Category Archives: FA Cup
Ahead of the Chelsea Bradford game, a heartwarming preview with a Huddersfield Town and Lincoln City link stirring memories of the oft forgotton 56 who perished in the Bradford fire. May the Bantams win it for them and the great British sense of fair play.
No one is giving Bradford City a prayer against Chelsea FC. However 6000 and the souls of the forgotten 56 will be there hoping for the win our national psyche and ‘sport’ needs. This in the romantic FA Cup, one that allegedy allows underdogs to go from jumpers for goal posts to the glitter of Wembley. That is why every neutral and everyone sick of the rising inequality in modern Britain should be on Bradford City’s side.
The attitude from those awash with Russian cash in SW6 is that one of Yorkshire’s most inspiring clubs should be grateful for the cash bonanza as brave Bradford gallantly get hit for five or six. But, the Bantam’s have been forged by one of the toughest journeys in football. With the Hillsborough disaster getting the column inches to earn the justice it deserves, the Bradford fire and its 25th anniversary was ignored outside Yorkshire. Even the Premier and Football League have conveniently moved the dates for the tributes around the grounds to the 24/25th April. This May the Eleventh will be the the 30th anniversary of an oft forgotten tragedy with Huddersfield’s North Stand Loyal kicking off a terrific Terrier fundraising initiative – HERE .
A brief bit of history is both respectful and due. Having won the Third Division Championship prior to the game a young Peter Jackson (one I count as a friend) was presented with City’s first trophy for 56 years. That same number would die on a day set up for celebration – some families lost 3 generations – with 256 injured as the burns unit learned the hard way to become the best in the world at what it does. The opponents that day, Lincoln. who lost two fans and named their former home end after the two victims, went to Valley Parade again 7 years ago with Stuart McCall and laying wreathes prior to the game.
There is one other massive reason people should want Bradford to win today. Where Chelsea were saved by Ken Bates, then Matthew Harding and then Roman Abramovich who has spent 100s of millions to get them success . Bradford fell from the Premiership and almost died falling into the bottom rung of the Football league. There they struggled under debt repayment plans backed by 11,000 diehards who they rewarded with the cheapest season tickets in the country – costing around a game and a half compared to those Made In Chelsea.
From a purest football perspective Chelsea undeniably deserve to win. But if passion is the fashion Hanson will give the two Blues centre-backs a game they will learn from today. The Bantam’s have an attacking trio that can do damage in any division and they will be really up for it today (fired up just did not seem the right thing to put). London may have all the money and the 12:1 job ratio thanks to the banks etc, but Yorkshire is God’s county.
Come on City! Do it for financial fair play, do it for the fans and do it for the 56.
Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire!
The FA Cup Replay tonight sees Alfreton Town stand between Lincoln City and an awkward Round One tie at Eastleigh FC. With so much pressure being heaped on the players given there is a combined £30,500 prize money on offer, clearly the game is important. However to put so much pressure on one game is not doing any good and in reality the club is in this position for a lot more reasons than a 1-1 draw on Saturday. So the potential banana skin ahead of an apparent £150,000 forecast loss this year, is worsened by the opposition only having 11 fit outfield players? Certainly our FA Cup form is littered with these kind of slips, but, a cup tie is a one-off and games of football can only be won or lost on the pitch. Passion from the terraces can even the odds, lift the fallen and make zeroes into heroes, for that is what the FA Challenge competition is all about. And yes a cash lifeline to the cash-strapped.
Thanks as ever for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
The Grimsby Telegraph are gleefully reporting that are Alfreton will also have to play with an outfield keeper in goal after on-loan Scunthorpe keeper James Severn ruptured a thigh muscle. Indeed so is the Echo, although the fact that the news broke on the official Alfreton site first should surely bring a wry smile to any wise heads. After all smoke and mirrors is a big part of pre-match psychology in football. Fans are already hot under the collar after a couple of heated exchanges with players during the 1-1 draw on Saturday.
However now is not the time for fans to want Simmo and the team to fail in order for some kind of change. This is the time to stand our ground and believe. The fact is Lincoln are the underdogs nowadays. With 75% of the Vanarama Conference enjoying a budget well above ours, even a mid-table finish is punching above our weight. Sad, but true. We love the team, they are our life partner, so this sorry state of affairs is something we will have to live with. Unless of course someone can buy out the holding company and then plough in the millions to match the ambition of our fantastic football club.
So hoist up the Lincoln flag, let’s here the Imps sing. We will win tonight if we are as one. We will then win at Eastleigh and who knows get a decent draw and a TV game to insure this £150,000 short-fall is overcome. Do the maths fellow Imps and believe. Dare to dream Hoist up the Lincoln flag – The 6-foot Sincil Soldiers are set for FA Cup Run
|Fourth Round Qualifying Prize Money||winners get||£12,500|
|First Round Proper Prize Money||winners get||£18,000|
|Second Round Proper Prize Money||winners get||£27,000|
The TV Cash……
|Round||Live Match fee (each)|
|Round 1 Replays||33,750|
|Round 2 Replays||36,000|
STMI urge all Imps to raise the fallen for Plymouth Argyle on Saturday and get them down the Bank – young and old – for what has been and could well be our biggest opportunity on the national stage for some time. Let’s show the world passion is always in fashion in the land of the Mighty Imps.
Saturday 9th Nov 2013 KO 3PM
Did you know you can blood a young Imp into his rightful heritage for a fiver? Mums and dads are just £15 with concessions a tenner for mid Lincolnshire’s big game on Saturday.
And our wall of sound can drown out the Pilgrims who will be packing our former home end. Imagine 4-5,000 Imps getting behind the lads and witnessing a giant killing think Spurs, think Man City, think the Rise Of The Mighty Imps.
How many of them will then be back for the next home game if we win. This is lift off. Its like when Graham Taylor finally turned it around after a shocking start as the Imps kicked on to greatness. Our team need us to believe in them and back them, not grumble about our lot.
Its time to be loud and its time to be proud
Hoist up the Lincoln Flag
Hear the RED IMPS sing
And if you don’t join in I’ll sing on my own
Sing on my own
Don’t wanna go home,
Don’t wanna go ho-o-ome,
Because this is the best I’ve ever been on!
Grimsby Town V Scunthorpe United and Lincoln City V Plymouth Argyle are massive games in the FA Cup, this weekend, but while our Lincolnshire rivals are set to enjoy a sell out The Imps have not even cranked up the hype and marketing with just 4 days to go before the game that will even see our foe given the traditional home end at Sincil Bank.
Grimsby have just 997 tickets left in the home sections while Scunthorpe fans are eager to show their metal in the Fisheries. The three home sections at Blundell Park hold 7158 fans and, if the maths are to be believed, that suggests 6161 tickets have been sold to Mariners. The Iron season ticket holders snapped up 650 Osmond Stand seats, with an additional 300 members enjoying a chance to get a ticket before the remaining tickets go on general sale on Wednesday. The Mariners offer away allocation chunks of 600, 1100 or a full stand of 2200 to large opposition followings. With four days to go the 7100 sold looks set to rise to between 8,500 and the reduced capacity of 9338.
Sleepy Sincil Bank, meanwhile, appears to be missing an absolutely massive opportunity to boost the manager’s budget. After a 1-0 defeat to Welling and a poor run of form the club has gone into its shell before a game that should have Imps turning up in their thousands. One of the best supported sides in the division is dwindling due to a slide in results and the usual lack of inspired leadership on and off the pitch once again. With £15 tickets, a bargain, The Pilgrims should bring 700-1,000 to boost a gate that has recovered to 2700 in the last couple of games, suggesting 4,000 should be a realistic target to aim for althouth anything above 3,000 looks to be an acceptable result. The initial allocation of 550 to Plymouth will hopefully be boosted by pay on the day to see a bigger gate than the 1345 that turned up last Tuesday.
Long gone are the days when they opened up the gates and the working classes trooped through the gates, modern football marketing knows haow to tap into the fans psyche again and again. Look at Grimsby, despite the failures, despite the losses their club inspire them again and again. Yet, as of Monday night, no proclamations on either the official site or via the normally friendly media partners of the club. Is it any wonder the fans are side-tracked by the usual in-fighting over the latest under-performance on the pitch? Instead of getting behind our potential giant killers to get the local pride and cup fever going lack of ambition and being reserved Lincoln has taken over as usual.
There should be 4-5,000 Imps there Saturday, but to do that we need to bang the drum and play the local pride card. Instead it looks as if we will look even poorer relations to our local Lincolnshire rivals. As soon as the whistle blew last Tuesday night everyone should have followed this sites lead by bigging up the game. Yes even in spite of the fact that we all half expected part-time Welling would continue to raise their game in from of a 746 crowd. Anything can happen in a cup game against a side 18th in League 2 struggling to get strikers in – 3 loan forwards have turned Sheridan down – but instead no one at the top is beating the drum or reassuring the fans that progress is still being made.
This means the economic reality at Lincoln is threatening to kill the optimism and resurgence that inspired us to begin to dream again after 5 years that have nearly killed us. Yes the team has stumbled and had some bad luck, but togetherness and daring to dream is all you have got when you can only pay an average of £350 a week. No wonder the players need that top 8 bonus, but they also need backing and their cause to be championed if they are to succeed. Cup fever and a big pay-day Saturday will help, but at the time of writing it looks to be passing us by. Win Saturday in front of 5,000 and we could be looking at £50,000.
Plymouth Argyle centre-half Guy Branston’s Northampton Town booking means he will not get the opportunity to renew acquaintances with the Lincoln City faithful after all. It could also force a change to a formation that has seen Plymouth improve their fortunes with some hard-fought but narrow victories thanks to successive clean sheets in the last few weeks.
Thankyou for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Guy Branston received his fifth caution of the season after a 74th minute foul on Cobblers winger Chris Hackett to rule him out with a one match ban. This is good news for the Imps as John Sheridan’s side have enjoyed an upturn in form since switching to three centre backs and an attack minded 3-5-2 formation that has kept 3 successive clean sheets in the five games played. The formation began at Portsmouth with a 1-1 draw, the Pilgrims then lost 0-1 at Hartlepool, before a stalemate at Newport and back-to-back 1-0 wins over Mansfield and Northampton.
Guy, who spent six games on loan at the Imps in 1999, has made 27 moves, 14 of them loans, in his 16 years as a no-nonsense centre-back. He has a take no prisoners image, boosted by his shaven skull, but, that could not be further from the genuine man he is off the pitch. He has recently had a baby and is a doting dad, who helped Richard Butcher in his career as their paths crossed at Rushden, Oldham, Peterborough and Notts County as team-mates.
|Full name||Guy Peter Bromley Branston
|Date of birth||9 January 1979 (age 34)
|Place of birth||Leicester|
|Height/Weight||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)/12st 2lb (77.1kg)
|Playing position||Centre back|
|Current gig in the game|
|Current club||Plymouth Argyle|
|1997||Rushden & Diamonds (loan)||31||(1)|
|1998||Colchester United (loan)||12||(1)|
|1998||Colchester United (loan)||1||(0)|
|1998–1999||Plymouth Argyle (loan)||7||(2)|
|1999||Rushden & Diamonds (loan)||0||(0)|
|1999||Lincoln City (loan)||6||(0)|
|1999||Rotherham United (loan)||7||(2)|
|2003||Wycombe Wanderers (loan)||11||(1)|
|2004||Peterborough United (loan)||14||(0)|
|2004–2005||Peterborough United (loan)||4||(1)|
|2007||Northampton Town (loan)||4||(0)|
|2010||Torquay United (loan)||16||(0)|
|2011||Rotherham United (loan)||4||(0)|
|2012||Bristol Rovers (loan)||4||(1)|
Lincoln City and Plymouth Argyle have agreed tickets well below the normal Sincil Bank Conference admission prices for the crunch cup tie on Saturday November 9th.
Saturday 9th Nov 2013 KO 3PM
Although there is still no confirmation as to whether the TV cameras will be here to screen the game live, the sensible pricing should ensure a bumper cup crowd and a cracking atmosphere:-
When Chesterfield FC were slain 3-0 in the Youth Cup final in April 2012 Connor was the belle on the ball. Now after a 23 minute cameo against Worcester City on Saturday, oh so many Imps are desperate to see one of our own live our dreams on the hallowed Sincil Bank turf against Worcester City tonight.
Rose tinted, an optimistic dreamer
FA Cup 4th Q replay KO 7.45, Tues 28th October 2013
Adults £12, Cons £8, U18’s £5
Oh how We Imps love seeing one of our own, rise through the ranks just as Lee Frecklington did when made his debut in the Football League Trophy in 2003 against Telford. Fast forward a decade and and another of our own looks poised for a pivotal role. Connor Robinson, for it is he, is our latest little ray of sunshine and, after that disappointing youth defeat in the Cup to Boston, he alone now appears to be proof that the Youth set-up at Lincoln can indeed continue to deliver.
Let us hope he can step up and be strong enough to show that beauty can tame the beasts of the Skrill Premier each and every week. Young Connor has not had it easy since starring in that Imps 3-0 Youth Cup Final win over Chesterfield at the B2Net Stadium back in 2012. He did make his debut as a sub against Hayes in the BSP in 2011/12 and was given a two year first pro contract as a reward for those cup heroics and super impact performances. But like all 5 of Grants prodigal sons from the fountain of youth who were given a heraldic fanfare in the Summer of 2012, he was discarded by Holdsworth, fearful of failure in a bustling basement battle.
In 2012/13 Connor’s cameos were still a treat to behold with 4 goals in 5 starts and just 682 minutes of first team football. A March loan to Worksop for a month, under the stewardship of Simon Clark, only earned him two sub appearances in a season that could have been so much more under a different manager and different circumstances. Gary Simpson appears to be the perfect manager to heal last years memories and see Connor start to realise a potential that could see him reborn. Imp born and bred, he feels the passion and may well be a perfect replacement for Wright tonight as the Imps chase the latest cup dream. It would be a brave decision on the manager’s part but surely Connor deserves his chance to succeed or fail in his home stadium backed by fellow Imps who so want him to succeed.
Thus far his impact on games has been as limited as it has been explosive, but his time is about to come, one feels, upon the Sincil stage. One can understand the desire to protect him during the tough times but Connor’s heart at least is ready and chomping at the bit to deliver for his beloved Imps. Lincoln born, Lincoln Bred, Connor’s an Imp until he’s dead.
|Connor’s Imp stats 2012/13|
|Connor’s Imp stats 2011/12|
Connor’s STMI Biopic
|Full Name||Connor William Robinson|
|Date of Birth||11th Oct 1994||Age||19|
|Place of Birth||Lincoln|
|Height||5 ft 11 in|
|Weight||11 st 8lb|
|Contract||1 year left (30/6/14)|
|Pos||RW / Fox-in-the-box|
|2013 (Mar)||Loan – Worksop||2||0|
Worcester City will go to Lincoln City fuelled by Plymouth Argyle dreams as the Blues attempt what the FA Cup was designed for against The Red Imps in the very heart of Impdom. David is pitted against Goliath, but, as is the thing with modern day football, it is the cash that drives them as much as the charisma of the greatest challenge competition in world football. Be it jumpers for goalposts or Wembley itself, the field is the leveller where heroes are made and reputations are slain. Let battle commence, may football as ever be the winner, for there is no doubt fortune will favour the brave tonight with that plum Plymouth pay-day on offer…………………..
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
FA Cup 4th Q replay KO 7.45, Tues 28th October 2013
Adults £12, Cons £8, U18’s £5
The FA Cup schemes and dreams
The prized pay-day is not for lenders for a change it’s for keeps as the FA Cup comes calling at Sincil Bank a theatre of dreams, screams and doubtless best laid plans and schemes. It would be a shame, from the gamely Blues perspective, if the exciting Thompson is forced to miss tonight’s game with a knock that forced him off in the latter stages of Saturday’s first instalment. The gods signs suggest that he will, however the tragic script says that he wont, miss the chance to maraud the right flank in an evenly balanced winner takes all replay, with the Pilgrims the prize in a comedy of errors encounter on what we Imps have come to know as the theatre of the truly absurd. Moore may start for Glover next to the exciting Nti, with Captain Thorley perhaps joined by goalscorer Aaron Williams, in for Taundry who also took a knock, plus Hales if Thompson fails to start.
The Imps have lost Nolan to a ban after his 5th yellow of the season on Saturday. The chances are that Simmo will bring in Fofana to keep things tight tonight although Dan Gray is perhaps the best passing defensive midfielder we have in the squad. Dan must feel unlucky at getting so few starts but Miller and Newton have both been superb at full-back and look set to terrorise tonight. As does Connor Robinson after a 23 minute cameo that eclipsed Wright who is still a shade of his ability after being hamstrung earlier in the season. Marlon Jackson will also keep his place and, if the gods are more favourable to the Imps this time around and ‘backs em’ young ‘Action Jackson’ should get a goal or two on his home debut this evening.
The Joie de vivre of the Blues on a great stage, with the proposition of a massive pay-day is one that we cannot afford to underestimate. Epitomised by the cat that is the Cape crusader, we certainly cannot take the heroics of keeper Jose Veiga as a one off. The 36-year-old Cape Verde stopper was in fantastic form on Saturday and has seen it all at Benfica, Levante, Macclesfield and now a loan from Tamworth to the Blues as he takes his coaching badges. A brilliant keeper it will take something or someone special to beat him and his adrenalin fuelled back four tonight. But then FA Cup nights always seem to throw forth a hero, enter Connor Robinson, one of our own for one feels he is about to write his name in Imp history.
The potential teams
Simmo 4-3-3 (Diamond)
Miller Brown Boyce Newton
Robinson Tomlinson Jackson
Heeley goes 4-4-2
2 G Williams Hutchison 6 Khan 3 Deeney
7 Thompson 4 Thorley 8 Taundry 11 Addy
10 Nti 9 Glover
Connor Robinson took his 23 minute opportunity against Worcester City by the scruff of the neck on Saturday. New loan signing Marlon Jackson also made a terrific start to his Lincoln City career.
Vic Erzantarz likes what he sees
Both players were always eager to get on the ball and showed the sort of pace and ability that could unlock defences over the next few weeks. Were it not for some outstanding saves from Jose Veiga aka the Cape Crusader in the Blues goal the duo might have finished things at the first time of asking. Having weathered the Blue storm the green ranks responded and looked stronger as the second half progressed.
Connor beat three with a trademark dribble before unloading a fizzing effort that Veiga saved and held superbly. Marlon Jackson had longer to make an impact, with the quality signing showing pace, strength and desire throughout the game. Jackson looks useful in the air although the Imps still need a target man up front, with Jackson and Robinson certainly contenders for the wider roles in a terrifying trio.
Lincoln will look to progress tomorrow night, although the brave Blues will not roll over with a home pay-day against Plymouth Argyle at stake. To do that they must keep Nti and Thompson at bay and beat Jose Veiga the Cape Crusader in the Worcester City goal.