It’s not often Malcolm writes about a match that I remember too!
His reports often delve back into a deeper history than I can recall, so when he told me he was writing about the final game of the 1991/92 season, I felt I had to add a little something to the beginning of the piece (he also urged me to, I haven’t just hijacked his work!). On the next two pages is the usual match stuff from him, a look at both teams and the game itself, as well as a sneaky video I found on YouTube of all the action. It is the complete guide to a win against Blackpool almost 30 years ago, and not to be missed if you were one of the 7844 who was in attendance. If you’re a Blackpool fan, have a read as well, Malcolm has good knowledge of your team that day also.
Why is it of such significance to me? Well, it was a watershed game, one that came tinged with a little sadness and that has its roots a couple of years earlier, in my first game. I’ve spoken about my Imps upbringing before, it started on October 5th, 1986, when I went along to the Imps 4-1 defeat at the hands of Hartlepool as a punishment for swearing. After that, it was usually me, my Dad and my Grandad all at the Railway End, watching the Imps. I saw us beat Swansea 4-0 and lose to Cardiff (1-0 I think) in 86/87 before our relegation, but then as a family, we enjoyed the resurgence. I wrote recently of the GMVC clash with Boston United on Easter Monday when most of the family were there and that season saw three generations of Hutchinson, often multiple siblings, cousins and the like, all behind the goal and behind Murphy’s Mission.
I don’t recall the last game I attended with my Grandad, but it is likely to be the 90/91 season. I think money was a little tight in our family and trips to the football slowed after the 88/89 season for a couple of years. I don’t recall him being at the 1-0 win against Carlisle in spring 1992, but I know I was there (midweek game as I recall). Not long after came Saturday, April 11th, an afternoon on which we played Maidstone United. It was also the afternoon my Grandad passed away, aged just 67. It was a very, very sad day. We buried him not long after with his ‘John Ward Lincolnshire Poacher’ scarf, one I had worn to matches since we had started going.
After that, my Dad’s passion for the Imps dwindled somewhat. I guess it must be hard when you have a pastime so inextricably linked with your father, not wanting to carry that on. I desperately wanted to go to the final game of the season, but Dad did not, which I understood. Instead, my school friend Adam Slingsby and I went (there may have been one other, I don’t recall). Adam was a keen Forest fan, we bonded in our early secondary school years over a shared love of football, and I was trying to reimagine myself as a thoroughbred Lincoln fan who didn’t have a ‘big’ team. Was there an element of trying to get over my own grief by getting back to the ground as quickly as possible? I don’t know if a 13-year-old mind thinks that way, maybe. I do know this game, the 2-0 win against Blackpool, was the first I went to without my Dad by my side and the first I went to without my Grandad to report back to.
I recall some of the action you’ll read about on the following pages, but my most vivid recollection is of getting home to our house in Wragby and searching for my Dad. He was pottering in his shed, something he often did when he was troubled. I told him about the pitch invasion and I clearly remember him telling me how Grandad wouldn’t have gone again if he’d witnessed it. That really struck a chord with me, and whilst I imagine he saw worse in the hooligan years, I came away from that conversation feeling a huge stab of something. I don’t know what it was; sadness, guilt, closure, I’ve no idea, to this day, how that made me feel.
Anyway, enough of my melodrama and personal history, you’re not here for that, you’re here for Malcolm’s excellent recollections. Enjoy,