The late eighties were not a great time to be a football fan in general. The summer of 1985 was awful, littered with horrifying disasters and instance of crowd trouble too.
Football grounds were dilapidated, crumbling and dangerous. There were no kids clubs as such, no family areas that felt safe and a very low number of female supporters. The football fan of the late eighties, certainly from 1985 to 1987 at Lincoln City, had to be brave.
The Sincil Bank you know and love now has had all four sides redeveloped since 1986. My first game, which I covered in the dog walk video yesterday, saw me attend a ground with one stand already demolished and work yet to begin. Over the course of my first full season, the 1987/88 campaign, I watched what is now The Selenity Stand rise from the ground. At the time, I didn’t see it as a white elephant, more a symbol of regeneration that has perhaps always been the case.
Everything has regenerated at Lincoln City since those dark days. Hooliganism was rife, racism was commonplace and quite how my Dad every thought taking his timid ginger son along was a good idea, I’ll never know. He did though, and I’ve been inspired to dig out some photos I bought on eBay many moons ago to show you the Lincoln City I first knew.
Why today? Twofold. I started the Lincoln City Journalism Course this week with the young people of the Priory Academy and the pupils are going to be looking at the changing face of Lincoln City and football in general. The other reason was yesterday’s dog walk video – it made me nostalgic for the late eighties when it all began for me.
I do have a box of photographs, some from eBay, some I’ve taken and I will keep feeding them through on here. These are almost all from the 1986/87 season, my first. I saw us play Hartlepool (lost 4-1), Swansea (won 4-0) and Cardiff (lost 1-0), falling deeply in love wth the club. Looking at some of these photos, I’ve no idea why.
This has got to be 88/89, coming out of the old tunnel. I always wanted to be a mascot, but never got the chance. Watching the other boys come out holding the Imp, seeing the players and being on the pitch inspired me. I suppose it is why I went on to be the mascot for so long.
Trevor Matthewson is leading the teams out, Gordon Hobson is a couple of players back making it easy to date.
I’m not sure when this one is, but if I were a gambling man I’d say Wycombe at home on the final day of the 1987/88 season. When you see how sparsely populated the West Bank could be on occasions, it’ll give you an idea of exactly how tight it must have been this day.
Dark days indeed. Football behind a cage.
Another from the 88/89 season I believe. The Clanford End has been partly demolished, leaving home fans exposed to the elements. I always used to marvel at the disabled access and support on the right, something surprisingly apparent given the times.
This is how the West Bank could look. Sparse, cold and empty.