Before I start, let me hit you with a stat.
Since we came back in the league, I think we have had around 10 out-and-out strikers on our books, namely Matt Green, Ollie Palmer, Matt Rhead, John Akinde, Lee Angol, Tyler Walker, Tom Hopper, Tyreece John-Joles, Callum Morton and Jamie Soule. It’s not a lot, maybe three a season, tops, and at times it has certainly hit us hard (play-offs 2017/18 springs to mind). Two, Soule and Angol, didn’t even start a league game, which means on average we have two strikers per season in the squad, starting matches.
In 2002/03, we had eight. In 2003/04, we had ten. In 2004/05, we had 14. Big Keith loved a striker. Genuinely, if you look back, we had as many strikers the year we got to the playoff against Southend as we have had since kicking off against Wycombe back in the warm August sun of 2017. Is that the changing face of football? Or was it reflective of Keith’s mantra that without strikers, you just don’t score goals? Ok, in some instances I’ve counted Adam Kerley (one appearance from the bench in 2004/05), and there were lots of loan players, but it is far to say we had a lot of strikers under Keith.
I’m sure we all have our favourites, Yeo, Taylor-Fletcher and latterly Jamie Forrester spring to mind, but with more strikers in three seasons than we have players in the squad right now, there are bound to be those who never get a mention, and maybe should.
I loved that era, I felt energised by it every week. I guess being in my mid-twenties, living life to the full without repercussions, was a golden age for me, or certainly, the weekends were when I could be out from 8 am on a Saturday until 5 pm on a Sunday. We went from zeroes to heroes, the club mattered again and those players still resonate with me today.
So, who are the five strikers I’ve picked who really do not get enough love from modern-day Lincoln City fans, but who I still remember fondly? You’re about to find out.