Tomorrow night we face Crewe Alexandra in a proper six-pointer at the bottom of the table.
I thought in honour of us not being able to score, I’d find a striker who had played for us both who didn’t look much like scoring during his time with us. It didn’t take long.
Edling is a local(ish) lad, having been born in Boston, and he even spent a season in our youth setup, in 1994/95. He wound up back with his hometown club, and emerged as a professional for them in 1999. As they were being promoted to the Football League he got minimal exposure, spending time with Gainsborough Trinity and Bedford Town on loan. He did appear in their first Football League game, but was stretchered off injured early in the season and struggled to get back into the side. He eventually joined Stevenage, where he was prolific, but left after falling out with manager Graham Westley.
He then went to Kettering and back to Boston before signing for Stockport County, where his first game was against Boston. He didn’t bag in that encounter, but he did net 11 in the four months through to the end of the season. The following season he was on fire, and earned a move to Leeds United, but his time there was short; he started nine games before a move to Gresty Road.
He started just 14 league games for them before his move to the Imps, on loan. Now, on paper, this looked a great signing for us, especially as he joined at the same time as Michael O’Connor. We needed goals (not quite as badly as we do now), and he looked like he might be up to the job, netting on his debut as the 10-man Imps snatched a 2-2 draw with Brentford. Sadly, the apparent class that Elding possessed was rarely on display as he stumbled through 14 further outings scoring just twice. He bagged away as we beat Dagenham 3-0, then got the only goal of the game as we beat Wycombe 1-0 at the Bank.
His Lincoln career more or less came to an end on March 14th 2009, when he landed an elbow on the chops of Ryan Cresswell of Bury, earning himself a red card. He started three more games but returned to Crewe. The following season, his demise seemed complete as he was loaned to Blue Square Premier side Kettering. Again. Somehow, he then ended up in the Hungarian Premier League with Ferencvaros, before moves to Rochdale, Stockport, Grimsby and Preston. After that, he went off to Ireland with Sligo and Derry, amongst others.
The truth is that Anthony Elding was a good player and his goals at Crewe, Stockport, Grimsby and Stevenage are a testament to that. It would be easy to criticise his time in a Lincoln shirt as lacking effort and desire, but he did play under Peter Jackson who fancied himself more as a Svengali-style motivator than a proper football manager with actual tactics and plans. Maybe this affected Elding, maybe he really didn’t give two hoots about Lincoln, who knows. When he arrived, it was speculated we wouldn’t be able to sign him permanently, but by the time his loan was up, nobody was too distressed that a lack of funds might hold us back.