My Favourite Five Pre-Season Friendlies

Lincoln City 0-2 Newcastle United 1996


I may well have already done an article on this game, but I have to talk about it again because it effectively ended the best summer of my life. I’ve spoken at length about 1996 and what it meant to me: Euro 96, out every night with my mates and watching lots of football. It was a great time to be alive, carefree to a degree. I’d started a new job at McKechnie Plastics in Wragby in June and just felt great, all of the time. I’m sure that’s not entirely true, I was probably lovesick over some girl and always skint, but you don’t remember those things, do you?

This game capped everything off for me. It was the first time in my ‘adult’ life (I was 17) that Lincoln were the focus of media attention. I would almost go as far as to say it lit a spark in me that perhaps dulled a little through my early teens. I went to every friendly that summer, finishing with this one. Newcastle brought all their top players, including the £15m man, who got a suspect penalty in the first half. City lost 2-0, but it didn’t matter. We hopped straight on the bus after the game and went out in Horncastle, as we often did. Great game, great days.