My Favourite Imps: Gary Lund

Laid in the bath the other night, as you do, I got to thinking about my favourite Imps of all time. 

These are the players who I have idolised as a kid, admired as an adult, and been entertained by throughout my 38 years following the club. We all have our favourites – the ones who score big goals, who you feel a connection with. For some players, it’s almost a given. Name me one child of the 90s who didn’t rate Gareth Ainsworth as one of their favourites. However, you might be a little harder-pressed to find someone who cites Udo Onwere as one of their favourites, as I do.

This site is great for news, views and reports, but I fear it has lost a little bit of my personal touch of late. I wanted to write stuff personal to me, and hopefully give you a little something to enjoy at the same time. That’s why I’ve decided to start a feature called ‘My Favourite Imps’ where I just pick a player and discuss why I love them. One article might only be a few hundred words; others could be love letters covering multiple sides of (theoretical) A4, 18 pages front and back, pouring out my platonic football love for former Lincoln City players.

I’m not going to stick to an order; it won’t be chronological. It isn’t the one I loved most at the top. It’s just going to be me going over the players who, at one time or another, I’ve said, ‘he’s one of my favourites’. That said, I will start at the beginning, or at least as close to the beginning as I dare: Gary Lund.

When you’re a kid and you go to your very first game, it’s hard to have a favourite player, especially if you lose that game 4-1. There’s not a lot to hook you back in, and I still don’t fully understand what, on that cold October afternoon in 1986, got me hooked. It certainly wasn’t Gary Lund; the striker was as anonymous as his 10 teammates on a horrible afternoon that somehow shaped my life. I did write about him afterwards, though – the week after the game, we went for a tour of the LSG offices, close to where the bus station and new multistorey are now, and we put together our own newspaper. My story? It was about us losing 4-1 and how Lund crashed into the advertising hoardings right in front of me during the game. That day probably started my passion for writing about football, althoguh I recall trying to draw him as well. It’s definitely better to leave the colouring in to Imptoons.

A month or so later, I was back at the Bank, and this is where Lund became my favourite player. He hit a hat trick as we thrashed Swansea City 4-0, and little ginger Gary from Chambers Farm Cottages had a new hero. Lund was possibly my first proper real-life hero. Before that, it was characters like Bananaman, Super Ted and Optimus Prime. Suddenly, a player we signed from Grimsby (I did not know that at the time) who later played top flight for Notts County was my poster hero (again, in theory, there weren’t many posters of Fourth Division footballers out there at the time).

Perhaps the most desperately sad aspect of my admiration for Lund is that I only got to see him play three times. My next game was a 1-0 defeat against Cardiff City, and that concluded the season. Lund, a highly-rated prospect capped by England at Under 21 level, was never going to drop into the Conference, and he left for Notts County, where he remained for the bulk of his career. He was still my first-ever favourite Imp. There wasn’t a whole lot of competition in the season we came down, but even so, it just about makes him my first favourite Imp because my admiration for Mick Harford and Glenn Cockerill came courtesy of them having player for City before I’d been to a game. I’m not sure I can count players I never saw as my favourites!

Lund stayed with County until 1995 and enjoyed two loan spells with Hull. He finished his career at Chesterfield and later became an estate agent; Royston and Lund. In total, he played 49 times for the Imps, scoring 15 goals.