Be Careful What You Wish For Imps
It is easy to understand the Frustration of Lincoln City fans, used to 6 years of decline with the Imp Spring now apparently clouding over with a vengeance ahead of a vital Cup tie. Yet the knee jerk texts and post match comments are so wide of the mark it is not true. We need to move on beat Worcester, think before we speak and be even more careful what we wish for.
Vic Erzantarz delves into the current malaise
The post-match BBC Radio Lincolnshire texts and forum chatter would be amusing were it not for the supposed popular opinion they purport to reflect. Headlines and sound-bites catch the eye, a Simmo out thread with an immediate only joking in the actual post has got the attention and in effect done the damage. One fellow suggested that the manager bemoans his budget while Salisbury are using theirs to the full, indeed, the facts are that The Whites have a budget one and a half times that of Lincoln and, suffering with a remote location like the Imps, have ensured that all lengthy away trips will have an overnight stay. The STMI appeal, fell on largely unsympathetic and deaf ears, seeing the fans pitch in with 2 in addition to the 3 paid four by the board. Fifteen were earmarked.
In fact, post match, the manager continued on his consistent path – perhaps that is why he says the same things – lamenting the missed chances that failed to reward the hard work. It was one that saw him say that the board have helped as much as they can, affording him a little leeway to ensure that the budget will now be on a par with that of last season. Splendid, so stability assured that accounts for the club being 13th, given we have just been beaten by one of the title favourites and have a bottom third budget for the division.
The manager has also been accused of negative tactics and no plan B, despite the majority of the resources we have playing out of their skins and a 4-3-3 formation yesterday. Alas playing Captain Power and Sheridan, is not going to get us far in the absence of Wright and Yussuf who have pace and panache. The incumbents do not look like scoring, Sheridan can never beat a man for pace and Power would struggle to get in the side if Fairhurst or Roe (ligaments) were fit.
The manager has wisely tried to play 4-2-3-1, the most balanced of attacking and defensive formations in the book, but you cannot allow for players who cannot shoot for toffee and your target man leaving, with Wright and Yussuff out and kicking their heels, as the rearguard action struggles to stay the inevitable. To go 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 would see the more profligacy in front of goal with a lot more goals conceded.
Lincoln’s problems clearly lay with goals, for despite 13 shots, no mean feat away from home at the Harriers, Tomlinson alone is the only man that looks like scoring. Injuries have taken their toll with Wright and Yussuf obviously the pace required for the rampaging runs that would make the attack-minded 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 click in the final third. Roe is a massive miss and Fairhurst is just not at the races even with overlapping full-backs Newton and Miller putting in the low whipped crosses that he should be straining to poke home.
Wright did do that for our goal – a header to boot – but he needs games after a torn hamstring. It was something the three advanced midfielders and Tommo had failed to do so in a first half that should have seen us go two up before Gash’s moment of brilliance plus his two assists to change the outcome of the game. Storer got a 25-yard wonder-goal and an unfortunate deflection from Boyce put things beyond us, so we were a little hard done by against a side that was odds on to win before a ball was kicked. Storer and Gash cost a weekly wage that is equivalent to 5-6 Lincoln first-teamers, added to the fact that it is only £14 to stand and watch them, this shows the cost base of our club off the field matched only by the loyalty of Lincoln fans, as another 205 travelled and sang throughout.
The problem with forwards (and decent midfielders) is that they cost money unless you get very lucky for a short-time. Oliver, like Yussuf had been threatened with a career ending injury that robbed him of his Wednesday dream. Lincoln like Burton gambled and took him on for a fraction of what he should be worth, just like Oliver who was on little more than an amateur would pick up. Oliver worked out well so arguable we have used up any luck due.
Nathan Ellington, who has just joined Southport, is on two and a half times what we paid Oliver, or one and a half times the wage of a Lincoln player. For that the 32 year old does a Thursday training session and turns up for a game as well as enjoying a 9-5 job. Moan and belittle the manager as much as we want, that is the economic reality that faces Lincoln and other fully professional non-league clubs with minute budgets. We might be honoured to wear the shirt but its a big ask for a player and father trying to feed a family in the current climate.
Yes the forwards are letting the rest of a promising and hard working side down, but we simply have to live with it until they either get up to speed or someone wins the lottery and gives more than 75 grand to the board in order to do our ambitions proud. That will not happen with just the one vote will it? Secondly with people sitting in a good position until the ground move is completed no businessman is going to add to his existing investment unless the club finances deteriorate. With crowds up that is unlikely any time soon.
So frustrating as it is Lincoln are where we are because of what we are, making a 5,000 stadium look more and more viable by the week to allow more of the budget the club generates to go into the first team. It’s sad but reality and inaccurate knee-jerk comments will do us a lot less good than trying to live with it and just keeping the faith. Hopefully we will be Worcester on Saturday and that will allow the manager to get a target man and a winger in, because currently he has only enough in the loan budget for one. If you save one bullet – and its hardly a silver one – you tend to wait and use it when you absolutely have to, do you not?