My Favourite Imps: Anthony Scully

Credit Graham Burrell

We’re going a bit more recent for this series, right up to the modern day almost, with Anthony Scully. 

To refresh, this is basically me talking about why some players just became my favourites. It’s not a breakdown of their goals, where they came from and where they went to, but the more human reasons for them being my favourite. Of course, if it is purely because of their ability, then fair enough, but if there’s more to it, then it’s probably a better read for you! Previously, we’ve had Gary Lund and Udo Onwere, so I wanted to make it a bit more relevant for newer fans by picking up a player I still think was brilliant for us; Anthony Scully.

(Courtesy Graham Burrell)

He became my favourite Imp for a while for multiple reasons, but they started when he first signed. He came from West Ham United, and for me, that was enough to cement him as someone I liked without a ball being kicked. The reason is this: I have a real soft spot for West Ham. I don’t know why, but they feel like a club that have a sense of who they are, a connection to their working-class roots. That’s all well and good, but I also have this image of them producing really good footballers. I’m sure it goes back a long way, but one of my earliest football memories in terms of the top flight was buying Shoot magazine with Tony Cottee on the front, moving from West Ham for £2.2m. The article said it was another example of West Ham producing good players, and from then on, it stuck. Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand all come to mind.

When we signed Anthony Henry at the turn of the century, I was convinced he’d be a revelation. The same went for Billy Knott and Taylor Miles, both schooled at West Ham. Around the time we were linked with Sculls, we were also linked with Joe Powell and I stated to anyone who would listen that both would be brilliant for us. I’d sai it about Knott and Miles, but finally, a player proved me right.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I could never work Scully out as a player. He played left wing for us, which often feels like where we put a player who has talent, but we don’t really know how to utilise it (Ted Bishop, anyone). However, he did make an almost immediate impression – he scored on his first start and had two in three when COVID kicked in. It was like instant gratification for me, instant proof that finally, my (slightly weird) obsession with West Ham was bearing fruit.

There’s no doubt Scully was a top player for us. I’m not sure we ever quite got the best out of him – I wonder if he might have suited playing as a ten behind someone like Rheady, or in a tighter three as Mark Kennedy played for a while at the tail end of his tenure. In the end, I decided that whilst I didn’t know his best position, the one thing that was certain was that he had to be on the pitch. That much was true.

Credit Graham Burrell

He scored goals, plenty of them, and he always had an eye for the spectacular, but he became my bona fide favourite player after I interviewed him for the club programme. I’d been asking a few players about who they’d send to the celebrity jungle, and they often said Sculls because they wanted to see how he reacted. In my interview with him, I actually had a laugh – that’s not like me. I build interviews up and can get anxious about them, but chatting to Anthony Scully was like chatting to a mate. Out of the blue, we got talking on Twitter, and it turned out that, as a young kid, he lived on the street behind me in Cambourne. It was during my hiatus from Lincolnshire, and once or twice, we got a ball over the fence. I’d always throw it back, completely oblivious to the fact a future Imps goalscorer was on the receiving end.

It’s odd, but that lifted him from a good player who I admired (which a lot were during the 20/21 season) to one of my favourites. I was upset when he left, although I do think it was the right move for the player and the club. The fact he went for a fee was another factor in placing him on this list – he came here, did well and moved on giving us a profit. He did it by creating a few memories (5-1 at Cambridge, anyone?) and proving me right in being a former West Ham player who brought a bit of that south London skillset to Sincil Bank.

Credit Graham Burrell