Simmo’s Six Foot Soldiers Earn The Right To Play
Many Imps, will be amused by the storm in a tea cup, that now surrounds our red and white striped heroes. Many more will be refreshed by the fact that Lincoln City will no longer be expected to just turn up and roll over, as our reputation – a wrong one – precedes us. But the fact is Gary Simpson and Grant Brown are playing with the hand they have been dealt, fashioning it into a side that has breathed fresh life into our beloved club. The hard-working fans know it too, rallying in their hundreds to the cause.
The moaning mentality has gone from Sincil Bank. Every Imp on the field and off (fans, players and staff) is as one. Pride in the club and donning the red and white stripes means something again. Manager Gary Simpson, simply Simmo, is a man on a mission, for this is his Holy Grail, motivated by the memories of Keith Alexander and Richard Butcher. Assistant Grant Brown, the record appearance holder for the Imps, also has an unquenchable thirst for success, equally aware of what the club can be. Both took no prisoners as players, both, if cut in half, would read through ‘we are Imps’ like a stick of rock.
Ok, so money is a luxury that Lincoln City will never enjoy, but the spirit and desire seems to more than make up for any shortfalls, as we continue to grind out those all important results. The passionate, more than physical Imps, earn the right to play, backing their mates either side of the touchline. There is an honesty and integrity about this side even though it is certainly more artisan than artiste. Industrial and agricultural will probably be thrown at us next, but then that is the economy hereabouts. Values are forged differently in a unique county that retains its roots despite being bordered by 7 counties. Imp blood in ones veins, suggests Impdom never never shall be slain.
That is not to say this side cannot or do not entertain, with a mix of styles that look to attack at every opportunity. Every challenge is an opportunity to get the ball forward, to force a set-piece that will allow the big men a chance to hurt the opposition in the right way. Let us not forget the little guys, for Power and Jamie Taylor, true Imps as it were at just 5′ 9″, are every bit a part of a side that has suddenly rediscovered what an honour it is to play the people’s game for a living. Lincoln can also play a bit with some good passing and movement on some awful pitches of late. Despite necessity being the mother of invention on those pre-spring pitches, our wins have come from quality goals it has to be said. Braces from Taylor and Diagne ensured beauty tamed the beast in two 3-goal, 3-point hauls. Todd Jordan also got a sublime curling 25-yarder that would have one of Ritzy’s finest dropping her hard earned bag of chips.
Miller, Boyce and Brown have been heroic English oaks beneath the St Georges cross emblazoned on the Lincoln standard. Jake Sheridan too (at 5′ 9″ the young Imp sapling is still growing bless him!), has shown a style and composure that belies his lack of pace and minimum wage factory background. Look on the bright side Jake, at least you do not have rickets like Ernie Whittle did. But like Ernie, perhaps Shez, more than most of these heroes is someone the working class fans from the breadbasket of England can really relate too. His desire to make a living from the game and just keep on going personify a work ethic that is a refreshing change in our modern world. The fans sense that, with the Sincil Bank turnstiles clicking a lot more frequently despite money being hard earned and even harder to come by in this neck of the woods.
“Your fellow sailors come first, last, and always. Never does your individual needs come before those of your wingers and those fighting next to you.”
Thomas Joseph Simpson