Yellow Belly. Yellow Socks: Once more To The Bank Dear Friends
So to Southport FC and the Gary Simpson yellow belly yellow socks homecoming then. Oh how Sincil salivates. Southport the blue and amber Sandgrounders demons, standing before us, three vital points the prize. Impdom stands one point from the drop into the Blue Square North abyss. It is akin to the fan who climbed the flag pole to leaveit flying at half-mast in 1957/58, for one fan (Ashley LCFC Robinson has even opened up a BSP, BSN & BSS site in anticipation on Facebook. But Saviour Simmo, reshuffling the pack like old Bill Anderson did around that old and charred ‘but flickering embers’ stove in the old St Andrews stand just prior to the great escape of 1957/58, has installed a desire to make these Imps stand up like their forebears, over half a decade ago. Then as now they can and did, slay teams with far superior ability and resources. We have 11 games, 33 points to play for and 11 needed.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs, I am there in spirit
Saturday 8th March K.O 3 pm
|Away Fans Prices||Adults £18||Cons £11||U18 £7||Lincolnshire Co Op (Cap 1800)|
Home Fans pricing Here
Make no bones about it, this is a tough ask. Cambridge are no shrinking violets but were thoroughly outfought and out-thought by Liam Watson’s Southport. Aptly nicknamed the Sandgrounders grind you down, coming from a goal down to win 2-1, with a disallowed goal and superiority that flattered United. They act as chameleons who start 5-3-2 but match you man for man all over the pitch before taking the game to you and reverting to their formation and game plan. Pace and an ability to switch from side to side can hurt as much as their set-piece menace. For a part-time side there is an almost European style to the way Poku, plots and weaves, slipping into the hole and putting the cat amongst the pigeons, as the Sandgrounders fly so high all over the pitch with that ‘in your face 5-3-2 counter formation. Their regular goals scorers come from all over the pitch, left back Lever (7), centre-back Grand (7), centre-back Owens (5), centre midfield Ledsham (10), left wing Almond (9) and striker Whalley (10)
But they can be beaten. Despite many suggesting Macc had superior players all over the pitch, shorn of Brown and Diagne, the Imps were in control and deserved a 1-0 half-time lead. Garners own goal, changed things before Barnes-Homer’s winner, yet we were never demoralised and showed a fighting spirit to hang on in there. The game at Woking saw us come back through Vadaine (playing through the pain barrier) against another side who have invested in quality as opposed to the Holdsworth quantity methodology. Four have gone now, so it remains to be seen whether Gary can pull another couple of secret loans from the hat. Last week Diagne was kept quiet even though Brown was somehow leaked by a non-league site despite a media embargo.
Whether Gary gets those signings or not in time for today, he is fighting fires. It is an urgent ‘work in process’ working and rebuilding confidences with players. They have been through it all. Manager changes and loyalty confusion – remember they have applied the training philosophies of Holdworth, Grant and now Gary. A parlous financial position with board rifts and fan rifts to boot. The League position does not help with Woking, Macc and now Southport kicking holes in players that are already psychologically damaged through events, as much off the field as on it. The latter remember is the job they are paid for when you are privileged enough to be there to cheer the mighty Imps on today. Indeed the loss of the small but vociferous Stacey West choir, ahead of a rumoured closure to save rates next year, has also played its part for many defending or attacking the home end goal.
Gary Simpson, you feel, if anyone has the work ethic, mental strength and budgetary understanding to reverse an oil tanker just in time to avoid catastrophe on footballs rocks. He can shield and make people feel 10 feet tall. I was privileged to listen to his pre-match rhetoric at Macc and Parkgate, you believe and want to help even though you will play no part in the game. He is being helped by the top three on the board, who have afforded him funds, even before the four departures. They remember played no part in the Machiavellian activities that long proceeded their arrival at the club that has seen all three put 6 figures of their ‘hard earned’ in with more pledged for next season and beyond in the case of the two vice chairmen. They know this manager is not a destroyer of team spirit but a builder and a set of shoulders who will protect our lads win lose or draw today. Be it 8 points or 11 at five tonight, every game will be a 3 point opportunity and his players know it.
Gary Simpson respects the work ethic, the team has to be a team, even though , as Keith Alexander once said, “you can only have 11 friends come 3 o’clock. When the Mighty Imps kick off this cup final come homecoming this afternoon, respect and a desire to give it their all will be our biggest boost. They will respect the shirt. They will respect your hard-earned cash pledged at the turnstiles. They will know and understand how great this club can be when everyone pitches in together. Eleven games, thirty-three points to play for and eleven needed. We can and will SAVE THE MIGHTY IMPS!