Do you know what gets to me, other than Forest Green, David Flitcroft, Steve Evans, Paul Raynor, Ollie Palmer, etc etc?
It’s when other fans chant things like ‘where were you when you were sh…’. It shouldn’t, it’s a football chant that I would happily join in with if the boot were on the other foot. It does get to me though, mainly because when we were rubbish, really rubbish, I was watching. It also gets to me because it belittles the achievements of the team over the last few years.
It also feeds an elitist element of our fanbase that think because they saw us lose to Welling, they’re ‘better’ than someone who discovered us in their front room as we beat Oldham.
What is equally as angering is that if you ask any of those fans chanting at us what they really thought, those with half a brain would actually say what we’ve achieved is first-rate. Seriously, we don’t play Arsenal in the FA Cup every week, do we? Yet we take thousands to MK Dons, we travel in good numbers all across the country and we’ve sold out of season tickets. Our success in the FA Cup brought fans here, but the supporters have stayed. Okay, we’ve won three trophies since that FA Cup run, but our numbers have shown no signs of decline.
In the real world, football fans would love their club to be in our position. That’s why I get wound up when I hear the chanting, I really shouldn’t as it’s all part of the game, but I just do.
What really warms my cockles is reading praise for our club, not sycophantic praise from one fan trying to make friends on a forum, but the sort that largely goes unseen. That’s because it’s genuine, an appreciation from one fan of our achievements that’s in no way designed to feed our ego, nor make friends.
On my statistics page for this site, I get to see where a majority of my clicks come from. It’s usually Facebook, Twitter, News Now and email clients where my subscribers get my posts sent, although occasionally I see clicks coming in from a forum of another club. I’ll be honest, it’s not always complimentary and if it starts something like ‘FGR Net’ I tend to skip past; nothing good can come of looking at that. When it’s from the Vitals network I tend to have a look as, every so often, it’s courtesy of our own Vitals forum and I want to know if it’s being nice to me or not.
There have been a few clicks from such a network on George’s piece about season ticket sales and I thought I’d have a look. The source was Vital Gillingham and what I read there brightened my day. In fact, I wasn’t even due to write anything today; it’s Fe’s birthday (my partner for those who don’t know) and we’ve been wandering around Horncastle spending money I can ill afford on books and clothing I don’t really need. What I’ve read on there has prompted me to break off the relaxation and put a finger to keyboard.
I liked the praise, I liked the words coming from a group of supporters who probably didn’t intend a Lincoln fan to see them or pick up on them. What I wanted to do is replicate a couple below for you, hopefully giving you a warm glow about where we are as a club.
Blueworm – This a pretty amazing at Lincoln. From my trips there years ago I always thought of it as one of those places where the locals hardly knew the club existed.
LancsGodonRoad – Impressive marketing, it seems that they`ve only stopped selling ST`s (6,300 sold) so that they can ensure some flexibility with away fan configurations etc. Lincoln is half the size of the Medway towns and the ST prices are only slightly lower than the Gills. Well done the Imps.
ME7_Gills – Very impressive what they have achieved there, climbing the leagues and a couple of good cup runs. Quite amazing their crowds, I remember going there, they used to barely get 2,000.
Vambogills – It’s amazing what the ‘feelgood’ factor can generate. Hope ours keeps a head of steam up.
Trev_GFC – Great to see Lincoln’s crowds have rocketed since dropping out of the FL. same with others – the likes of Hereford and Stockport benefitted from good increases too. Orient. Were Wrexham another team with 2-3k crowds until dropping out? Luton have always had 8k crowds, even if they’re mostly bellends.
markinkent – I am a regular visitor to lincoln for work. If you do the away game go “uphill” before or after the game for drinks. The walk up steep hill is well worth the effort. It’s no doubt that recent success in the FA Cup and JPT helped raise the profile in the towns. Just as playoff finals did for us. The key or luck is that they built on this by winning promotions. The town council are supportive and its a feel good factor in the town. I hope they do well.
The point here is that from the inside looking out, it is easy to miss what has happened to our club. I banged on about the booing against Colchester and I will always stand by those comments. I think it illustrates how perspective can be lost when you’re on the inside of something. All last season my mate Pete was telling me Lincoln were going to win the league; he watched us a bit but is a Manchester United season ticket holder (Ben, you might know him…). From the outside looking in, he saw success. Looking out at him, I saw tough fixtures away at Mansfield and Bury, I saw 2006’s collapse and feared the worst. Perspective.
This pre-season I think has actually been quite calm, there hasn’t been a clamour for new faces and supporters have been widely accepting of the situation we’re in; looking to establish. There has been the odd mumbling about fans stopping going if we lose a few and that sort of thing, but I think that’s bound to happen; it happens to Man Utd, it happens to Maidstone and it’ll happen to us.
What we need to really understand onto is that we’re still in the grasp of something great. These ST sales have been applauded internally, but deep down a lot of other fans are applauding them, on their forums and maybe to each other. They’ll still want to know where we were when we were shit next season, but there is grudging respect for the phenomenal rise we’ve experienced.
It’s not just down to DC and NC either, sure they’ve been the catalyst and the major factor in our rise, but you have to applaud the board and office team for where we are as a club. We’ve even got praise above for holding tickets back so we can be flexible with allocations and the like. Liam and his team are often criticised for a lot of things, but our strategy is being recognised as strong elsewhere.
It’s made me feel good on this damp and drizzly summer’s day. I’m off out tonight to smash a big ass steak at the Mall in Woodhall Spa and I shall do so with a little renewed vigour thanks to those Gillingham supporters. Hopefully, one or two of you might as well.