Opinion is one thing: The Lee Angol situation

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I’m all for opinion and believe it or not, when it comes from an educated and well argued point of view, I respect it whether I agree or not.

I respect the fact people are unhappy with Lee Angol signing for the club. I remember that moment I saw him smiling away in a Mansfield shirt, gripping the Joker’s  Carolyn Radford’s hand with a forced smile on his face. I was angry because I believed he was a good footballer and I felt he would have added to our offering.

To fully understand this situation I think we have to go back further than his decision that summer. He did polarise Imps’ fans opinions pretty soon after scoring a hat trick on his debut. I remember penning an article about a pair of fans behind me in the stands calling him every name under the sun as we beat Forest Green. We were promoted that season, Angol’s goals and efforts helped and yet he wasn’t universally popular then. He bagged 5 in 11 for us, which would even out at 20 over a season. 

Then there was the summer, the move to play for Evans. It wasn’t as much Mansfield being the problem then, it was Evans. Few have forgiven Angol for that, I’ve seen him called a turncoat tonight, a money grabber and all sorts. Take a deep breath and consider this: let’s say you’re offered £60k a year more to do the same job you’re doing now somewhere else, even if you like where you are now. Would you go? Don’t lie now, would you go?

Few of you will earn anywhere near that figure and as I understand it, that was the difference between our offer and their offer. Lee Angol liked it at Lincoln, he spoke on the bus journey around Lincoln about wanting to stay and yet when the bigger offer came in, he took it. Imagine that, a 22-year old lad taking a lot more money despite his heart telling him something else. At 22, I wouldn’t have hesitated and neither would you. To now call him a money grabber with a questionable attitude is repugnant.

The problem here isn’t all about that move, it isn’t all about being unimpressed with him before, it’s a combination of that and one other thing. Expectation.

I said on the podcast way back in December we wouldn’t sign Mo Eisa. Luckily, loads of people in the know on the internet knew better and said we were doing, so that raised expectations. It was never going to happen, but I heard it so much I thought there might be something in it. Mind you, I heard Rheady was off to Grimsby, that Harry was off to West Brom, that Ellis was off to Port Vale. It was all guff of course, fuelled by former agents on Twitter, mystery kitmen and blokes who know a guy who worked with the club’s doctor’s bit on the side.

These rumours circulate and grow though. When we signed Danny Rowe and Cian Bolger it got people thinking. Maybe we are big players. Maybe we can secure the talents of a £1m striker…. wait a minute though, have you forgotten we’re Lincoln City? We don’t have the money for a player like Eisa and neither do Mansfield or MK Dons. No, but why let that get in the way of things?

Then, when we unveil Lee Angol, the bad feelings from before are amplified because he isn’t Mo Eisa. “We wanted Eisa and we got a half-interested turncoat” is the general feeling. Take Eisa out of it and those ridiculous feelings of entitlement and think again. We signed a player whose contribution helped us out of the National League, who has scored goals in League One this season and who can cover a variety of positions.

“But we only sign better than we have” I hear. Really? James Brown is better than Neal Eardley is he? No, of course he isn’t. It’s just another hiding place to retreat to when the disappointment of us not signing a player we were never going to sign kicks in. What we’ve done is brought in cover so we don’t go into the final period of the season with three strikers, you know, like last season. One year ago I was listening to people saying we should have signed a striker, any striker, just so we had cover. Now we’ve done it, it isn’t the right striker.

We were NEVER going to replace Akinde and again, some of the people getting angry now are the ones who don’t rate Akinde. They’re mad not only because Lee Angol isn’t Mo Eisa, not only because they didn’t rate him before, not only because he took a much better offer elsewhere, but also because it means we’re ‘stuck’ with John Akinde. Akinde having scored 11 times and is routinely named by opposition fans as one player they’d love to have. That John Akinde, the one involved in two of the goals against Bury, a great point we earned in tough conditions.

I’m going to bed now because I’ve been sat here for virtually 16 hours. It’s been a long, hard day at times but I’m not disappointed at the end of it. In Lee Angol we have a player Danny knows and trusts, a player who can offer cover in key areas and who is looking for a chance to build up his reputation. He is still young, has played a lot of senior football and is certainly better than an empty space on the bench. He’s not Matt Green, sadly Green’s contract was expiring and he got a better deal which the club allowed him to take. I’d have loved Green to stay, but that’s football. I certainly won’t hold that against Lee Angol.

I implore everyone to get behind Lee when he pulls on a City shirt and for every one of you to get behind the team. I know I’ll get called something ridiculous like a Cowley convert for this article but you know what? I am. Before them we were 15th in the National League and signing the likes of Craig Hobson in a transfer window. Now we’re top of League Two and please, do excuse me for putting some belief in the decisions they make and the people they choose to have around them.

I once cheered a Ben Hutchinson goal after he’d called us the worst fans in the world. You know why? Because he wore a Lincoln City shirt. I seriously hope you’ll all do the same with Lee Angol and you never know, you might actually realise there’s a very good League Two striker in there.



  1. Gary, you have made my night. You have said exactly what I am thinking. Danny has resigned a young footballer he knows, who he can improve, who he knows wants to improve. That young footballer had his head turned by money and promises of riches. Grass is not always greener and I suspect he knows it! What motivation is that for Lee to turn this opportunity into one that sees him become a hero in the red and white!

  2. Angol moving to Mansfield is irrelevant to me, he was offered more money and took it, fair enough, I would do the same, and I have.
    I’m not happy he’s back simply because he’s not that good.
    Doesn’t hold the ball up at all, poor awareness, lacks vision, poor touch, poor work rate and would rather shoot from a ridiculous position than give a teammate a tap in
    Basically, he’s quite quick and that’s about it.

    I suspect he’s probably the poorest signing made by any side in the top seven and wouldn’t get a game for any of those teams.

    I hope Akinde stays fit, because if hes out for any length of time and Angol leads the line, we’ll slip out of the top three.

    • I for one hope he makes you eat your words, for l.c.f.c but for the lad as well he’s scored goals in league 1 he’s young and will improve I hope he feels he has something to prove and grabs the chance with both hands . In cowleys we trust

  3. Last Saturday I was in Hartlepool. My wife and I were visiting her Dad. On the afternoon I watched Hartlepool v Braintree. It was poor but was a stark reminder of where we were and where we still might be without the Cowley’s. I’ve been watching the Imps since the Taylor year’s through the ups and downs. We’re going through good times and I really don’t understand some fans negatively. Let’s get behind the team in red and white as we push for promotion into league 1, something we wouldn’t have dreamed off 3 years ago. So Angol chose to go to Mansfield so what. Now he’s chosen to play for City so I for one will be right behind him as he crossed that white in his next game and anyone else who pulls on the shirt UTI

  4. Once again a very rational and sensible analysis, Gary. I cannot understand the eagerness to rubbish our players nor the consequent lack of faith in the Cowleys’ judgement.

  5. I don’t care about his past, only his future. I think he knows he has to win the fans back and so he has something to prove and thats a good thing for the Imps! The Cowleys will help him to do that and I agree that we should trust their judgement. I think they have completed a very successful transfer window that has more than strengthened the coverage of the squad for the run in to glory. We know to ignore the ignorant know nothings, they are wrong on the majority of subjects and they know it! That’s what makes them gobby, trying to save face. UTI!!!

  6. 1. We’ve got to trust Danny and Nicky.
    2. We’ve got to have our own opinion too.
    3. L. Angol is a very average player and never was impressed with him. Two or three decent games in national league that is all… (Doesn’t look like people are impressed with him at Mansfield and Shrewsbury too).

  7. Well said Gary! What has Lee’s move to Mansfield got to do with anything? With big John already with quality support in Rowe and McCartan in particular why would we want a first team, top of the table, number 9 (even if we could afford one), and why would they want to come to warm the bench? Let’s give Lee a chance for goodness sake. He’s quick and mobile and clearly is seen by many to have potential. Can anyone think of a better management team to realise that for the Imps? There’s too much negativity in my view, just when we need our support to push us over the line. Up the Imps!

  8. I think it’s a sensible signing. He adds pace to the attack. And Danny and Nicky know him a damn sight better than any of us, so who are we to argue with the men who have got us to where we are now? Personally, I thought he was a good player who blew a bit hot and cold, but had lots of potential. As for the Mansfield move, as Gary said, who WOULDN’T be tempted to earn big money when the chance comes? Can’t blame him for that. And the fact he has come back here surely suggests that he really does like it here!

    Give the boy a chance. UTI

  9. Good article Gary and its an interesting debate and has certainly polarised opinion. Mine (for what it’s worth is this:
    1. I totally trust DC & NC in terms of recruitment – if he is good enough for them he is good enough for me.
    2. I have no issue at all with him choosing Mansfield given the offer they put on the table in front of him. However does this say that Mansfield put a ludicrously inflated offer in front of him, or was our offer actually quite derisory and based on him being more of a squad player than a starter (think Hawkridge and Whitehouse more recently)?
    3. I will support and get behind him 100%, like I do any other LCFC player
    4. Am I surprised this is who we have recruited – yes. I am surprised and quite underwhelmed. If the objective was simply to have a bit of cover and some legs in last 20 minutes then wouldn’t Jordan Roberts do that job, especially as DC has been at pains to tell people he can play at No 9 as well as 11.

    We have 17 big games left and everyone should get together and give every player 100% support to get us over the line. UTI!!!

  10. Quite apart from the ridiculous social media stuff, I think this is a good hedge. If big John got injured or banned then Angol would come straight in. He may not set the world alight, but he would work for the team and play the way DC and NC wants – helping others to score as well as himself. People forget the momentum shift that goal against FGR brought (which came from a hopeful ball punted in his general direction). Had we lost that game then who knows where we would be now? No, he isn’t the answer to everything, but it is straight-forward, pragmatic and part of an overall plan.

  11. I think when people listen/watch the Press Conference on Friday they will understand the move to Mansfield. Danny has been in regular contact since he left. People should have all the facts before sounding off. The lad is still young with potential. Danny loves him we I believe will do so in time.

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