Once upon a time, nothing surprised me at Lincoln. Not really.
Players coming to the end of their contracts eventually left. Top performers moved on and we seemed destined to be a selling club for eternity. By rights, every team is a selling club, but we did seem to bend over whenever someone came in for our players.
Today’s news has really shown us to be something very different indeed. I wasn’t convinced Jason Shackell would stay with us next season. In fact, I was 99% sure he’d go. I’d heard it all; contracts in America, deals with Nottingham Forest to go as a coach. He wanted a year with the Imps to learn the ropes from DC and then was off.
Instead, he’s staying put until the summer of 2020. I’m genuinely shocked, surprised and of course, utterly delighted.
Cian Bolger might not be of course, but competition for places is everything in this side.
I’ve been putting together my assessment of the centre backs this season and I’ve pointed to Jason Shackell as a key component in our success. He helps Harry Toffolo with his experience, he’s fearless and aside from the odd moment of madness, he’s been reliable throughout his stay. Basically, he’s much better than League Two.
He’s delighted too, telling the club’s official site: “I’m delighted, I’ve really enjoyed this season and getting back to playing regularly. All the staff and the lads have been great, after all the success we’ve had this year I’m really excited to be staying for another year.”
So, there we have it. Another surprise, another key player committed to the cause and another reason to celebrate. Jason Shackell is a professional, experienced and still able despite his advancing years. When you talk to him, you know you’re talking to a man who understands the game, not just the media angle but all aspects of being a footballer.
He’s a role model for younger players, a great man to have around the EPC offering advice and guidance and of course, he’s a bloody good footballer.
I can see us having a quiet summer you know. With the players already committed to the club, I think we’ll need a handful of faces to come in, but no wholesale changes.
What a time to be a Lincoln City fan.