Last week I threw something out to my Twitter followers – could you pick players who had been less than spectacular at City, but if we’d had them in the heyday would have been potential club legends?
The names flew in, adding some troubling decisions to the XI I had already picked. Now, with some changes and tweaking, I have the greatest Imps XI that few would ever pick. Before I commence though, I have laid down some rather strict criteria.
First of all, I’m not picking any player who did thrive with the Imps. I understand that Mick Harford, Glenn Cockerill and Trevor Peake, as well as many others, went on to have great careers and bettered what they did at the Bank on a bigger stage, but they were good for us. Any player who might get a shout as a possible Imps’ legend has been left off. In fact, I set the criteria that any player who received a vote in the All-Time Top 100 of a Generation we did recently, wouldn’t get in this side. It’s not that they had to be bad for City, but they had to be unlikely heroes, the sort that wouldn’t have been picked here.
The second criteria I have laid down is they must not have gone on to achieve greatness after their spell at Lincoln – their heyday must have come before we had them. The idea formed as part of me thinking how good some veterans we’d had might have been. It actually came as I looked through a Panini sticker book noting some players I thought had been terrible for us being talked about highly. It doesn’t seem right that someone like Sam Clucas, or even Darren Huckerby get on the list. Those players either didn’t get a chance with us, or did well in a short burst before moving on. That ruled out the likes of Scott Loach, Wayne Biggins and Jack Hobbs too.
Thirdly, no loan players. We could pick a great squad of lads we’d had on loan who went on to do well with their parent clubs, players like Tony Woodcock who made the England Euro 80 squad, even scoring as we beat Spain 2-1 in the final game. Four years earlier, he’d scored for us in a 6-0 win against Southport, but he doesn’t qualify for this article. Neither do the likes of Chris Herd, Eric Lichaj and Nathan Baker, all very good footballers who had strong careers after their spell with us. One player who doesn’t get mentioned a lot, and should, is Matty Pearson, currently in the Championship with Luton, who was on loan with us in the National League. Still, would he make the list ahead of some of the players I have chosen?
Without further ado, let’s go to the selections, starting with the keeper.