It’s time for the final collection of nominees that you, the Stacey West readers, have put forward as the worst Lincoln City signing ever. About time, eh?
Today, we’ve got another group of ten players for you to pick from. If you thought we’d struggle to find ten more after the mammoth task of sifting through the previous seventy (ish), you’d be mistaken.
Before you scroll down, a repeat of the housekeeping bits that I’ll put on all the group articles. 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 Telford when we were broke. 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.
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 H. 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.
Adam Buckley 41 Games, 1 Goals.
I have three words here. The first two are Grimsby Town. The last one is nepotism.
Marcus Richardson 57 Games, 14 Goals
How dare you. HOW DARE YOU! Do you hear me? Whoever nominated Marcus Richardson as our worst signing ever should be made to sit in a room, with me, and listen to the reasons why he isn’t, on a loop, for HOURS. Goodness, if he hadn’t put a Ciaran Toner shaped dent in someone’s car outside the ground, he might even have been the missing piece of our 2005 play-off final team. Hang your head in utter shame.
Arnaud Mendy 38 Apps, 1 Goal
Mendy was a…. you know what? I’m still smarting from the previous nomination. Whatever. I guess Mendy was disappointing in that he’d been with Derby, Tranmere, Grimsby and Luton before us, and seemed to have a good pedigree. He wasn’t that bad (he wasn’t Marcus Richardson good though), but unlike some of the signings from that era, he should perhaps have been better given his previous experience.
Gomez Dali 4 Apps, 0 Goals
Four appearances, no goals, but a solid red card inside five minutes of a game. We still won 3-0. Dali had been with Nantes as a youth, but to be fair had been at Aylesbury and Woodley before signing for us, so we shouldn’t have expected too much. Mind you, however low our expectations were, he failed to match them.
Lee Angol 15 Apps, 6 Goals
I almost get this inclusion, but context is needed. Nobody is saying Lee Angol’s first spell was bad; he netted a hattrick on his debut, and his contribution in our 3-1 win against Forest Green almost certainly helped turned the tide in the race for the National League title. People have nominated him because of his second spell. The context is he was widely expected to join us in the summer, but instead was lured to Mansfield by what people assumed was more money. It didn’t help Evans was in charge there, it certainly made Angol a bit of a pariah in Lincoln. He later moved to Shrewsbury, which is where he was on deadline day, winter 2019. On that day, City were linked with a big name striker; people hoped for Danny Hylton (yeah, out of reach, but still). The minutes ticked down and instead of Hylton, or whoever else was unachievable, we got Angol. He proceeded to play twice, do nothing, and that is why some regard him as the worst signing ever.
Ross Etheridge 3 Apps, 0 Goals
Ross came in as backup to Paul Farman for the end of the National League season. There’s little doubt he wasn’t really needed, but Farms was carrying an injury. Etheridge got his debut in the FA Trophy semi-final away at York, conceded two very soft goals, one of which was 100% his fault, and effectively ended our Wembley dream. In fairness, he kept a clean sheet on his first league start, after the title had been wrapped up, and then conceded late on that joyous final day in Southport.
Alan Sheehan 1 App, 0 Goals
Fate puts Alan Sheehan on the list. Michael brought him in during the 2019/20 season, the one ended by the pandemic, and he got a single outing as we beat Burton 3-2. In that game, he handled in the area to give the visitors a penalty, which Josh Vickers saved, but that’s basically all Imps fans remember. He didn’t actually play badly that day.
Dave Barnett 27 Apps, 4 Goals
Barnett had a good career, playing for Birmingham City between 1994 and 1997. By the time he arrived with us in 1999 he had dropped off, and he never got going at the Bank. He came after we dropped back into the fourth tier in 1999, and we quickly sunk like a stone in our first year back there. I think he reflected the decline of the club, going from Kevin Austin and Dean Walling to Barnett. He had a decent career, but just with us. I’ll use Deranged Ferrett’s explanation of his first season with us, which is better than I can do. “To say he once played at a higher level makes the mind boggle. To be brutally honest he has proved to be a nightmare making mistake after mistake and has been one of the main reasons behind City’s awful goals conceded record.”
Leo Fortune West 11 Apps, 1 Goal
I saw Barnett’s one goal for City, in a 4-3 reverse against Preston that we should have won. He’d arrived in the summer of 1998 after our promotion, and I think the idea was for him and Battersby to be the big man / little man partnership that kept us up. It wasn’t. Before us he’d got 18 in 67 for Gillingham, as well as doing well for Stevenage Borough. He was accused by Ian Atkins (boo) of injuring one of his Northampton players in a game early in the season, and that seemed to signal the end of his Imps career. Moved to Rotherham, scored 26 in 59 and then went to Cardiff (23 in 92), Doncaster (19 in 90) and Shrewsbury (7 in 19). Probably disappointing in that he had the ability and proved it after leaving.
David Ridings 10 Apps, 0 Goals
Think about Jamie Vardy, George Boyd, Vinny Jones, Dwight Gayle, Stuart Pearce and Craig Mackail-Smith. They’re all players that came out of the National League, or whatever it was called at the time, and went on to have massive careers. In 1994, I thought we’d found ours. David Ridings had been the league’s Player of the Month before joining City, impressing massively at Halifax. He’d scored eight for them, and when his capture was announced I thought we had found a gem for the paltry sum of £10,000. It wasn’t £10,000 well spent, he struggled to adapt to the Football League and was soon back in non-league football. He got one more chance, a single game for Crewe, before settling at Leigh RMI.