenging for promotion in May. That’s why I can’t get up for it, because football is all about emotion for me and tomorrow is as much of a free afternoon as any game we’ve played during Danny’s tenure, bar perhaps Southport and Maidstone at the end of the National League season.

I’ll reserve my worry for MK Dons away, I’ll keep the sicky feeling in my stomach for our trip to Mansfield or the apprehension for Grimsby’s visit. I really couldn’t care less what happens tomorrow and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

That said, if we win, I will cry worse than I did at the end of Watership Down.

 

13 Comments

  1. Totally agree Gary. I will be going to the game but wish it was a league match and we were playing for 3 points

  2. I get what you are saying. But have a word with yourself. These moments rarely come along and I’d hope your comments are wide of the mark for most fans. Espe ially those that couldn’t get a ticket

  3. I’m excited and that’s a better thing.

    Unless I’m missing the irony, I’m really taking issue with this one, and so would DC judging by his comments. Back on national press and TV, this raises the club profile and the Clive Nates connection with both clubs gives an added twist. This matters continues the elarnign curve for management and players.

    Lets raise the roof and remind the world what LCFC are these days, on and off the pitch. Bring the kleenex.

  4. well I’m excited because these days don’t come along every year. The chance to see our beloved Imps playing at a ground like goodison against players of their obvious quality has always endowed the f.a. cup with a certain magic. To belittle this achievement by city is very unfair to players and fans alike. Sorry mate cannot agree with you this time. I think you’ve got it all wrong

  5. It’s the third round of the FA Cup and we’re playing at one of England’s most historical grounds.

    That’s a biggy in my book!

  6. I’m with you Gary but I feel guilty about it! I also wish the travelling supporters a fantastic day to remember. It is a special occasion.

    I’m a 60 year supporter and desperately want to end my watching days in the league I started with i.e. the Championship. I don’t want anything to get in the way of promotion as long as we don’t need the money. I’m concerned at the tiredness I saw against Port Vale and the tone of Danny about transfers. I don’t want the Everton game to adversely affect our league efforts.

    I would be interested to compare the enthusiasm for the game with the length of support. Watching so long has given me a deep fear of disappointment being round the corner. It may well be completely misplaced. I hope it is. Up the Imps!

  7. I’m excited about the possibilities, slim as they may be. I’m excited about the experience, which three years ago was utterly unavailable to is. I’m excited about the trip, the buildup and seeing my heroes duke it out with some of the cream of English football. Result means nothing if it’s a loss, everything if it’s anything else. That’s why I’m excited.

    I’m very excited and that’s a great thing.

  8. This is our 5th game in 15 days. Contrary to what people are sayin my guess is Danny and team could well do without it. You are right we have moved on. Right at the start of January Window too. Timing is awful.

  9. Usually agree with you Gary but not this time I am afraid. I went yesterday and had a great day. I have never been to Goodison,yes it was old fashioned but I loved it. The chance to visit such an historic ground and watch Lincoln play doesn’t come around very often.

    I don’t care what the Everton fans think but I do know this a game I will remember. I have supported City for 26 years and can count on one hand the amount of times we have reached the third round. From those twenty six years there are very league games I remember but I do remember playing Bolton, going down to Southampton and Palace in the League Cup. Everton and Man City at home in the League Cup too.

    Of course I will remember winning the National League bit how many individual games will live in the memory? Same this season. If we go up great and that will be the memory, but individual games? Nah. These one off games will stick in the memory though and I will bore my kids with them just like my dad has done to me with the Derby game in the FA Cup from years ago!

    This time won’t last forever. We have so many things to be excited about at the moment. At some point though this time will be over and we will be back to the mundane.

    Get excited about everything as in a few years time we will be looking back at this time and wishing for these days again.

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