The first mutterings of discontent began last week, following the press conference ahead of the Newport game.
Danny was asked if the boards ambitions matched his and for a second, there was a pause. That alone would usually be simply the actions of a man thinking of his answer, but twitchy fans saw something else. I wasn’t watching the presser because of work, but I got two messages quickly asking if I’d seen it. On its own, it meant little.
Then, after the Newport game, there was an angry Danny, disappointed at losing, mentioning how he wasn’t going to be happy with consolidation. The general feeling amongst many fans is that a year of consolidating would be the right way to go about progressing, but the manager seemed to feel otherwise.
Put those two things together and what do you get? The start of a rumour.
Even my Dad asked if I thought it was a happy camp after the two moments. Well, now I think we can answer firmly and emphatically, yes it is.
This afternoon, never one to shy away from the important questions, Michael Hortin asked Danny a very similar question to that of a week ago, but adding in his post match comments. That pause came again and, as I watched live, my bum twitched; here comes the doom…
“I think we’re going to have a budget that is going to give us an opportunity to be competitive. It’ll be a budget that first and foremost we’ll have to survive with,” he started out by saying.
“I’m not setting off on a journey next year with that in mind for us, I’ll be setting off to add value. We’ve had budgets at Concord and Braintree that were significantly less than our competitors and we’ve always found a way.”
He then addressed the whole ‘consolidate’ comment, preferring another word rather than being anxious at the club’s position.
“For us as a football, club we’ve come an awful long way in a short space of time. I don’t like the word consolidate; I’ve got a real issue with it. That to me is treading water and I haven’t got time to tread water. For me, it’s about trying to establish and if it is about establishing it’s about trying to put a plan together to get to the Championship because that’s the next division.
I don’t like the word consolidate; I’ve got a real issue with it. That to me is treading water and I haven’t got time to tread water.
“Now, whether that happens in one year, three years, five years; there has to be a plan in place for that to happen. We know for that to happen, we’d need significant investment. We’ve got a brilliant board who are incredibly hard-working and who are working behind the scenes to try to find that investment.”
It’s not all about money though, it’s about people too and once again, Danny found the right words to dampen down those who felt there was trouble ahead.
“We’ve seen a lot of other clubs suffer because they’ve got the finance, but not the right people. For us, the model has always been about people. Everyone at Lincoln City can rest easy because the board are doing all they can. In my opinion I believe Lincoln City is the most investable club in the lower leagues of English football.
“I genuinely believe that and I think there will be an intelligent businessman out there who sees the potential in us. Football, clubs are football clubs, it’s not the bricks and mortar, it’s the people. If anybody has followed this journey from afar, they’ll realise we’ve got some really good people here at every level inside the club.”
Even though the board are putting the hours in behind the scenes, Danny hinted that player trading might be one way to bring in better finances for the club in the coming months.
“In the meantime, I’m not just going to wait and hope, I’m going to try to do something about it. The other two ways are football fortune which we’ve done well with in the past with the FA Cup run and the Checkatrade trophy, and the other is trading players which is maybe something we’ll look at as well. We need to find a way to have a competitive budget to keep the momentum that we’ve got.”
I want this period to be a period where we change the status of the club forever
As with any good speech, the answer ended with a ‘hell yeah’ moment as he emphatically stated his desire for the club once more, leaving spine-tingling imagery of us establishing ourselves at a level a whole generation are not familiar with.
“I’ve said all along, my ambition and my aim for this football club is not just to create a moment in time for people to look back on and say weren’t they fantastic years in the history of Lincoln City, I want this period to be a period where we change the status of the club forever.”
In terms of putting any mutterings of discontent to bed, I’d say the light’s out and they’ve been well and truly tucked in for the night.