Monthly Archives: May 2013

Imps & 8 BSP Clubs Receive £11,313 Boost

BSP rivals Hereford United, Luton Town, Lincoln City, Alfreton, Wrexham, Macclesfield Town, Nuneaton, Kidderminster Harriers, Forest Green Rovers and Braintree Town will all receive £11,313 thanks to qualifying for last years first round of the FA Cup. This is another great, often hidden, example of what the FA give back to non-league clubs.

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png

Simmo will receive the boost to his war-chest after the FA announced that the 32 non-league clubs who played in the FA Cup first round last season will each get the five-figure bonus, thanks to the FA Cup pool. This is based on a 5% cut from any replays from Round 3 onwards. Last year Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all featured in lucrative replays, resulting in a record payout.

The 32 clubs are as follows:-

Cambridge City, Boreham Wood, Alfreton, Wrexham, Harrogate, Macclesfield, Stockport, Met Police, Slough, Luton, Nuneaton, Lincoln, Kidderminster, Guiseley, Barrow, Forest Green, Bromley, Bradford PA, Arlesey, Yate, Chelmsford, Ebbsfleet, Bishop’s Stortford, Hastings, Hendon, Fylde, Dorchester, Hereford, Altrincham, Gloucester, Mansfield, Braintree.

Imps Wont Let Striker Go Cheap

With Crewe Alexandra now in a tug of war with Crawley Town for Aldershot FC striker Danny Hylton, manager Steve Davis, backed by strong season ticket sales, appears to be keen to lay out a small fee for a 6′ 3″ striker. Many feel this to be unsettled Lincoln City striker Vadaine Oliver. In football finances the term ‘small’ is relative but , to the Imps, a fair return could make a massive difference.  Tribunals also seem to be favouring non-League clubs in tussles with League ones, over the last few years.

thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

Lincoln City F.C. badge.pngCrewe Alexandra crest

It is fair to say Vadaine, 22 in October, has been touted everywhere by his agent and co. Of the three Imps yet to sign (Andrew Boyce, Miller and his good self) he is the one you feel is set to leave.  But a small fee is not on the cards. The Imps have taken the player from obscurity, rebuilt his confidence and will have a very strong case at a tribunal. As the player is under 24 we are guaranteed a fee  for him, one that we deserve and, for that matter desperately need. Crewe, who have one of the most profitable youth set-ups in the football League, should be more  aware of that than most. Aside from full Academy status and good funding they have argued the youth case well raising millions in transfer fees and add-ons (the clauses ensured they profited well out of  David Platt’s £20 million in fees). The Railwaymen have also seen 75 players go on to play for the first team before being sold on, so clearly their Academy is a vital artery for the clubs continued prosperity.

Not so the Imps, with Mr Moyses putting his money where his mouth is, unlike many of our directors, as our centre of excellence endures a hand-to-mouth existence.  With an additional 5-6 players required to complement the first-team squad, the budget is a tight one, even if season ticket sales and directors undertakings have seen it grow (3 sources suggest the £400,000 budget is now closer to £450,000). But with Hawkridge under contract, plus another target likely to require a small fee, a tribunal is likely to favour the Imps. We do not get the youth subsidies enjoyed by League sides, something tribunals are mindful of.  The chances are that we would not only get a decent fee, but also some add-ons and a slice of any future sell-on.

Vadaine’s long-term career would be better served by signing for a club who will play him every week.  Just ask Tyrone Barnett who waited before going to Posh for £1.1 million. Tyrone is just one of many confirming both, that our manager has a pedigree for developing young players and, that he has never stood in anyone’s way.  The reality is that we are always going to be a selling club, but one that deserves the right to emulate Dario’s Crewe Youth vision. To do that we need a return for enduring the ups and downs on the way to seeing the glimpses one would expect as a player begins to blossom. Surely the Imps are entitled to see a bit of the Spring before a predatory club comes in and enjoys the sunshine?

Vadaine is certainly about to blossom as the stats below confirm. Surely Gary and the Imps deserve him until January at least or anywhere between £50k and 100k down payment plus add-ons.  That is hardly a small fee is it?

Vadaine Oliver’s 2012/13 Impstats

Sq No NAME Starts Sub Mins Goals Shots Assists Fouls Fouled YC RC
14 Vadaine Oliver 22 19 2326 13 81 3 48 38 5 1

scores every 176 minutes.

File:Lincoln City F.C. badge.pngSTMI Biopic

FULL NAME Vadaine Oliver
DATE OF BIRTH 21 October 1991 (age 21)
PLACE OF BIRTH Sheffield
HEIGHT 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
WEIGHT 12 st 4 lb (78 KG)
Playing Position Centre forward
CURRENT CLUB Lincoln City 
NUMBER 14
YOUTH CAREER
2004-2008 Sheffield Wednesday
CAREER STATS
2010-2012 Sheffield Wednesday – 0 apps
2013-date Lincoln City 37 Apps 13 goals

Millers Making His Mind Up Then?

Tom Miller does not appear to be going to Wycombe Wanderers FC  after all. The former Norwich City, Rangers and Newport County midfielder come defender has been pivotal in the Imps battle to beat the drop.   By his own admission he enjoyed the run-in last season and the Bank brave-heart’s award for away player of the season 2012/13, was richly deserved. Thankfully a lack of any official bids does seem to suggest that he will join close pal, Andrew Boyce, in signing a new two year deal at the Imps after the completion of he and the manager’s holidays.  That will be fantastic news for Imps scurrying to purchase discounted season tickets.

Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

Tom is a hero and together with Andrew and Nat Brown, the Imps look set for a terrific season next term. A utility defender/midfielder with a throw like a javelin, Tom epitomise the none-shall-pass, never say die, attitude of the Sincil Six-foot Soldiers along with Boycey. These two throw life and limb on the line for the whole 90 minutes, week in week out.  So does Dan Gray and Brownie, suggesting our back-four are Sincil Bank brave-hearts,  dependable Dogs of War home and away.

Come on Tom, you are our heartbeat, sign and be the inspiration for the Rise of The Imps.

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png

Tom Miller’s  Imp stats 2012/13
No 20 Comp Starts Sub Goals Assists Shots Fouls Fouled Mins YC RC
Centre half BSP 37 0 1 2 13 38 32 3330 9 0

 

Tom Miller’s  Imp stats 2011/12
No 35 Comp Starts Sub Goals Assists Shots Fouls Fouled Mins YC RC
Centre half BSP 8 0 1 2 3 11 6 720 2 0

Badge of Newport County

Tom Miller’s Exiles stats 2011/12
Comp Starts Sub Goals Assists Shots Fouls Fouled Mins YC RC
Centre half BSP 20 4 0 0 14 21 21 1565 6 0
FULL NAME Thomas William Miller
DATE OF BIRTH 29 June 1990 (age 21)
PLACE OF BIRTH Ely,
HEIGHT 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
WEIGHT 11 st 8 lb 75.54 KG
PLAYING POSITION DEFENDER / MIDFIELDER
CURRENT CLUB Lincoln City
NUMBER TBA
YOUTH CAREER
2004-2008 Norwich
CAREER STATS
2011-2013 Lincoln C……………………45/2
2011-2012 Newport ……………………24/0
2001–2005 Dundalk …………………….0/0
 

Leeds United, Forest & Hull City vie for ALF.

Leeds United and Nottingham Forest look set for a three-way transfer tussle along with Hull City over Reading FC striker Adam Le Fondre (formerly of  Rotherham United, Rochdale FC and Stockport County). ALF  will surely plunder plenty more in the Championship, after a scoring for fun in the Football League with the Millers, The Dale and the Hatters, his home-town club.  United and Forest are favourites to go up next season and, even though Reading are in no rush to sell, they will surely accept a handsome return on their £350,000 investment, should a bidding war take place.

Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.

emblemNottingham Forest logo.svgReading FC.svgHull City badge

Glenville Adam James le Fondre, aka ALF, has proved to be a goal machine at every level he has played at, poaching 146 goals from 360 games in all competitions. These are the kind of stats that are interesting more than just Billy Davies and Brian McDermott, managing two of the favourites to go up next season, with newly promoted Hull City also sniffing around.  ALF got 14 last season in all competitions and was signed by Mr McDermott along with Matt Mills, now at Bolton, who is another target. McDermott knows the Royals inside out, after being unjustly sacked last February, so he will be doubly keen to plunder the side he built.

Le Fondre is the diminutive fox in the box.  He started just 14 games last term, coming from the bench in the other 23 games, but still managed to notch 12 Premiership and 2 FA Cup goals. He got 4 braces, against Everton, Crawley, Newcastle and Chelsea, the latter two coming as a 69th and 65th minute substitute respectively. In 2011/12 he bagged 4 goals in 5 for the Millers, scored on his Reading debut against Doncaster (again as a sub), before finishing on 16 for the season from 22 starts (15 sub).  ALF destroyed League 2 with 27 goals for the Millers in 2010/11 and 30 in 2009/10. The season before saw 20 for Rochdale, with 16 the season before that.

As an Imp fan, he was a killer, a constant thorn in our side, yet beyond our reach on a four figure a week wage. He had the tricks of the trade alright, but his first touch, poaching instincts and ability to take it in his stride, or get a clean shot off, was obvious. An all-round awesome predator, he nearly always scored against us, ALF looked destined to play higher and, despite not being the fastest or strongest of adversaries, he has already attracted £200,000 in officially undisclosed transfer fees courtesy of the Dale and The Millers. He can lay on a goal or two but a true striker has to have a selfishness, it makes them what they are, goals after all are the stock-in-trade. It was of no surprise to see him instantly click despite a two league jump, when the Millers sold him to Reading.

The chances are he will finally net the 7 figure fee his talent deserves. But this is a small price to pay for someone, who, if he starts every game as he should, has the pedigree to get the 20 odd-goals that would prove to be the Edge for Leeds or Forest. Then of course there is the not to small a matter of the mega money the Premiership will guarantee.

Le Fondre, Adam (cropped).jpg
Thanks for the pic WIKI!
Personal information
Full name Glenville Adam James le Fondre
Date of birth 2 December 1986 (age 26)
Place of birth Stockport,
Height/Weight 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in) 73 kg (11st 6lb)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Reading
Number 9
Youth career
1998–2004 Stockport County
Senior Stats
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2007 Stockport County 73 (20)
2007 Rochdale (loan) 7 (4)
2007–2009 Rochdale 105 (38)
2009–2011 Rotherham United 105 (58)
2011–2013 Reading 70 (26)
Stats inc League & Cups & play-offs

The Boyce Choice

Andrew Boyce has naturally played the waiting game with the Imps, although the gossip suggesting Chesterfield FC, Scunthorpe United, Luton Town or Mansfield Town might come in for him, appears, thankfully from an Imp perspective, to have turned to dust. Top Hatter John Still scuppered any link and Cox, still looking at a centre back after the surprise Exodus exit, like any other manager, has failed to formalise any tentative enquiry.

Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.

Boyce, almost let the Imp out of the Cathedral, in today’s Echo, when he commented on concerns at the duration of the contract on offer. The Imps want a two year deal, but at 23 years old, 24 in November, should he, as desired get a shorter one year deal,  Mr Boyce would be a free agent with no fee payable. This would mean we would get a nil return on our investment, namely a 10k fee to Trinity last year, as well as the time the management team will put into moulding the lad during the course of next season. One where he and we look likely to go from strength to strength.

Mr Boyce should have no fears, for even if he signs a two year deal, City, will not want to stand in his way, beyond trying to get a fee, albeit via tribunal, that we so desperately need. Of course the higher the fee, the greater the impact on a signing on fee and subsequent weekly wage, for both the agent and the player. But if Boyce maintains his progress, he will be playing far higher than the BSP or League two this time next year.

Andrew Boyce is an Imp hero, a talisman, who has really started to make progress. Having seen him next to Waterfall at Trinity, the bravery was never in doubt but the brawn was certainly a worry. To his credit, he has curbed those elbows well, improved his positional sense and timing, yet he still needs experience if he is to see his professional dream come true.  That was dashed at Doncaster, Kings Lynn went under as turbulence and uncertainty threatened to end his chances in the full-time game. He will get consistency and assurance under Simmo and Grant, at a club that will give him guaranteed minutes on the pitch, something other sides may not.

STMI christened Boycie the Beast of The Bank when he arrived. But he is now more than that. Already a hero, his never say die attitude will blossom next to Nat Brown, who can back him, or Tom Miller, up, when they dive in too early. Give it another half season, or so,to round off those rough edges and Boyce may well be plying his trade in League 1 sooner rather than later.  There are a few sides in that League knocking on the Championship door, where the TV money is a very healthy cushion indeed.  Then again, perhaps Peter Swann, who reluctantly had to let him go, may just have to do business with the Imps one more time at least.

STMI Biopic

Sq No NAME Starts Sub Mins Goals Shots Assists Fouls Fouled YC RC
5 Andrew Boyce 45 0 3999 4 44 2 49 37 10 0
Boyce’s Backissues  
Date of Birth 05/11/1989 (age 23)
Height 6′ 3″
Weight 12st 9lbs
Youth career Doncaster Rovers
Former Clubs Kings Lynn Gainsborough

Holdsworth Signs An Imp

After being all set to join Boston United, former Southend United, Arsenal FA Youth Cup winner, Barnet FC and Lincoln City left sided genius and kebab king, Nicky Nicolau, has been signed by David Holdsworth’s brother Dean, for Chelmsford City.

Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs 

Despite wanting to stay at the Imps, even offering to accept less money, 29-year-old Nicky was released at the end of the season. Nicky was in and out of the side in both his seasons in Impdom but he put in some pretty impressive cameos, supplying and scoring goals.  In just 18 starts and 9 substitute appearances, he scored 4 goals and set up 3 more. His set-piece delivery is first-rate, although his pace and defensive qualities do beg the question as to why he is employed predominantly at full-back or on the left flank.

Nicky is never going to set the world alight, but he is a versatile and hard-working player. Having won the FA Youth Cup in 2001 he was given a 3 year deal at the Gunners but failed to make the grade. Southend pounced but the Championship/ L1 also seemed a step too far.   Barnet however gave him a run in the side where he appeared 95 times in league & Cup before dropping into non-league with Woking (in BSP next season).

Good luck Nicky and thanks for a few quality memories.

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png

Nicky’s Imp stats 2012/13
No17 Comp Starts Sub Goals Assists Shots Fouls Fouled Mins YC RC
Lincoln City Conf 18 9 4 3 36 11 9 1584 3 0
 Lincoln City F.C. badge.png
Nicky’s Imp stats 2011/12
No17 Comp Starts Sub Goals Assists Shots Fouls Fouled Mins YC RC
Lincoln City Conf 16 5 0 2 13 10 13 1222 0 0
 Lincoln City F.C. badge.png
STMI Biopic
FULL NAME Nicky George Nicolau
DATE OF BIRTH 12 October 1983 (age 29)
PLACE OF BIRTH Camden Town, London
HEIGHT 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
WEIGHT 10st 8lbs (67.19kg)
POSITION: LEFT BACK / LEFT MIDFIELD
CURRENT CLUB Lincoln City
NUMBER 17
SENIOR STATS
YEARS Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2004 Arsenal 0 (0)
2004 Southend United (loan) 9 (0)
2004–2005 Southend United 25 (1)
2005–2006 Swindon Town 6 (0)
2006 Hereford United (loan) 10 (1)
2006–2009 Barnet 95 (4)
2009–2010 Woking 21 (1)
2010 Dover Athletic 11 (1)
2010–2011 Boreham Wood 15 (3)
2011–2013 Lincoln City 48 (0)

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Nottingham Forest & Mansfield Look Good to Make NG Postcode Fashionable.

Nottingham Forest and Mansfield Town appear to be gearing up to put their county and East Midlands football back on the map if the early signs are anything to go by. The Stags target is to get into the championship over the next 2-3 years whilst Forest finally look to have shaken off the debt hurdle that has held back a club that were once the neutrals favourite underdogs.  Both sides have great managers, Cox stayed calm and kept the faith, as the Stags came good last season, after many of us had written his managerial obituary.

Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.

Nottingham Forest logo.svgLogo

Billy Davies is a canny chap, driven perhaps by the motto ‘third time lucky’, who can deliver a return to the Premiership.  He deserved better than that cruel contract termination in June 2011 after taking Forest to the play-offs twice. McClaren, his replacement, got nowhere near him, ensuring, now deceased Chairman Nigel Doughty, failed to get a just return on the reported £100,000,000 he ploughed in before his death. In July 2012 the Al-Hasawi family, from Kuwait, purchased the club but, Sean O’Driscoll and then 40 day wonder Alex McLeish failed to deliver.  Frank Clark and others were also dismissed as the shambles continued.

Enter Billy Davies,  just 20 months after his exit, who duly guided Forest to 8th after 11 games without defeat. Armed with a decent war chest you can bet he will deliver this season, building on a side that had already started to click. Leeds will take some stopping but Forest are the dark horse bet to go straight up (third favourites at 9-1).  Expect a  move for free agent Eric Lichaj (ex-Villa left sided player) and a double swoop for Adam Le Fondre and Billy Sharp to get the goals. Davies will have to wait for a decision on Billy Sharpe, with the striker not set for talks over his Southampton future until June 10th. but Reading do look set to cash in on Adam Le Fondre after relegation despite rebuffing Forest’s biggest bookies rivals for the crown, Leeds United.  Rob Hulse (released by QPR) is also doing the rounds, but Davies is a patient calculating chap. He will have plenty more irons in the fire to ensure he finishes his quest.

The Stags, will fancy their chances after going up as Conference Champions, following in a long line of clubs who have achieved back-to-back promotions. Out went Paul Bolland, Jamie Hand, Shane Redmond, Gary Roberts, Jamie Tolley, Andy Owens, Exodus Geohaghon and Nick Wright, whilst Chris Clements, Colin Daniel, James Jennings, Adam Murray, George Pilkington, Godfrey Poku and Jake Speight are all under contract.  Ross Dyer, Ritchie Sutton, Matt Rhead, Lee Stevenson and Lindon Meikle, Lee Beevers and Anthony Howell have all signed new deals too, although Luke Jones has decided to try his luck at Stevenage.

There have been three new faces so far, defender Paul Back (Oldham & Tranmere) has joined along with central midfielders Keiran Murtagh (Macc Town) and Jamie McGuire (Fleetwood). Cox is still looking for half a dozen new faces, but the clubs ambition may change the mind of want away striker Matt Green. He was quality again last year, but the trial with Birmingham City has come to nothing and the Huddersfield rumour has been quashed.  Keep him then add another winger, central defender and striker, then the Stags look good to go straight up.

Will Hatters Get BSP Reprieve As Aldershot Overshoot CVA

Stockport County could get a Conference reprieve after Aldershot FCs Administrator admitted they will miss the BSP June 1st deadline for solvency compliance. Aldershot also had to reform in 1992 and make their way back up the pyramid.

The Conference drive a hard bargain when it comes to insolvency and will insist on demotion.  Although the Aldershot supporters Trust (let us hope they have more about them than our lot) are still attempting to rescue the club things are certainly looking pretty dire. The players have now not been paid since April and the Administrators have gone awfully quiet on mystery new investors. The fact that players have been made redundant is farcical given they will have to be replaced by people in the same positions should the Shots raise a squad for next season.

This would be fantastic news for Stockport County, who have had a terrible run of luck of late.  A club with such fantastic support could do with a bonus after two relegations. They have also lost some great players, some of whom will be playing for the Imps next season.

Oliver Twist

With Lincoln City manager, Gary Simpson, off on a much needed break, Vadaine Oliver and his agent  are unlikely to make a decision on his future sooner rather than later.  The former Sheffield Wednesday hot-shot bagged 13 goals in 41 appearances including a powerful hat-trick at Hyde on the last day of the season, but in true Dickensian style, young Oliver appears to want more.

Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png     Badge of Sheffield Wednesday

Vadaine, is in two minds. Simmo and the Imps have, without a doubt, improved the player, restoring confidence after Sheffield Wednesday released a player many thought deserved a season or two to prove himself.  He will blossom further with the quality service of Newton down the flank, as well as Rowe and Nolan from behind. He and Fairhurst would form a formidable partnership in the BSP that would spearhead what looks to be a promotion chasing side.

With Luton cutting their cloth and, Aldershot and Barnet dropping down, the play-offs are very much achievable for Simmo’s Six-Foot Sincil Soldiers next season. The season ticket sales (750 plus and climbing) back up the sense of belief at the Bank, as Impdom polishes its hooves, sharpens its horns and fills those big red hearts with pride.

Naturally ambition and money will play a part in matters. Clearly from the player’s perspective it will be hard to compete with a League club, although the SPL appears to have gone cold with Inverness and Motherwell yet to make a move. Then again his wages and signing on fee will be reduced after the manager slapped a reputed six-figure valuation on the lad. Whether a tribunal would grant that or a down payment and add-ons is another matter, but the lad will give the managerial war chest a sizeable boost.

Simmo has yet to complete his squad, with Vadaine a being a huge piece in the jigsaw either way.  Should he leave, the funds would allow us to get better than, former target, Brodie, who joined Gateshead over the weekend.  However should he stay the clubs clamouring for his signature, in January or the summer, would be better news for the club and the player. He will be at least 10 goals in by then and guarranteed a starting spot at a League 1 club. If he moves now that fragile confidence could see a lad, who wants to play,  warming the bench somewhere on higher money,  but giving 10% away and wondering what if?

There are plenty of strikers that Vadaine Oliver can call who will assure him of the positive benefits that a year or so under Simmo can bring. He will never stand in someone’s way and breeds a philosophy that is good for the game. Follow your heart Vadaine, you are valued and loved at Lincoln, we know your time in Impdom will ensure you get more on every level. But the decisions is yours. Sincil Salivates ahead of the next Oliver Twist.

Vadaine Oliver’s 2012/13 Impstats

Sq No NAME Starts Sub Mins Goals Shots Assists Fouls Fouled YC RC
14 Vadaine Oliver 22 19 2326 13 81 3 48 38 5 1

Will Blades Move for Neil Warnock, Tony Pulis Or A McCall Clone..

Former Leeds United manager Neil Warnock could be a late contender for the Sheffield United job after Former Bradford City and current Motherwell FC manager Stuart McCall turned down the post. Short of Stoke City manager Tony Pulis getting the job, Stuart was the man who could put Sheffield United back into the Championship and beyond.  Finances, must have played a part, but he was far worse off at Bradford, who were potless during his 2007-10 stint.

Sheffield United logo

This job needs someone who fight, not just to survive the bearpit, but because the rightful rejuvenation of this club is a just cause.  Mr Warnock, like Mr McCall, still has Steel running through his veins. At Motherwell, also known as the Steelmen, Stuart has won 3 manager of the months as well as this season’s SPL manager of the season.  He also took Well to the 2011 SFA cup final, so this was a decision he took with a heavy heart, but one very much ruled by his head. Prior to the snub, Gareth Southgate still appears to have been running him close, but he will not have mobile phone millions here and would be an ill-advised and poor second choice.  Kenny Jackett may have the strength and mixed ability to do the job, but Wolves appear to have the money to aid their return from League 1. At 35 Chris Morgan certainly lacks the experience for a tough ask, although you have to start somewhere.

Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis meanwhile, have the characteristics, but would they put their reputations on the line.  Both are free and, with the Plymouth deal stalling by the day,  Mr Warnock might be tempted to finish a managerial career spanning 1300 League games, with 7 promotions and 6 manager of the months .  It is too big a risk for Mr Pulis you feel, who has plenty of time to weigh up his options before repairing the long-ball slur. This is a pivotal role for club and manager alike. Certainly whoever comes in will need an interesting skill set, if they are to ensure a fantastic fan base gets what it desires and deserves. The word unlucky cannot continue to wash at a side that should be in the Championship at least. Given a fair wind the momentum would build backed by a fantastic home end and support. Both the Owls and the Blades are blessed with cavernous kops.

The value for money rumours suggest that it will be Pride and turnstile clicks that will turn this club around and Stuart McCall, had it all Bladewise. He has a personality forged through triumph in the face of tragedy and adversity. His time at Bradford included the Bradford fire, when 54 Bantems and two Imps lost their lives. So, although he is one for celebration, it is always tempered, always seen as a step towards another opportunity to progress or triumph.  This showed in his play, as the combative all-round midfielder, hid from no-one at Bradford, Everton, Rangers and of course the Blades. His three year stint at the Blades (2002-2005) saw them reach the semi finals of both the FA and League Cup in 2003, but they would not be promoted to the Premier League until the season after he hung up his boots.  He understood the heritage of the club, would not have underestimated the ask and relished the task at a club he still holds dear.

It has been tough for the Blades, a reflection of the unfairness of contemporary life, as well as the inconsistent realities of  the people’s game. Long has passed the Cricket ground hereabouts, but if life was played with a straight bat United should not have gone down after one season in the Premiership.  The Tevez affair had been sorted with just a financial penalty, when a further points deduction would have been far more just. Narrow relegation ended a great marriage with Mr Warnock, who you felt would have kicked on.  Relegation hits an ex-Premiership side hard.

So this job will require contacts, ability and bloody mindedness. If McCall cannot be tempted to eclipse his former guru, could Mr Warnock? Could the Falconer replace the falcon and give the Blades the last of his promotion magic before he decides to become a director of football in the South-West?  He can use finances wisely, he will need to with cost cuts and most of the budget gone.  Mr Warnock has the infectious drive and hunger needed to motivate or move contracted players on, something he has done time and time again to engineer promotions. He knows more than anyone that Sheffield deserves at least two Championship sides, if not a Premiership one.  And, on previous quotes, he would hate it to be the blue half of Sheffield. Go on blades board, swallow your pride for the good of the side.

Mr Warnock’s Record

Team From To Record
P W D L Win %
Gainsborough Trinity July 1980 January 1981
Burton Albion January 1981 February 1986
Scarborough 1 August 1986 1 January 1989 78 30 25 23 38.46
Notts County 5 January 1989 14 January 1993 209 90 49 70 43.06
Torquay United 15 February 1993 2 June 1993 15 5 5 5 33.33
Huddersfield Town 15 July 1993 5 June 1995 108 44 34 30 40.74
Plymouth Argyle 22 June 1995 3 February 1997 88 35 24 29 39.77
Oldham Athletic 21 February 1997 7 May 1998 69 27 22 20 39.13
Bury 2 June 1998 2 December 1999 77 29 29 19 37.66
Sheffield United 2 December 1999 15 May 2007 388 165 100 123 42.53
Crystal Palace 11 October 2007 2 March 2010 129 47 39 43 36.43
Queens Park Rangers 2 March 2010 8 January 2012 84 33 27 24 39.29
Leeds United 18 February 2012 1 April 2013 63 23 15 25 36.51
Total 1,308 528 369 411 40.37

Mr McCall’s managerial record

Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Bradford City 6 November 2000 20 November 2000 2 0 0 2 0.00
Bradford City 22 May 2007 8 February 2010 133 46 35 52 34.59
Motherwell 30 December 2010 Present 116 48 26 42 41.38
Total 251 94 61 96 37.45