Author Archives: savethemightyimps
Lincoln City Supporters Trust is the subject of a legal action from Gold Member Michael Foley, forced to issue a claim for breach of contract following the non-delivery of shares in Lincoln City Football Club.
The statement from O’Neill Patient Solicitors LLP is as follows.
FOLEY ISSUES BREACH OF CONTRACT CLAIM AGAINST LINCOLN CITY SUPPORTERS TRUST
Mr. Michael Foley will today issue a claim for breach of contract against Lincoln City Supporters Society Limited (the Trust). The claim concerns the non-delivery of shares in Lincoln City Football Club (the Club) to which Mr. Foley is entitled as a fully paid-up Gold Member of the Trust.
Solicitors acting for Mr. Foley, a former Associate Director of the Club, have also referred the matter to Lincolnshire police as part of their ongoing investigation into the financial affairs of the Trust.
No further statement will be issued at this time.
Date 6 January 2014
Lincoln City go into massive festive tests against Grimsby Town, Halifax, Grimsby again, and, Luton Town, bruised on the field and financially stricken off it. With a playing budget that pales in comparison to both their peers and the expectation of a continually diminishing fan base, happy Christmas seems far from apt.
Happy Xmas & thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
There will be 1795 Grimsby and probably almost as many Luton fans dancing on the graves of Clanford and Railway enders on Boxing Day and the 4th of January. Both the Mariners and the Hatters will be out-singing us from the home end we shut to allegedly save £15,000 a year. How many points will that cost Lincoln with Grimsby and Luton already the favourites to beat us in our own back yard?
Both have fantastic attacking and, yes entertaining sides that woo their fan bases, whilst Lincoln afford both Gary Simpson, as well as David Holdsworth before him, a budget that is an insult to the loyalty of those passionate Imps who have to pay £18 for the ‘privilege’. The hope and expectation now is limited to keeping a clean sheet and hopefully grabbing a goal. Anyone of value will quickly be sold of course doing little to pave the way for future talent to be brought in.
The film Its a wonderful life has just finished, moving this closed blog to at least flicker and say a few words. The film finishes with star James Stewart opening a book that has been donated along with a huge pile of cash from those who he helped. inscribed in it the words ‘No man is a failure if he has friends’. He had given everything for his friends and townspeople asking for nothing in return except to have faith (know the feeling there). Then when life appeared to turn against him his friends rallied. Lincoln fans must do the same, for it is all about keeping the faith because the good will always triumph in the end. The truth will out and you will see a brighter day, because those who stick by you are worth 10 of those who are only out for themselves.
Scant comfort perhaps, mere maggoty biscuit crumbs for those so starved of hope, thanks to lack of ambition and a Trust that sold the club down the river by gifting a million shares to a holding company that has ‘saved the club’ yet strangely failed to invest new money in the team. The stadium plans have gone quiet, investment in the team was never part of the bargain it appears when the Trust agreed to let those shares go into a holding company that we were told would make investment easier? Now with their feet under the table and controlling interests on the Trust, Holding company and club boards is it any wonder there is no sense of urgency and that the budget is poor? Fact is like every Lincoln board since John Reames, the club itself has to generate the budget on its own, a budget that is perhaps around a third of what the club brings in?
It is hard to tell because as a shareholder who is banned from the club – not even allowed to go to the Trust EGM to discuss their issues that are coming to a head – I can do little to question why the annual accounts of the football club are also late. To question got four of us banned, to seek answers sees hecklers drown out the right of free speech, as has been the way for some time. But if Lincoln fans fan finally unite they might be able to get some answers and reverse the sad slide at Sincil Bank.
The Trust now faces a police investigation as well as court action, so perhaps the truth may at last be uncovered after the caveat of ‘commercial secrecy’ saw them become a secretive organisation. A handy way of ensuring a fan organisation can be seen as a critical friend at the heart of a community club from the outside, yet in reality no one can challenge or find out what part the mysterious committee culture played or still plays.
‘Plays’, that is a word that appears to be coming increasingly second at Lincoln compared to Grimsby, Luton and Halifax. They invest in the team to get the turnstiles clicking with all three seeing upward and positive momentum. At Lincoln the death by a thousand cuts will continue unless those that still care rally together. If you want your trust to die so be it, but those shares will never be yours again. Nor will your football club, stadium or local pride unless you rally.
Happy Christmas Imps and keep the faith, with perhaps even a thanks to the Mariners and Hatters who will swell the coffers. The club needs it because 1400-1800 a week with perhaps eleven hundred season tickets if six-packs are included, is surely going to need a fix sooner rather than later. And remember don’t shoot the messengers because they are becoming as rare as Lincoln City shirts in the City centre. Such a shame, such a shame.
Have a Happy Christmas and a healthy and wealthy new year. That extends to every football fan, be they Imps, Hatters or Shaymen. Fingers crossed that things improve on and off the pitch in the new year for the Imps too.
A massive thanks to our Lincoln City and Skrill Premier readers, but I have decided to throw in the towel. The fact is football writing is just too much hassle and I have an eye and foot injury to contend with. Wordpress will continue to host us and our archives, but after this post like the bubbles and dreams, STMI will fade and die.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
A lot of Lincoln and Conference fans will probably miss us for a while but an independent writer or blog has no chance of protecting itself legally even if you are in the right and can back up your facts. I cannot watch Lincoln games due to a ban that the nameless hecklers find humerus and several copyright infringements from other sites have not helped matters. There are other issues but I do not want to labour what is a courtesy post to our readers. It has to be about the football for that is what makes the turnstiles and my keyboard click.
Thanks, health wealth and good luck to the thousands that travel home and away every week. Oh and apologises for using ‘I’ so much, its bad form and football clubs, managers and players can ill afford that.
Good luck to the Imps against Plymouth on Saturday – remember who dares wins.
STMI urge all Imps to raise the fallen for Plymouth Argyle on Saturday and get them down the Bank – young and old – for what has been and could well be our biggest opportunity on the national stage for some time. Let’s show the world passion is always in fashion in the land of the Mighty Imps.
Saturday 9th Nov 2013 KO 3PM
Did you know you can blood a young Imp into his rightful heritage for a fiver? Mums and dads are just £15 with concessions a tenner for mid Lincolnshire’s big game on Saturday.
And our wall of sound can drown out the Pilgrims who will be packing our former home end. Imagine 4-5,000 Imps getting behind the lads and witnessing a giant killing think Spurs, think Man City, think the Rise Of The Mighty Imps.
How many of them will then be back for the next home game if we win. This is lift off. Its like when Graham Taylor finally turned it around after a shocking start as the Imps kicked on to greatness. Our team need us to believe in them and back them, not grumble about our lot.
Its time to be loud and its time to be proud
Hoist up the Lincoln Flag
Hear the RED IMPS sing
And if you don’t join in I’ll sing on my own
Sing on my own
Don’t wanna go home,
Don’t wanna go ho-o-ome,
Because this is the best I’ve ever been on!
Alfreton Town, Welling United, Tamworth, Woking, Southport FC, Nuneaton Town, Tamworth, Braintree, Dartford FC and Hyde FC are all considered part time. Yet with three training sessions a week they could be labelled as what Lincoln manager Gary Simpson has recently described as part-time in disguise.
Perhaps this is why Lincoln struggles to beat sides who have superior budgets and look to raise their game in order to gain the scalp of a big team. The real issue and reality check for Lincoln fans, is that the club is anything but a big team when it comes to the playing budget. The forecast budget is still less than that enjoyed by David Holdsworth last season, this, despite better than expected season ticket sales, higher admission prices due to the closing of the home end and better average crowds than last season.
After an interminable half decade of misery and decline, the team finds itself mid-table yet we are failing to play the dream football that fans wish to see. At £18 for an adult they do have a point, but the economic reality and real issue is the competition from the 23 other Conference clubs that the Imps are struggling to match. They show ambition, they inspire, while a club with the potential of Lincoln, does anything but shrouded behind non disclosure agreements that frustrate fans and keep them in the dark. Who would like answers on the Stadium, the recent supporter director elections etc etc etc? What about a fans forum and not one that shortens a Trust or club AGM?
But back to money, the route of all evil it would appear. Lincoln and Macclesfield have the lowest full-time budgets in the Skrill Premier League, dwarfed by Luton, Forest Green, Grimsby, Wrexham, Cambridge, Kidderminster and Gateshead. But these disguised part-time sides are also outspending the club thanks to rich benefactors and commercial deals that allow them to punch above their financial weight. While geographically challenged Lincoln cannot afford more than 5 overnight stays, Salisbury identified and funded the 15 they face before a ball was kicked in earnest.
When we look at the performance on the pitch of Alfreton, Salisbury and Welling, they are doing so because they have the ability to fund better loans and can pay wages in excess of ours. Lincoln have an average of £350 per week, but many of our part-time competitors can easily offer far more – sometimes double – our highest earners. Surely everyone realises consistency costs and that you get what you can ultimately pay for on the creative and goals front, which is the lifeblood of the sport.
Alfreton, Welling, Woking and Tamworth all have bigger playing budgets than Lincoln despite our gates. Southport and even Nuneaton are certainly on a par with the Imps, but able to pay money and get loans that are out of our reach. Only Hyde, Braintree, Dartford and Macclesfield have an inferior budget to Lincoln, but their geography is less challenging when it comes to attracting talent.
We cannot really do anything about it any more either, the dye is cast. The Trust historically appear in fans eyes to be anything but a critical friend, despite the two long-term gold member and supporter director reigns on the board of the club. The 1 million shares have gone to the Holding Company and even the current supporter Director is now a business partner of one of the board members on the Holding company, suggesting a cosy closed shot relationship remains. All we can do is keep faith it appears and be thankful the club is still in business even if it had to give away the fans crown jewels to sustain itself without any long-term guarantees. Not that we had a vote on it of course - this at of all clubs, the one Supporters direct once saw as the model community club.
Please note we have omitted the actual figures for each club for legal reasons, alas, as our regular readers are aware, STMI does not have the legal backing to publish the full truth as bigger publications would.
Grimsby Town V Scunthorpe United and Lincoln City V Plymouth Argyle are massive games in the FA Cup, this weekend, but while our Lincolnshire rivals are set to enjoy a sell out The Imps have not even cranked up the hype and marketing with just 4 days to go before the game that will even see our foe given the traditional home end at Sincil Bank.
Grimsby have just 997 tickets left in the home sections while Scunthorpe fans are eager to show their metal in the Fisheries. The three home sections at Blundell Park hold 7158 fans and, if the maths are to be believed, that suggests 6161 tickets have been sold to Mariners. The Iron season ticket holders snapped up 650 Osmond Stand seats, with an additional 300 members enjoying a chance to get a ticket before the remaining tickets go on general sale on Wednesday. The Mariners offer away allocation chunks of 600, 1100 or a full stand of 2200 to large opposition followings. With four days to go the 7100 sold looks set to rise to between 8,500 and the reduced capacity of 9338.
Sleepy Sincil Bank, meanwhile, appears to be missing an absolutely massive opportunity to boost the manager’s budget. After a 1-0 defeat to Welling and a poor run of form the club has gone into its shell before a game that should have Imps turning up in their thousands. One of the best supported sides in the division is dwindling due to a slide in results and the usual lack of inspired leadership on and off the pitch once again. With £15 tickets, a bargain, The Pilgrims should bring 700-1,000 to boost a gate that has recovered to 2700 in the last couple of games, suggesting 4,000 should be a realistic target to aim for althouth anything above 3,000 looks to be an acceptable result. The initial allocation of 550 to Plymouth will hopefully be boosted by pay on the day to see a bigger gate than the 1345 that turned up last Tuesday.
Long gone are the days when they opened up the gates and the working classes trooped through the gates, modern football marketing knows haow to tap into the fans psyche again and again. Look at Grimsby, despite the failures, despite the losses their club inspire them again and again. Yet, as of Monday night, no proclamations on either the official site or via the normally friendly media partners of the club. Is it any wonder the fans are side-tracked by the usual in-fighting over the latest under-performance on the pitch? Instead of getting behind our potential giant killers to get the local pride and cup fever going lack of ambition and being reserved Lincoln has taken over as usual.
There should be 4-5,000 Imps there Saturday, but to do that we need to bang the drum and play the local pride card. Instead it looks as if we will look even poorer relations to our local Lincolnshire rivals. As soon as the whistle blew last Tuesday night everyone should have followed this sites lead by bigging up the game. Yes even in spite of the fact that we all half expected part-time Welling would continue to raise their game in from of a 746 crowd. Anything can happen in a cup game against a side 18th in League 2 struggling to get strikers in – 3 loan forwards have turned Sheridan down – but instead no one at the top is beating the drum or reassuring the fans that progress is still being made.
This means the economic reality at Lincoln is threatening to kill the optimism and resurgence that inspired us to begin to dream again after 5 years that have nearly killed us. Yes the team has stumbled and had some bad luck, but togetherness and daring to dream is all you have got when you can only pay an average of £350 a week. No wonder the players need that top 8 bonus, but they also need backing and their cause to be championed if they are to succeed. Cup fever and a big pay-day Saturday will help, but at the time of writing it looks to be passing us by. Win Saturday in front of 5,000 and we could be looking at £50,000.
Former Lincoln City and Mansfield Town manager David Holdsworth may want to give his brother Dean (who got Aldershot Town relegated) and his nephew a helping hand after both left Chelmsford City today. That is of course if he has time as he has been a very busy lad in the transfer market…….
Vic Erzantarz gets the abacus out
The Clarets lost 6-0 to Boreham Wood in the Conference South on Saturday and have now lost 8 of their last 11 games. City sit 17th in the table after just four wins from thirteen this term. Dean, with a massively redused budget it must be said, agreed to stand down after just five months in charge – this off the back of almost getting Aldershot relegated although Andy Scott got the honour – with assistant Kenny Brown put in caretaker charge of the side. Holdsworth’s son Jordan, a striker, has also left the club.
David meanwhile is getting busy at his Goole gig, with three new faces on Friday alone. Midfielder Anton Fosterjoins from Matlock, striker Ryan Williams joins from Guiseley AFC on dual registration and defender Jack Freeman from AFC Darwen in the North West Counties League. Goole beat Chasetown 3-1 on Saturday to move to 14th as Holdsworth and Chairman Baron’s brave new dawn continues.
The previous week was even busier with 6 out and 4 in as David Holdsworth looked to ring the changes. The released half dozen were George Wysocki, Brice Tiani, Regis Kimba-Mavambu, Chris Ovington, Matt Semley and Nick Guest. The arrivals were former Scunthorpe United, forward Reece Richiardi, former Crystal Palace forward William Johnson-Cole, former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder James Cottingham from Worksop Town (waiting on the registration) and former Notts County and Mansfield Town winger Danny Bisungu who is awaiting international clearance.
Gary Simpson’s plans to get a striker in on loan seem to be facing the same obstacle as his plans to get Leicester City hot-shot Adi Yussuf some valuable match time, with both the FA Cup and FA trophy playing a massive part in proceedings.
Simmo has been sniffing around Leicester City, Derby Co, Bury (he already has Marlon Jackson) the South Yorkshire clubs plus some North-West big names in search of a big target man and a wide midfielder as he waits for Yussuf, Fairhurst and Wright to rediscover their undoubted talents. But timing looks to be against him in the immediate term. Loan clubs from higher Divisions in the Football League do not come into the Competition until November and December and there is also the small matter of the FA trophy that has ruled out a loan move for Yussuf in the other direction. Yussuf’s name has been mentioned on the Gainsborough grapevine but the manager has already stated that he will want him to play at least four games as well as continuing to train with the Imps on a daily basis.
With specific regard to inbound players, the loan budget has very little in it, although the prize money from the previous round of the Cup has given the manager enough for additional reinforcements. However with loans normally running for a month or two the club can ill-afford to be paying a contribution to a Football League players wages with two Trophy and Two FA Cup weekends, possibly dropping to one apiece should Lincoln be eliminated.
The postponement of the Gateshead game, thanks to their cup progression, was a case in point, although the Imps won their replay over Worcester and now entertain Plymouth, who will further add to the loan budget win lose or draw. Therefore far from being ‘caught in the headlights’ as many people are suggesting, the manager appears, perhaps he is keeping his powder dry in order to best use and indeed maximise the funds at his disposal? Simmo has good contacts in South Yorkshire and the North-West and will doubtless make a move next month when the pitches have changed and players are available ahead of the winter transfer window. Clubs tend to offer some amazing loan opportunities in December, at very reasonable wage contributions, if they can get them off the payroll for good in the January.
Plymouth Argyle centre-half Guy Branston’s Northampton Town booking means he will not get the opportunity to renew acquaintances with the Lincoln City faithful after all. It could also force a change to a formation that has seen Plymouth improve their fortunes with some hard-fought but narrow victories thanks to successive clean sheets in the last few weeks.
Thankyou for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Guy Branston received his fifth caution of the season after a 74th minute foul on Cobblers winger Chris Hackett to rule him out with a one match ban. This is good news for the Imps as John Sheridan’s side have enjoyed an upturn in form since switching to three centre backs and an attack minded 3-5-2 formation that has kept 3 successive clean sheets in the five games played. The formation began at Portsmouth with a 1-1 draw, the Pilgrims then lost 0-1 at Hartlepool, before a stalemate at Newport and back-to-back 1-0 wins over Mansfield and Northampton.
Guy, who spent six games on loan at the Imps in 1999, has made 27 moves, 14 of them loans, in his 16 years as a no-nonsense centre-back. He has a take no prisoners image, boosted by his shaven skull, but, that could not be further from the genuine man he is off the pitch. He has recently had a baby and is a doting dad, who helped Richard Butcher in his career as their paths crossed at Rushden, Oldham, Peterborough and Notts County as team-mates.
|Full name||Guy Peter Bromley Branston
|Date of birth||9 January 1979 (age 34)
|Place of birth||Leicester|
|Height/Weight||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)/12st 2lb (77.1kg)
|Playing position||Centre back|
|Current gig in the game|
|Current club||Plymouth Argyle|
|1997||Rushden & Diamonds (loan)||31||(1)|
|1998||Colchester United (loan)||12||(1)|
|1998||Colchester United (loan)||1||(0)|
|1998–1999||Plymouth Argyle (loan)||7||(2)|
|1999||Rushden & Diamonds (loan)||0||(0)|
|1999||Lincoln City (loan)||6||(0)|
|1999||Rotherham United (loan)||7||(2)|
|2003||Wycombe Wanderers (loan)||11||(1)|
|2004||Peterborough United (loan)||14||(0)|
|2004–2005||Peterborough United (loan)||4||(1)|
|2007||Northampton Town (loan)||4||(0)|
|2010||Torquay United (loan)||16||(0)|
|2011||Rotherham United (loan)||4||(0)|
|2012||Bristol Rovers (loan)||4||(1)|
Mo Fofana has understandably suffered a lapse in form but the pressure is mounting on the lad to deliver with fans cries for him to start probably doing him more harm than good.
Vic Erzantarz chews the cud
Mo, a native French speaker, earned a one year extension after some bright performances in a hit and miss first season for both his good self and the Imps last term. He deserved a new deal, possibly more as a versatile defensive squad player, but, with so many other midfielders in the side the work horse was going to have to be at his best in order to get a regular starting place as a centre-half, right-back or defensive midfielder. Mo has therefore not been cast aside and recently got an opportunity against Gainsborough, however his confidence and display on the night showed that he is currently a shadow of what he can be when he is at the top of his game. At this level players cannot be expected to show the consistency of the pros plying their trade further up the pyramid. If they could Lincoln would be counting the luca and wishing them well for the future.
Ratings (last 10 games)
Fofana’s early season form was a credit to his desire and tenacious tackling but his right foot bias and inexperience puts him behind two-footed or left-footed players when it comes to playing to the left of Nolan. Foster was certainly far from his best on Saturday, but he was replacing Nolan with Todd Jordan to his left. Jordan is two-footed but he is much stronger on his left peg and has played well. In a crowded midfield moving the ball from your left to right foot allows your opponent to rob you as well as making it easier to beat you when going past with the ball at his feet.
It is a frustration for fans, but to rush Mo back into a slot that will further erode his confidence would be the wrong move at the moment. With the side struggling for consistency it will also add pressure to our 25 year old hero and maybe even further add to what has seen him suffer the lapse in form that the team are also trying to overcome. Todd Jordan meanwhile was a stand-out performer against Worcester laying on a brilliant ball for Tomlinson to head home to ease the tension and set-up the plum Plymouth tie. He has made the step up from the NPL and is going from strength to strength yet become a target for a small section of fans, despite some brave performances of his own and a hernia condition to boot.
|FULL NAME||Mamadou Fofana|
|DATE OF BIRTH||7 January 1988 (age 25)|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Sarcelles, France|
|HEIGHT||6 ft 1 in (1.81 m)|
|WEIGHT||12st 4lbs (78.2kg)|
|POSITION: CD / DM / CM|
|CURRENT CLUB||Lincoln City / 1 year deal|