It’s time for the penultimate collection of nominees that you, the Stacey West readers, have put forward as the worst Lincoln City signing ever.
Today, we’re into the first group of ten. Yep, that’s right; ten.
Before you scroll down, a repeat of the housekeeping bits that I’ll put on all the group articles. This isn’t just so I can copy and paste it each day to save time either. Honestly, I said the same yesterday (and the day before). I’m not attempting to say these footballers were bad players, or bad people; some of them had really good careers, appearing in the top flight, European football and even for their country. What we’re looking for is the worst signing Lincoln City made, based on their arrival and their time here. I urge you to remember that; a player we paid big money for is, by definition, a worse signing than some poor lad we grabbed from Northwich when we were skint. A player who didn’t play at all can’t possibly be a worse signing than one who shipped five goals on his only appearance, can he? I guess that’s for you to decide.
Also, for those saying we shouldn’t focus on negatives, this is actually a positive article. I want people to read some of the players’ names on here and perhaps think on when they call this summer the ‘worst window ever’. It really isn’t, and we’ve had some truly awful signings over the last forty years, which is the time period these players have been pulled from. By the way, if I missed your player, my apologies, but everyone put them on different social media channels, not in the website comments and I really haven’t had the time to scour all the different groups. Also, as much as Chris Sutton boiled my wee as well, he just doesn’t count as he was a manager, not a signing.
If you are a player featured on here, please don’t take offence. Look at it like this; I once worked for a company called Timber Stair Manufacturers. I did it during a time of immense emotional turmoil and I felt I’d given it my best shot. To be fair, I was awful, and I’m sure Dave at the company wouldn’t be as bold as to say so. However, the people I served, those whose stairs I measured, would say otherwise. They’d be right, whatever the circumstances. Nobody is saying you were a bad player, just that when you played for Lincoln, someone felt you were (not necessarily me btw).
Also, some of the nominees just don’t deserve to be on the list; today is plenty of evidence of that! Still, I used the nominations I was given and that means some players get a bit of a pounding for no reason. Anyhow, here are the nine players in Group F. To make it fair, I’ve randomised the groups to include players from across different ages. Have a read, and pick the worst at the bottom. I’ll try to do a group per day and only tot up the results at the end of the voting. I’d say ‘enjoy’, but I doubt you will, somehow.
Ciaran Toner 17 Apps, 2 Goals
Okay, so we’re up and running with another player who is never the worst signing this club has made. I know why Toner’s here; the controversy surrounding his departure. Without going deeply into it, he was reported to have had a fight with Marcus Richardson, resulting in both leaving the club immediately, never to appear again. The fact is Toner was establishing himself as a good player for us, and had even dislodged Peter Gain from the team for a short while.
Niall McNamara 15 Apps, 0 Goals
Niall was with the Imps for two seasons, but he barely got a kick. He started five games, but never looked likely to disrupt first team plans. It’s harsh to call him a terrible signing; he came from Belper Town and when he left, he went to Eastwood. I do think some of the nominations on this list are influenced by the fact some players didn’t play much, rather than what they cost, what their reputation was and how they did as a collective. Trust me, Niall isn’t the worst signing on this list.
Ben Hutchinson 40 Appearances, 4 Goals
I’ve made plenty of excuses for players over the past couple of articles, explaining they weren’t bad players, they came from nowhere and had little expectation. That doesn’t apply here. Ben played for Boro as a younger man and joined Celtic in a deal that could have risen to £1m. I doubt it did. In October 2010 he called our fans the ‘worst in the world’, and a couple of weeks later I cheered him like a king hypocrite as he scored one of his four goals for the club in front of me. If that wasn’t the worst of it, he got sent off in a game against Macclesfield that we were winning 1-0, and down to ten men we ended up drawing due to a last-minute goal. If we’d won that game, we would have stayed up.
Jake Sheridan 68 Apps, 1 Goal
I used to sit with a friend, Adam, in the Stacey West and bemoan the skills of Jake Sheridan. He’s been around the non-league scene for a while, and joined on-loan during David Holdsworth’s reign. He wasn’t the most gifted of players, but actually, he has no place on this list. He came for nowt, played for what you’d imagine were peanuts and always gave 100%. You never questioned his eagerness or his endeavour, only his ability to get us out of the National League.
Michael Gordon 5 Apps, 0 Goals
With a CV including Wimbledon (pre-MK Dons days) and Swindon, Michael Gordon looked alright on paper. He’d spent a lot of time out of the Football League, but was picked up by Chris Sutton on a short-term deal in 2009/10. He was described by Chris Sutton as an ‘out and out right winger. He’s direct, he runs at people and from what we’ve seen, he’ll create opportunities for others’. He didn’t. This is a player who started in a first XI with Khano Smith, Jamie Clarke and Cian Hughton, whilst Richard Butcher, Sam Clucas and Rene Howe sat on the bench. I kid you not.
Sahr Kabba 3 Apps, 0 Goals
Another signing who was, on reflection, a flop, but who also is far from the worst. Kabba signed for Gary Simpson in the summer of 2014 but never got a decent run in the first team to showcase his talents. Played a total of 22 minutes for the club, all three appearances coming as a substitute and all coming in defeats for City. Joined Gloucester in the 2015 January transfer window as he didn’t fit in with new manager Chris Moyses plans. That decision has proven to be right as Kabba has just floated around non-league since.
Tyreece John-Jules 7 apps, 1 Goal
There is a part of me that can get on board with this. john0Jules wasn’t a terrible player, not by a long shot, but in terms of a signing he didn’t impress. He came at a time Tyler Walker was leaving, which heaped expectation on him. Arsenal fans seemed to claim he was near the first team as well, which in our experience, he was nowhere near ready for. He missed a handful of sitters, notably away at Gillingham in an awful 1-0 defeat, and then picked up an injury that meant a return to his parent club. All in all, a decent player, but certainly not a great signing for us.
Dave Cameron 73 Apps, 11 Goals
Big Dave Cameron was never left lacking in terms of effort, but a goal every seven games is not what you want from a striker. I remember his trial game, a 4-4 draw with Middlesbrough, which had some of us thinking he might be a star in the making. He wasn’t. He always battled hard, but the fact he’d been playing for Worthing before coming to us probably summed up the level he was at. There are worse players on the list, there are worse signings on the list too, but fans of a certain age might be tempted to place their vote here.
Mark Foran 2 Apps, 0 Goals
Foran is already considered the worst player to play for one of our rivals, and his inclusion on this list isn’t a huge surprise. The giant defender came on loan from Peterborough in early 1997 and made just two appearances, one as a substitute. We lost both games; 5-2 against Darlington and 3-1 at Wigan. John Beck was an unforgiving man and Foran was soon back at London Road. Prior to Lincoln, he spent a five-game loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers, which saw Foran voted by supporters as the worst ever player to represent the club. He would have to go some way to achieve that attribute for Lincoln, but at least he made the list!
Alan Roberts 12 apps, 0 Goals
But for a rogue injury, we could be writing about a Lincoln great here. Roberts cost the club £60,000 in 1989, signing from Sheffield United after playing a full season for them in the Third Division. He was a right-winger, a nice balance of pace and skill with experience higher up. Sadly, he was injured as we lost 2-0 away at Scarborough at the start of 1990, and never played football again, retiring at just 25-years-old. He’s on the list through no reason other than pure circumstance.