After under two weeks of speculation, the Imps have moved to appoint a new manager. It’s a former Imp, albeit one who played a short period for us: Michael Appleton.
In this world of instant communication, few things come as a surprise and this is now different. Most people have known we’ve been in advanced talks with him for a while; it’s been covered on the NTT20 pod where presenter George Elek now calls us his ‘second team’. Maybe, in time, Huddersfield will be my second team. Maybe.
Anyway, this isn’t a day for looking back, it’s a day for looking forward. I vividly recall Appleton’s time as an Imps’ player as a girl I went to school with called Emma claimed he was her cousin. I’m not sure if that’s true, maybe I’ll ask him at a press conference over the coming weeks.
The Imps official statement reads:
We are delighted to announce Michael Appleton as the new first team manager of Lincoln City Football Club.
The 43-year-old joins the Imps from West Bromwich Albion and has signed a contract until the summer of June 2023. Michael arrives at Sincil Bank with an already strong, yet growing reputation as a manager and coach alongside his wealth of experience gained over the last two decades both on and off the field.
Lincoln City Football Club chairman Clive Nates spoke of his delight at securing the services of the experienced manager and is pleased to bring to a close a thorough and rigorous process to select the best person to continue the momentum built up at the football club over the past three years.
“I am delighted that we have secured the appointment of Michael Appleton as our new First Team Manager and have total confidence that he is the right man for the job,” Clive said.
“Michael has all the qualities we have been searching for to continue our progress as a Club, having spent three very successful years at this weekend’s opponents, Oxford United, where he achieved promotion to League 1 as well as a number of exciting cup runs, including two visits to Wembley in successive years in the EFL Trophy.
“Although it is pleasing that we have made an appointment in just under two weeks, the priority has always been to undertake a proper due diligence process and make the right appointment for the long-term benefit of the club, regardless of the length of the process.
Thanks to a remarkable three years of success and progress, we have a momentum to carry forward. The board remains committed to continuing the transformation of the club with the aim of establishing ourselves higher in the football pyramid.”
Jamie McCombe and Andy Warrington will lead the team out against Oxford United at Sincil Bank tomorrow, and the City chairman is grateful for their efforts during the last two weeks, ahead of Michael taking over the management of team affairs for the first time on Monday morning.
“I would like to express my appreciation to Jamie McCombe, Andy Warrington and David Bridges for taking charge of first-team affairs in exceptional circumstances. I have been in the country throughout this process and have had the chance to witness first-hand their hard work and dedication and I wish them and the boys the best of luck on Saturday.”
The first you’ll hear from the new manager is Monday, as I understand he’ll be facing press then, but not before. However, he’s certain to be in attendance tomorrow as the Imps take on his former club, Oxford United.
I’ve done a couple of articles on Appleton which cover his past experience as manager of Blackpool, Portsmouth and Oxford. I’ve also looked at his tactics and transfer business here.
We ran a poll on here earlier in the week, looking for comments and opinion. It’s split, naturally. There are concerns over Appleton, mainly his record at his first three clubs, but I trust firmly in Clive’s opinion. If we’d gone for Nigel Adkins, Phil Parkinson or someone of that ilk, we’d be getting a journeyman to a degree; Appleton is not that. Yes, he’s had four clubs but in truth three were basket case clubs. My suspicion is he was trying to force his career along, having had his playing days curtailed through injury. When these jobs came up he wanted to move and impress but found impossible conditions.
Listening to him speak since he’s very candid about waiting for the right club when Oxford came up and doing the same this time. We’ve got a man hungry for success, proven at this level, and with some great contacts in the game. He’s going to be a coach and a man-manager first and foremost, that seems almost certain. I like his coaching credentials, the betetr drilled a team are, the better they’ll return results on the field.
His ethos at Oxford fits our squad too, he’s a man who likes to play a passing game, using skilful players and letting them express themsevles. Jorge Grant and Jack Payne will thrive.
I’ll be looking over the weekend at a couple of areas I feel he’s going to want to invest but, before I hand over to twitter for feedback from the poll, I would like to add this final footnote; any move for Appleton won’t have been as costly as Ainsworth ot Flynn. In that respect, the board have done well because we could have around £1m (the sort of release fee I understand Huddersfield paid) going into the budget; even an increase of £500,000 might give us another striker to add to the team in January.
I’m behind this move, I know I’m behind pretty much everything the club do but I did feel Appleton was a good choice back on the 9th and that hasn’t changed one bit. Anyway, I’m not the only one behind it, but a few are sceptical as you’ll see below.
Appleton is the equivalent of Drewe Broughton, kept getting clubs despite minimal end result, then ended up at us
— Kate Jackson (@kjackson1984) September 18, 2019
He left oxford where he was the main man to take up a lesser role at Leicester (all be it better salary). When we want a hungry manager does he fit that bill for a club on the rise? (I cant answer that as I don’t know him). Will probably be a safe choice with his experience
— Jamie Earls (@kingearls) September 18, 2019
Apparently he signed Roofe and then sold him. Doesn't mind using young players. Hands on coach. Can see the attraction.
— Shane Clarke (@ImpGunner) September 18, 2019
Gone yes, been successful and has plenty of experience plus tough times at Blackpool and Blackburn we’re more about the clubs than him, would still prefer Parkinson though as he had form getting clubs promoted from this Lge.
— Andy Helson (@andyhelson) September 18, 2019
Think he will prove to be a safe appointment, no nonsense. And he’ll get the best out of the likes of Payne, Grant, Walker etc. Can’t imagine people wanting to mess with him either ?
— Alan Johnson (@AFootballWriter) September 18, 2019
A kinda "meh" appointment. If he gets the gigg I will back him of course.
Think it will be a mixed reception on here as he isn't really the "coup" kind of name so to speak the fanbase was hoping for. Maybe a reality check for us all.
— Adam BARLOW (@ferretimp) September 18, 2019
I like the sound of him, I must admit. Mixed track record but fits the bill in terms of age, style, ambition, youth development and experience.
— Paul Carrott ? (@PaulCarrott3) September 18, 2019
If he is appointed & underwhelms, we could always use him as matchday security- no brainer all round for me?
— Dan Rawson (@DanJRawson) September 18, 2019
For me Clive Nates is a very intelligent man and if Michael Appleton has done enough to impress him and the rest of the board then it’s a yes from me! Never thought we had a chance of Ainsworth and I’m not sure we really wanted Flynn beyond having a chat! UTI!
— Chris Gooding (@Goodo1977) September 18, 2019