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.