I wrote an article the other day with something like ‘West Brom is only the start’ in the title. Maybe I should go into prophecy because within 24 hours Boro had reportedly decided they wanted a piece of our gaffer too.
The whole situation is reminiscent of a year ago when Mick McCarthy left Ipswich and everyone thought Danny and Nicky were going there. I even worried then, but I’m not as worried now. I’m not saying they won’t go, there’s plenty of reasons why they should, but the only people who can make that decision, should it be presented to them, are Danny and Nicky.
I do believe there are legs in the rumour, absolutely. The Press Association are not normally known for the sensational reporting, this isn’t the Sun coming up with something. The crux of the situation is that West Brom and Middlesbrough have considered Danny as well as others; just because we know how great they are doesn’t mean these two clubs will risk their future on a manager who has only managed in League Two and below.
I think there are pros and cons to both jobs. People have said West Brom hire and fire regularly but in fact, since Luke Dowling has gone in there as technical director, they showed restraint. Darren Moore could have been sacked earlier, but they allowed him to have most of the season before pulling the trigger. Sure, it looked hasty from the outside, but the Baggies had a top squad and didn’t do as well as they should, not on the field nor recruiting players.
They’re a Premier League team in waiting and Danny has said many times he knows where he is going. I assumed that was the Championship with Lincoln, but maybe it is the Premier League. Let’s face it, he deserves a shot at the second tier. We have this romanticised idea of Danny (and Nicky), that they’re here for the long haul, they’re men of integrity and all of that. Those images are right, but if they’re offered huge wages to go to a side with millions to spend, why would they say no?
Then there’s Boro, another side with top flight aspirations. I think West Brom are a better bet, Boro pulled the trigger very hastily on Garry Monk and then perhaps stuck with Pulis too long. I’m not sure our gaffer would be a popular appointment up there, the perception of long ball tactics, inaccurate I might add, would have the fans on edge after seeing what Pulis did.
Whilst we don’t want the ride to stop, one day it will. It might be tomorrow, next week or it might be next year.
There are hundreds of reasons they might want to go and the same amount why they might not. If they do I’ll be gutted, they’re the best Lincoln City managers in history and have delivered us our club back, not in the way we expected but in a way we dared never dream. Anything they do right now they’re earned through sheer hard work and whilst we don’t want the ride to stop, one day it will. It might be tomorrow, next week or it might be next year.
Here is the point I’ve been getting around to; when they do go we have no solid reason to be scared, certainly not as much as the next manager anyway. Anyone coming into the club would be doing so under a huge shadow and you wouldn’t want to be that guy. Think David Moyes after Sir Alex, or George Lazenby after Sean Connery.
That aside, I have every confidence in our board of directors and the fact they have a plan in hand. To be more accurate, I have every faith in Clive Nates. This revolution, led by Danny and Nicky on the field, it started in December 2015 when Clive invested in the club. Chris Moyses had brought the club and the fans closer, repaired some of the damage sustained during the previous board’s stint, but the proper revival of the club as a whole really started with Clive coming in. He was instrumental in Danny and Nicky coming to our club, he has been key to getting them on new deals and he’s overseen the investment from some influential people too. Greg Levine, David Lowes and the like do not just wander up Scorer Street with a wallet full of tenners you know. They have to be courted, they have to be convinced and that’s enough to tell me we could do the same with the next manager too.
People keep messaging me about 1976, Taylor leaving and the club collapsing but don’t forget within a couple of seasons we were back in the Third Division and not only that, we were close to the second. It took a couple of tries before we found Colin Murphy, but that period in history wasn’t all that bad, if you forget about Willie Bell and George Kerr. Can you see a Willie Bell being appointed by Clive Nates, should Danny leave? Or even a Chris Sutton for that matter?
Absolutely not. The status of our club has been changed, for the first time since I stepped foot in Sincil Bank we’re going into League One believing that mere safety is more than achievable.
Losing Danny and Nicky would be huge, but it wouldn’t be the end of the club. It would affect the trajectory and mean crucial decisions had to be got right, but we’re not 15th in the National League anymore. Their hard work has changed the status of the club and I desperately want to see them remain here and guide us to a level I’ve never known as a fan; third-tier survival.
I want to see what they can do as the underdogs again, I want to believe that these two wonderful men, men who have restored our civic pride and rebuilt our shattered reputation, will remain at the club and finish the job they started. I want to believe the job they started was not League One football, but Championship football.
However, if they do not I have every faith in the other people at the club to help see us through the tough spell post-Cowley, whether that is this pre-season, next or before huge investment from a Russian billionaire allows Danny to do for us what Eddie Howe did for Bournemouth.
I do keep getting asked my opinion and honestly, I don’t know anything at all and why would I? What I would say is I believe either of those clubs would offer a great opportunity for Danny and Nicky to progress their careers but I also believe they feel they can achieve more here with us. My gut feeling is they’ll stay with us if an approach is made.
You can now buy my book ‘Suited and Booted’ right here on the site.
It’s the story of my time as Poacher the Imp, the Lincoln mascot, and the struggles I faced with mental health during that period. It’s hopefully going to keep a few people entertained with Imps’ titbits, funny stories and of course a serious message throughout.
It’s released on June 7th at an exclusive launch, details to follow, but anyone who buys between now and next Friday will go into a draw to be at the launch.
Want to know more? Of course you do.