Save A Prayer For Lincoln with Grimsby, Halifax and Luton next.
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.