Our countdown of your Top 100 player of a generation continues, and if there was controversy yesterday, then today is going to see some of you going ballistic.
When you open up a vote to people, you get honest opinions and some of those opinions do not always get shared by the wider public. That’s okay if the minority are voted down in, say, a General election, but when a relatively smaller number of votes can see your favourite player in the Top 100, then there will be some anomalies. I had thought about excluding certain players from the vote, and I did disregard those ‘amusing’ people who had Kanyucka, Hutchinson, Broughton, Dali and Parrish as their top five. However, if a player is genuinely one of the best you think you have seen, but (for instance) he is then shamed for misdemeanours, should he be excluded? I decided no, so by the time you finish today’s list, 50-36, you might have a thing or two to say.
On Thursday, at 7pm, we’re going live on Facebook and YouTube in a special podcast. We’ve got fans as guests, we’ve got soundbites from at least five of the top 25 players (more in the pipeline) and we’ve got me and Ben too, perhaps the least thrilling aspect of the evening. Also, we’ll have you, watching at home, commenting on the players and maybe even getting an impromptu invite to come on and chat, who knows?
Remember to watch this video first, so you understand the context of the vote.
50 Jorge Grant
Another of the current crop, I don’t think there is any doubt that in terms of technical ability, Jorge Grant is right up there with the best we’ve seen in a Lincoln shirt. Over the last six months, he has turned into a dependable player with real dedication and commitment. Sure, he ‘only’ has 50 appearances for the club, but his assist and goal ratio s increasing by the game and will continue to do so until a big club catches on to the fact. All that promise he showed at Notts County has been realised and we have a complete player now, perhaps the first name on the teamsheet. He has seven goals for us now, five either from the spot or courtesy of a rebound and one, a free-kick against Posh, worthy of his Top 50 place alone. According to Wyscout, he also has five assists this season and 16 in total. If this vote takes place for our 200th episode, Jorge Grant will be a climber.
49 Gavin Gordon
Dare I say, we’re back to a more retro player now. Gavin Gordon really bucked the trend when he signed for us in November 1997, not long after Sir Gareth left the club. Gordon was a highly-rated youngster at Hull City, bagging nine times in 38 outings for them. He was the perfect ‘Beck’ player; good in the air, quick and with a keen eye for goal. He helped us to the promotion that season, scoring three goals, adding five in our solitary third-tier season. He grew into himself by 1999/00, smashing 13 goals in 47 outings, including one in a 2-2 draw with third-tier side Luton in the FA Cup. The secret was out, and after 11 goals in 20 matches the following season, including a brace against Cardiff, he was sold. the buyers? Cardiff City, doubtless impressed by his performance against them, splashing out a fee around the £300,000 mark.
48 Dany N’Guessan
The name Dany N’Guessan almost gets me up off my seat on its own. Heartbreakingly, he only really turned it on when he wanted a move, or when he felt like it, demonstrated by the fact his most prolific spell came after Christman in his final season, as he was free to talk to other clubs. In that spell, he was unplayable, bagging six times in ten matches and giving fans a glimpse of the player he could have been. He first impressed Imps playing for Boston on loan from Rangers, signing in January 2007. Sadly, he didn’t have the impact we needed to get us over the line in the 06/07 season and was used sparingly. The following campaign was a tough one for City and often the only highlight would be when he got on the ball. The following year the mercurial Frenchman impressed sufficiently to earn a move to Leicester City, but he never fulfilled that wonderful potential.
47 Justin Walker
When you look at the players Alan Buckley had in that final season, it is hard to see how we were so low in the division. Peter Gain, Lee Thorpe, Stuart Bimson, Mark Bailey, Paul Morgan and of course, Justin Walker, all appeared for us as we struggled towards administration. That would have been the nucleus of Keith’s side, had we been able to afford to retain Walker and Thorpe. The former, a slick and smooth midfielder with great ball control, clearly made an impression in his two years with the club, sneaking in at number 47 here. His late free-kick against Bristol Rovers helped edge us towards safety, whilst the year before he twice bagged against champions-elect Chesterfield, once in a 2-1 win at their place which left supporters utterly delighted. Often, the brightest moments come during the darkest seasons and Walker was a bright light during a time few were shining.
46 Bradley Wood
As if I didn’t have enough in my inbox when Andrew Boyce made the 100, or when people saw big John in there yesterday. I will almost certainly mute the replies to the social media output later. What I would say is what happened after with Brad doesn’t change what he did for us as a player. He was a star for Chris Moyses in the 2015/16 season, earning Player of the Year, and he was a key component of our 2016/17 title win too. What happened from there on certainly sullied his reputation with Lincoln supporters, but not sufficiently to keep him out of their minds for good.