Bolton & Gillingham make Bridcutt & Akinde move revelations

Courtesy Graham Burrell

The capture of Liam Bridcutt and the departure of John Akinde have made the news in local press this morning, but not in Lincolnshire.

Instead, the Bolton News and the Kent Messenger have run with stories covering both transfers, but with information that might be of interest to Lincoln City fans.

Firstly, let’s look at the capture of Bridcutt. At present, we don’t know how important it might be, but the acquisition of a player with several million-pound moves behind him would seem like a big boost for the squad. He had been on loan at Bolton and, despite being ruled out for a time through injury, Bridcutt was a player they seemed keen on keeping.

Trotters boss Keith Hill has been speaking to the Bolton News about the move this morning, saying: “Liam wanted to go Lincoln, it was as simple as that.”

He wouldn’t go into too much detail, but as in the move of Tyler Walker, we’ve benefitted from a player wanting to move, without forcing it the wrong way.

“We had a conversation and he explained his reasons why, and they will remain private, but he wanted to go there,” added Hill. “He had a great time here and he’ll always be welcomed back.”

Bridcutt wasn’t able to make his debut this weekend as he signed after the midday deadline, but he will be available for the clash with Rotherham, which could be a big evening for City in the quest for enough points to make the final couple of months safe. Another player who wasn’t able to play for City was Big John, who completed a move to Gillingham in January.

Steve Evans, who isn’t renowned for being entirely truthful with the press, has revealed that Akinde took a huge pay cut to leave the Imps. The article suggests he could have taken a pay increase to go to Salford, but chose Gillingham instead.

“He took close to a 50% pay decrease, which is incredible,” said Evans. “I spoke to him (during negotiations) more than I spoke to anybody. I probably speak to Paul Raynor more than my wife but I was speaking to John Akinde more than Paul Raynor!

“There was a lot of work and our chairman was fantastic in the end, not by adding numbers to the original deal that was proposed, that was always the deal and credit to Lincoln. But the person who deserves more credit than him is John Akinde. He is the one who wanted to move back to Kent, his words to me was that he always thought that if I came here at some stage he would like to be here and he is now.”

He goes on to add something that I always thought might be the case; the move back down south was family orientated as much as anything.

“Everything is about family and when I showed interest even his family wanted him to come here. The location suited, the club suited, the level suited, there were a lot of ticks in the box for him. John is one of those lads that has to feel comfortable that he can play, that you will be straight with him, that it is the right fit for him and his family. The chats we had with him it was always about his family and coming back to Kent, and that is admirable.”

The report also uses those magic media words ‘it is understood that’, in reference to him moving to Gillingham for a ‘six-figure’ fee. That would seem to suggest to me that much of the Tom Hopper money was covered by Akinde’s departure. Whilst the settling in period hasn’t been ideal, here’s hoping that Hopper is a better long-term investment than the often-maligned big John.


  1. Given time Hopper might be but Akinde will be missed for sure and maybe would have made a difference against Portsmouth centre halves.

  2. John Akinde is a lovely man – we could see that – but is style is more suited to League 2 and not suited to what Michael is trying to build for the Championship

  3. Three things: Gillingham are a League 1 club and above us in it. Are they paying him ‘off the books’ as Evans of old?
    I also note that Big John isn’t taking their penalties, so where will his goals come from?
    Only Walker scored more goals than Big John in January. Akinde scored 2 in 1 game, off the bench! Not opened his account for the Gills yet. I wonder where his first will be? The LNER?

  4. I think Johns problems started when he missed chances early on in his career with City. Having said that he was a unique penalty taker.

  5. If my new boss decided to boast in public about the state of my bank account, I’d be rather pissed off.

    And Evans should know by now there’s only trouble to be had when someone puts the spotlight on your personal finances.

  6. In the shadows of football business we’ll never know- I wish JA well, lovely man and on form a mighty player. My instinct was he wasn’t happy at Lincoln- I can conjecture as to why but it’s immaterial now.
    Thoroughly looking forward to seeing MA enjoy developing the talent he’s building- no, it’s not been easy to watch the past couple of weeks, but encouraging signs are certainly there for the coming months!

  7. Hope he does well, was delighted he got an assist in the first game and usually I couldn’t care less about players once they have gone. Was interesting that he is now his own agent, and on a holiday currently. Speaks of someone now at peace and happy. I think being the constant object of derision probably affected him. But he still carried on scoring and putting away the penalties. I wish him all the best and it shows that footballers are not just unthinking robots. Surely part of Hopper coming here is having lived in Lincoln before.

    As for the jibes that he only scores penalties, I always find this laughable. Especially given how we struggle with penalties without him. In my time as a fan I lose count of the number of times I have cheered getting a penalty either there or on the radio. Only to have the crushing “ohhh and it has been saved” coming next.

    • You don’t employ a centre forward to just convert penalties! John has plied his trade at League Two level for most of his career! The return from his time at Lincoln was I am afraid just not good enough! The air in Lincolnshire is pretty well the same as in Kent! I suspect his goal return for Gillingham will be much the same as at Lincoln! Probably a very nice mellow man, but this is how I see it!

      • “The return from his time at Lincoln was I am afraid just not good enough!” 17 goals in the championship winning season, when only one other player got double figures (11), is not good enough? What sort of number were you looking for? 25 to make sure we really won the title with a few more games to spare? Currently he is still our second top scorer for Lincoln this season and he left two weeks ago after a period of bench warming. And after all that he was not just there to score goals but bringing in others like a Rheady.

        I am sure you can prove me wrong, but in the last 20 years he is the 8th highest scorer for Lincoln and has played the second fewest games of anyone in the top 10. 207 minutes per goal against say Rhead who was 250 per goal and arguably at a lower level? Saying that Akinde is no Graver or Hall, but he did enough in his season or two to merit a bit of praise.

        “The air in Lincolnshire is pretty well the same as in Kent!” and right there is the lack of understanding of how people work, rather than robots.

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