Sam Long Departs Sincil Bank

Credit Graham Burrell

Sam Long has signed for Sky Bet League Two side Bromley on a permanent basis.

Given the fact we’ve signed two new keepers, it is of little surprise. Sam wouldn’t have wanted another season out of the squad, and after his time at Falkirk, he needs to play some games. Joining a League Two side is good for him, as it’s a level of football that should afford him the chances he craves in the English game.

The goalkeeper joined the Imps as scholar at the age of 16 and signed his first professional contract in 2020. He made his debut in the Papa Johns Trophy against Manchester United U21s in August 2021, while his league debut was impressive, coming in a 2-1 win at Plymouth Argyle later that season.

The 21-year-old has also spent time out on loan at Gainsborough Trinity, Drogheda, Boston, Bromley and Falkirk during his time with the Imps but will now depart for Hayes Lane permanently.

Credit Graham Burrell

“Sam is a very talented young man but it is just so difficult to come through as a young goalkeeper and establish yourself as a No.1. As we cannot provide Sam with this pathway, it is only fair to allow him to find that opportunity elsewhere,” said Jez George.

“The fact that we have signed two 23-year-old goalkeepers this summer, who are both on that journey, shows the patience and time required. We retain a future interest in Sam and believe that in time he will have a really successful career. It is just that for him the next steps need to be at a club where first team football is attainable, and we don’t think that is currently at Lincoln City.

“Our club is now in a position where young players can come through our academy and even if they are not successful in establishing themselves in our first team, they can still go and have a career as a professional footballer. Our academy should still take massive pride in producing these players. We wish Sam all the best for his future and we will all continue to be invested in his development.”

I think it is telling that we have captured two big keepers this summer, whereas Michael Appleton was the manager who gave Sam a chance. Sam’s profile is different from that of Lukas, Jordan Wright, and our two new recruits. He’s smaller, sure, but perhaps one who was comfortable playing out from the back rigidly, which was MA’s style.

Credit Graham Burrell

There’s no way we could have offered Sam what he needed with Lukas still at the club, and a move seems sensible. As Jez said, I do think this (along with Elciha and Hayden’s moves) is a win for the academy. I know some (I’m looking at you, Pearson) will consider it a failure, but look at it this way – how many players have we taken who have come through an academy such as Forest (John Finnigan, Jordan Wright and Paul Smith come to mind), without making it at that club? The academy should be producing players who either make it with us, or move on for a fee, or with a future interest for us, to play somewhere other than Brigg, Cleethorpes, Stamford etc.

However we view it, I think it’s fair to wish Sam all the best. i interviewed him once and he was a grounded, focused young man, and I sincerely hope his career goes from strength to strength at Bromley.