I’m not sure when is ‘too soon’ to do a looking back piece, but as the club have just put out this Tweet, I’ve decided to do one on a play almost all of us have seen play for City: Alan Power.
𝙊𝙣 𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝘿𝙖𝙮 in 2011 📅@AlanPower8 made his Lincoln City debut! 🙌
🏆 National League winner pic.twitter.com/vTYCBEXjvT
— Lincoln City FC (@LincolnCity_FC) August 13, 2020
Alan Power made his Imps’ debut just six days before I met Fe, nine years ago, as we drew 2-2 at Southport. It was the start of what I hoped was an adventure, a time we would storm the National League as Champions and maybe lift the FA Trophy. Whilst success took us much longer, we did bounce back and with us every step of the way was Alan Power.
Power appeared 261 times for City, a bulk of those outings as club captain. He was one constant during perpetual times of upheaval and instability, a culture and dedicated footballer consigned to showcase his talents to dwindling crowds. He saw rock bottom with the Imps, then helped lead us back to the promised land.
Power became synonymous with our non-league struggle, signing shortly after we came down in 2011. He was always ready to fight for the cause, often carrying a team of ten strangers on his own shoulders. He wasn’t always perfect, sometimes inconsistency reared it’s head, at other times indiscipline. Often, he looked frustrated, but he was never left wanting for passion and commitment On the whole, he was one beacon of light, one ray of hope through some very dark years.
We could talk about 2011-2016, but it wouldn’t be entertaining. Under Gary Simpson’s watchful eye we should have challenged further up the table, but did not, and by the time Chris Moyses became the fourth manager Power had played for almost all hope of promotion had gone. Power’s input into the 2015/16 season was impressive and he remained a key figure into what would be a record-breaking season, even if he was not one of it’s biggest stars.
When DC took over at the club, some fans felt Power might be on his way out. Rumours of a move to Boston spread like butter at the start of the season, and he didn’t seem able to get a game. I feared he had peaked as we had slumped, and as we climbed the league he would slide away quietly, always remembered as that good midfielder we had when everyone else was shit. Instead, he battled and fought, he scrapped and he waited. Eventually, the sad injury to Lee Beevers meant Bradley Wood dropped back to full-back and Alan had his chance. Prior to the away game at Chester on October 29th he had made just one start, the 1-0 defeat at Dagenham. He started as we ran riot 5-2 at the Deva Stadium, and he went on to start another 23 matches.
I’d never seen him have to battle back from being out of favour, and I gained a new-found respect for a player I’d admired for so long. He was never one to talk in the media, he just quietly went about his business as best he could. His third start of the season came in the FA Cup first round against Aldershot, and he started every FA Cup match after that. Not only had he come back, but he was right at the heart of our record breaking cup run.
He showed he still had mental strength too. We trailed Guiseley 1-0 on New Year’s Day, and we were awarded a penalty. It took a massive amount of courage to step up and strike that ball, especially after we’d suffered our first defeat in 17 games days earlier. We were ten minutes or so from an embarrassing double defeat against the strugglers, but his penalty spurred us on to a vital 3-1 win. Other sides dropped points that day, and we returned to the top of the table which is where we stayed for the rest of the season, bar a four-day spell in March.
In the FA Cup, we were losing 1-0 to Brighton when we were awarded another penalty. This time there was a seven or eight-minute wait as their keeper was treated and eventually taken off. That sort of atmosphere could choke a player, facing 1300 Brighton fans in the Stacey West with 9469 in total packed into the stadium. All eyes were on him, and like a true leader of men, he stepped up and slammed the ball home. We never looked back as we won 3-1 and set up dates with Burnley and Arsenal. Had he not had the character and strength to stay calm we might have exited the cup that day.
He played in our very first match in what was then the Blue Square Premier, and he played in our very last match in the National League. He rode the roller coaster as long as any of the playing staff, he was here for longer than a lot of the fans. He battled back from the brink both as club captain and from a personal point of view, and nobody deserved their place on that open-top bus ride more than he did. Alan Power is a Lincoln City legend, and finally seeing us gain promotion has sealed his legacy for years to come.
More recently, he has become a key spoke in the Kilmarnock machine, helping them to the Europa League and signing a new two-year deal in 2018, before the club affirmed their belief in him with a better three-year deal a year later.