You’ve been voting like mad, and we’ve got a shortlist of eight players who ranked as the worst Lincoln signing in history.
Now, before I continue, let me be clear; I’m not saying these footballers were bad. Some had great careers outside of their Lincoln spell. However, they all failed to impress you in one way or another, hence this series of articles. I get it that seeing your name on this list if you’re one of the eight, is not great, but genuinely, this isn’t personal. You probably know as well as anyone your spell wasn’t great. I’m covering myself here because I have had a bit of criticism for running this series. It’s been far outweighed by the engagement and commenting from others, but I guess the series isn’t to everyone’s tastes.
Now, in the interest of fairness, and because I like a challenge, I’ve decided to throw some context into each vote. You’ve got the little bio from all of the players included, as you had for the other articles, but in addition, I’m going to attempt to counter-argue the case; I’m going to tell you why these players should NOT be classed as the worst signings of all-time. It might be a challenge in some instances, but I want to see if I can put enough doubt in your mind to go back and lump lots of votes on Kevin Hulme… (seriously, we swapped Dean West, a cultured and skilful right back, for a player who played five games. Madness).
Let’s go, shall we?
Khano Smith Apps 6 Goals 0 (168 Votes)
Smith looked to be the real deal on paper – he’d played for New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution, as well as Bermuda, for whom he’d scored seven times on his arrival. He seemed to be a real coup on paper, but on grass, he was not. He was utterly lost in the English game, and after being embarrassed at Northwich in our FA Cup tie, he left the club.
Ok, so firstly, Smith had never played in England, which was, at the time at least, very different to MLS. He might have played for the NY Red Bulls, just as the likes of Frank Lampard did, but it was before MLS really took off. Smith never got time to settle and he played in a Lincoln team that was often so littered with new faces fans didn’t know who was who. The expectation placed upon him was, on reflection, perhaps unfair. Is six appearances really enough? Could we have adequately judged Simon Yeo on his first six outings for the club?
Eliot Parish 9 Apps, 0 Goals (137 votes)
Parish should never have had to play for us. Time has dulled my anger for him, if I’m honest. He was a boy, thrust into the limelight by Trevor Carson’s recall to Sunderland. Don’t get me wrong; he was awful for us, making his debut as we were hammered 6-0 at home, and shipping 23 goals in his nine appearances. He had no command of his area, a wafer-thin defence to rely on and weak hands. What brings me to the verge of tears is that Joe Anyon was on the bench for six of Parish’s nine Imps appearances, so in my mind, Steve Tilson was as much to blame for a young Eliot looking like a deer in headlights as anything.
The first line says it all; Parish should never have had to play for us. He simply wasn’t ready for first-team football, and he arrived at a horrible time for the club. Imagine, you’re fresh out of the academy, you’ve not played senior football before and you’re thrust into the midst of a relation battle, with a cobbled-together defence (including Pat Kanyucka). You then concede six on your debut, instantly turning the fans against you. What chance did the lad stand? There’s no wonder he withered in the heat, is there?
Drewe Broughton 31 Apps, 0 Goals (386 votes)
Offered without comment.
This is one I know some of you will find fascinating, as in the past I have criticised Drewe. Why shouldn’t he be voted for here? Firstly, he has been open about the mental health struggles he had whilst at the club, which took guts. With him in the team in 2010/11, we won seven in 23, which would have equated to 14 in 46… one more than we got and enough to stay up. He was loaned out for a portion of our relegation season, which is completely beyond his control, and he was signed after a successful loan spell, meaning he impressed Chris Sutton, who knew a decent striker (Somma) when he saw one. Finally, during his first seven-game loan spell, City only lost once, in a game he came off in after 37 minutes with an injury.
Steve Torpey 14 Apps, 0 Goals (230 votes)
When Steve Torpey arrived at Sincil Bank he’d got more than 170 career goals, including stints in what is now the Championship and double figures for Scunthorpe for five consecutive seasons between 2000 and 2005. He scored twice for the Iron in 2006/07 as they won League One, but came to Lincoln looking a shadow of the player we’d loved to hate. He was the wrong man at the wrong time, and it showed. He lasted 14 matches before John Schofield was sacked and Farsley Celtic came knocking.
Firstly, Steve Torpey didn’t cost us a lot of money, and I think his spell with us is judged more on where we were as a team. Sure, he didn’t score in 14 games, but other strikers have had similar spells and not got near the list. He was a veteran when he signed for us, and being a leading man at one of our rivals puts him in a worse light than, say, Adie Mike. Then there’s his age; he was always a veteran when he signed, and therefore expectation shouldn’t have been as high. I also think there’s the air of Lee Angol or John Akinde here; players who we got as a second choice (or third choice), rather than a key target, and therefore measured against the player we should have signed as much as the one we did.
Bob Latchford 15 Apps, 2 Goals (133 votes)
Now we’re talking. The saddest thing is many of those voting on this poll (me included) are too young to remember Latchford, so he’s unlikely to get votes. However, if Cropper, newton or Big John get more than any of the next three players, there’s zero justice in the world. Zero. He won 12 England caps with five goals for his country, scored 106 goals in 236 outings for Everton and played in the 1977 League Cup Final, back when the League Cup was more than a reserve team tournament. He finished as leading scorer for clubs seven times before joining Lincoln (Birmingham twice, Everton four times, NAC Swansea once), and won promotion to the Dutch first division with Breda. Lincoln fans don’t remember him quite as fondly as history does.
Bob Latchford scored a couple of goals for us, but he was a veteran back in the day and in the early eighties that meant something different to now. Sports science wasn’t at its height, so entering your thirties could see a swift decline simply as health and fitness wasn’t such a big focus. He came into the club at a tough time, like Torpey and Broughton too, so is seen as a figurehead for that era, perhaps more than being judged on his own merits.
Tommy Tynan 9 Apps, 1 Goal (170 votes)
There’s no doubt, like Bob Latchford, that if this poll was conducted amongst people who have watched fifty years of Lincoln City, Taxi Tynan would be winning this group hands down. Zero doubt at all. Why? he was our record signing at the time, costing £33,000 from Sheffield Wednesday, where he had 31 goals in 91 outings. £33,000, taking into account inflation around £200,000 today. What did we get for that? Nine games, one goal and a loss of £7,000 in just four months. Later played in the quarter finals of the Cup Winner’s cup and cemented himself as a Plymouth legend, helping them to the FA Cup semi-final and becoming the leading scorer in all of the Football League in 1985.
This is a tough one. We paid a club-record fee for him and ended up losing money when he moved on. However, look at it this way; he arrived as one manager’s signing and then found himself playing under another very quickly. That’s a good reason not to settle, as is the move across the country. Travel links weren’t what they are now, so a lad from the west trying to settle here in Lincoln, in the eighties, might well have struggled. He went on to have a good career with Plymouth and Newport, so there was clearly a good player in there.
Ben Hutchinson 40 Appearances, 4 Goals (483 votes)
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.
Ben Hutchinson is, in my eyes, judged as much on his career before Lincoln as anything. He had cost Celtic £1m (or a fee you’d imagine could have risen to £1m), and he’d impressed against us for the Hoops in pre-season. That set him up as a top player, and he was far from the polished article when he arrived at City. He came into a side in disarray, lost the manager he signed for, and played with more players in a single season than most Imps manage in their entire career.
Adam Buckley 41 Games, 1 Goal (266 votes)
I have three words here. The first two are Grimsby Town. The last one is nepotism.
Was it his fault he followed his Dad everywhere? His Dad tried to help him out, what was he to do, refuse to play? No, of course not. Plus, it’s not like he came for a big fee, is it? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, he was an experiment that didn’t work. The problem for some is his Dad signed him and, of course, it didn’t end well.
Well, that’s your lot. Sadly, you can’t vote for Kevin Hulme, whom I think I would have struggled to play Devil’s Advocate for, so you’re left with this lot. It’s your call, but do bear in mind all of the mitigating factors before casting your vote. Remember, this is important.
Voting closes Friday, 5pm.
Which of these is Lincoln City's worst-ever signing?
- Ben Hutchinson (30%, 175 Votes)
- Adam Buckley (25%, 145 Votes)
- Drewe Broughton (18%, 107 Votes)
- Steve Torpey (11%, 62 Votes)
- Tommy Tynan (7%, 38 Votes)
- Eliot Parish (4%, 24 Votes)
- Bob Latchford (3%, 19 Votes)
- Khano Smith (2%, 13 Votes)
Total Voters: 583