Category Archives: Obituaries

RIP Percy Freeman Imp Reading & West Bromwich Albion Legend

West Bromwich Albion and Reading FC both fancied Percy Freeman but it was only Lincoln City that could get the best out of him. The Baggies ended up giving him away whilst The Royals actually gave him back to us for £10,000 less than they paid for him, despite him averaging a goal in every four matches simply because he lost his taste for the game. Percy Freeman aka Big Perce, enigma, gentle giant, goal machine and gracious god of Impdom died today  our condolences go to his family. This obituary is the least STMI can do for the legend.

Thank-you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs 

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Freeman was old school, a living god to any Imp the right side of their late thirties to fourties. Big, strong and as direct as a Lincoln Loco express train he had a shot like a cannon and a forehead as tough as Hemswell Cliff. Carved from local stone in Newark the legend the left returned and was part of the hospitality team until recently.  But Big Perce a gentleman giant in every sense of the word will be a part of the fixtures, fittings and legends of this City forever more.

Alas,  he was plucked from his Newark home by Stourbridge before big timers  West Brom signed him in 1968 as understudy to England international Jeff Astle (174 goals in 361 games is incredible and he got 31 for Notts County).  The apprentice was unable to displace the sorcerer making just three appearances for the First Division side before the late Bert Loxley snared the Lincoln poacher on a free. Percy scored on his debut against Cambridge, settled a huge cup tie against Sunderland (10,789)  and got two more to start with a goal in his first four consecutive games. The all action style and towering aerial presence were idolised on a Clanford end starved by a decade of demise (the Imps had been a bedrock of the old second division through the 50s and early 60s). Though we would still finish twenty-first on the bottom rung his 16 goals and 5 braces (Brentford, 2-0, Grimsby 3-0, Bradford 4-1, Torquay A 3-4 and Aldershot 4-4) lit the season and suggested better was to come in the seventies.

Percy got 14 the following season as the Imps flirted with promotion to finish fifth, as the talisman led the line. He got a Hat trick against Exeter (4-1) and brilliant Braces against Colchester away (2-5) and Darlington away (3-3). The crowds returned as Herds rejuvenated Imps played to 16,498 V Scunthorpe (1-0), 15,015 V Cods (3-0 ), where Big Perce waded in with a goal and man of the match performance; and another 12,199 V Southend in a stalemate. Typical gates that season were 7,500, with 2 over eight thousand and another 2 in the nines. The intimidating Clanford End and atmosphere of the Bank had seen the Sincil siege mentality return. Get that this season and we are half way there.

Despite the Imps making the top three at one stage of the season controversy was to rip through the Bank. The popular David Herd was removed (potential legal issues forbid us saying exactly why – so keep that one in your trousers so to speak) with Graham Taylor coming in on 10th December. The young man’s first job was to sell Percy, already on 9 goals including a hat-trick against Bury (4-0), for a whopping £11,500 to Reading. This despite the fact that gates were pretty good too with 7,425 V Burnley Watney Cup (0-1) and 6.657 V Northampton (1-1). Naturally the turbulence and the lack of big Perce had an affect as crowds fluctuated from 3k – 4K when we had enjoyed 4 successive 6k crowds when we were in top 3 prior to Hurdgate.

Percy played regular first team football for a season and a half at Reading but his heart wasn’t in it any more. He became disillusioned and left football completely to work as a scaffolder. He then returned in an hour of need for the Royals to play a dozen games  (Played 60 times with 13 goals) before the Imps came in for him. This floated Freeman’s boat and he jumped at the chance. Taylor and the Imps board were pretty chuffed when Reading reluctantly accepted a £1500 fee and a ten grand loss on the deal. They looked on in utter disbelief as Percy’s hunger returned. He and the Imps would ransack the Fourth Division bagging more records than Woolworth’s. Percy would get 23 (plus 2 Cup) and John Ward would hit 29 goals as as the Imps clinched the championship in record-breaking style.

Imagine turning up to Sincil Bank and seeing 71 home goals (an average of more than three a game!), 111 in all and 74 points (equivalent to 106 with three points for a win).  Just like the Keith Alexander era from 202 – 2006 the strength was at the front and back with Ward and Freeman up front; Ian Branfoot (5 goals) and Sam Ellis at the back. That’s not forgetting the work of midfield maestro John Fleming who scored 9 that season (indeed Ellis got 15, Graham 12, Smith 9 and Harding 9.

The highest gate of the season saw us take over 5,000 to Reading (15,900), but with Big Perce pulling out with an injury Wardy got the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.  The gates that season were huge with 14,092 witnessing his brace against Doncaster in a 4-2 win. Another 13,880 rolled up for the neutering of Northampton 3-1 and Stoke were humbled 2-1 in front of 13,742. Typical gates were 7,500 plus with 6 gates over 10k. The tide of optimism was infectious and gripped the city. Doubtless GT the young fabulous manager could have played but for his career ending ankle injury. At the tender age of 31 , he was just a year older than Percy and the youngest manager ever to land a football League Championship.

The following season in the 3rd Division saw us finish ninth, going briefly third after a 2-2 draw at home toRotherhamin front of 9,318, with Freeman and Hubbard getting ours. Despite the old bones giving him grief Percy would bag a brace against Tranmere and a memorable equaliser in front of a huge 14,706 at the Bank againstSheffieldWednesday (1-1). Percy would hang up his boots at the end of the season grabbing 9 goals in 27 appearances with 3 as a sub.

The Bank saw some great crowds that year with a 3rd Round FA Cup replay (novelty value) defeat against Burnley (0-1) enticing 11,414; and typical gates of 6,400 with 6 gates over 7K, 2 in the 8’s and 2 in the 9K’s. Both GT and Big Perce left Sincil Bank in the summer of 1977 with Graham going to join Elton John at Watford on the way to a glittering career culminating in the England Manager’s job. Percy got a deserved testimonial before he   retired  from the professional game to concentrate on his roofing business. He turned out for Boston for a season or two before managing Nettleham, Boston FC and Stamford. Big Perce  finally managed local pub team Ivy Tavern FC a watering hole Chris Moyses often frequented.

A quick video of the legend and then a season by season bio

Full Name: Freeman, Ronald Peter

Date Of Birth : 04/07/1945

Birthplace : Newark

Imps record: 

Apps : 166 ( League 138) ; Subs : 15 (league 14) ; Goals : 76 (league 64)

Season by Season

1970/1971 : 21st Div 4

Apps : 29 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 16

Hat tricks: n/a

Braces: Brentford (2-0),Grimsby(3-0), Bradford (4-1), Torquay A (3-4),Aldershot(4-4).

Highest gates: 10,849 V Notts Co (0-1), 10,789 V  Sunderland LC2 (2-1)

Typical gates 3,500 – 4K as we struggled bright start though with 3 7k plus crowds & 8k V Cods.

Season 1971/1972 : 5th Div 4

Apps : 35 ; Subs : 5 ; Goals : 14

Hat tricks:  Exeter (4-1)

Braces: Colchester A (2-5) Darlington A (3-3)

Highest gates: 16,498 V Scunthorpe (1-0) 15,015 V Cods (3-0 Scored 1) 12,199 V Southend (0-0)

Typical gates 7,500 with 2 x 8K’s & 2 x  9Ks

Season 1972/1973 : 10th Div 4

Transferred in Dec

Apps : 27 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 9

Hat tricks: Bury  (4-0)

Braces:

Highest gates: 7,425 V Burnley Watney Cup (0-1) 6.657 V Northampton (1-1)

Typical gates. Fluctuated from 3k – 4K though 4 successive 6k crowds when we were in top 3.

Season 1974/1975 : 5th Div 4

Apps : 11 ; Subs : 2 ; Goals : 3

Hat tricks:

Braces:

Highest gates: Mansfield (0-0) 13,108, 8579 V Shrews (3-0) 8,291 V Cambridge (0-0), 8,032 V Rotherham (2-0)

Typical gates: 2700- 3000 until Nov then 5k –6k with 1 x 7k and 2 x 8K.

Season 1975/1976 : 1st Div 4

Apps : 37 ; Subs : 5 ; Goals : 25

Hat tricks: n/a

Braces:Cambridge (4-2), Scunthorpe (3-0), Doncaster (4-2) Watford (5-1), Bradford A (5-1)Doncaster(5-0) 9 in 6.

Highest gates: Doncaster 14,092 (4-2 bagged a brace) 13,880 V Northampton (3-1) Stoke LC 13.472 (2-1)

Typical gates: 7,500 with 6 gates over 10k.

Season 1976/1977 : 8th Div 3

Apps : 27 ; Subs : 3 ; Goals : 9

Braces: Tranmere H (2-2)

Highest gates: Sheff Wednesday 14,706 (scored in 1-1 draw)Burnley FA Cup 3R replay 11,414 (0-1)

Typical gates 6,400 with 6 gates over 7K, 2 in the 8K’s 2 in the 9K’s

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Video: Richard Butcher’s Goals & Book

Rejected by Northampton Town, Richard played for Kettering Town, Lincoln City, Oldham Athletic, Peterborough United and Macclesfield Town.  Butch was the Notts County top scorer in both his seasons at the club and got a beauty against Bournemouth to guarantee a play-off spot in his first season at the Imps. His untimely death in 2011 at the age of 29 was heartbreaking.

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The Richard Butcher Memorial Charity has commissioned a book celebrating Richard’s life from his formative years  to his final season at Macclesfield Town. Contributors include:-

Gail, Richard and Glenn Butcher, Managers, Mentors & Coaches. Gary Simpson, Kevin Wilson, Carl Shutt, BIG Keith RIP, Ronnie Moore, Darren Ferguson, Peter Jackson and Keith Oakes. Northampton Ali Gibb, Andy Morrow, Carl Heggs, David Savage, Gary Hughes, Gary Thompson, Matthew Finlay, Kevin, Wilson and Paul Curtis. Rushden. Carl Heggs. Kettering, Ian Bowling, Lee Howarth, Carl Shutt and Dale Watkins. Lincoln City, Ian Bowling, Peter Gain, Ben Futcher, Paul Morgan, Keith Oakes, Gary Simpson and Simon Yeo. Oldham Athletic, Mark Hughes, Andy Liddell, Ronnie Moore and Chris Porter. Peterborough United, Darren Ferguson,  Ben Futcher, Peter Gain, Keith Oakes, Gary Simpson and Gavin Strachan. Notts County Lawrie Dudfield, Ali Gibb, Jason Lee, Gavin Strachan. Macclesfield Town Paul Morgan, Gary Simpson and Simon Yeo. Darren MacKenzie, Michael Hortin (BBC) and, David Mackintosh (Leader Northamptonshire Council have also added memories.

The book will go on sale in October and is a moving yet optimistic tribute to  a gentleman who saw playing football as a privilege.  Written with the fan in mind readers can follow a season with insights from those behind the scenes during the gruelling up & downs of the 50+ match marathon and the miles a Football League box-to-box midfielder tread.   Butch’s respect for the fans filled us with warmth and great memories,,, and then there were the goals……………

Lucky Yellow Socks – KA legend to Lincoln City, Grimsby , Peterborough & Macclesfield Town

Nearly thirty months ago,  I penned an obituary for Keith Alexander who had died leaving his family and of course extended family –  the fans of Lincoln City, Grimsby Town, Peterborough United and Macclesfield Town with a massive void that we can never ever fill. He died having just returned from  a game at Notts County, leaving Gary Simpson his friend and confidant to show the sort of character only a genuine and modest man could.  Gary was in bits when he rang me, with Sky TV et al to deal with, Keith having died  in the early hours of the morning, as a result of a brain bleed from a long standing condition. Simmo, Brownie and Butch had dropped him off  fit and well having only returned to work two weeks before. He was and still is a giant of the working mans game and on Saturday old yellow socks will be remembered by Imps and Silkmen as they too don a pair of those famous lucky yellow socks (should be a score draw then).  After all Yellow is the colour of sun-rays –  and from Keith hope will always spring eternal – RIP Keith

Thank you for reading – Neil Gentleman-Hobbs. 

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Matt Alexander: “If he was looking down and saw the reaction that followed his death and how valuable people thought he was, he would be smiling. He would realise that all his hard work had paid off.”

thanks to Richard Butcher’s mum – http://www.richardbutcherfamilymemorial.com

Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow Keith Alexander, a pioneer and legend in Lincolnshire and beyond crossed the red and white and black and white divide. He bridged football’s racial boundaries as well as those of great rivals Grimsby and Lincoln fans, alike. Keef,  was a man who made financial mountains from Football molehills. Simmo reckoned he had the weekly wage bill to a penny in his head. A true football man, magician and gentleman, with an eye for talent in a game that offers few chances to overcome the odds. He finally gave to in the early hours of 3rd March 2010, aged 53. Irony upon ironies, that his long term condition would finally defeat him after a match against his first Chairman of Football`s new club Notts County. This match on a day when another of his jewels, wide boy Boyd had left Peterborough to go to Nottingham Forest for “big money”, shows that Keith`s footprint as a man and a manager will loom large over football for years to come. It is perhaps just for a pioneering crusader, for being in the service of Football was his life from cradle to grave. Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow ‘Keith’ as Gary Simpson said to me today ‘is a brilliant bloke, a friend to everyone and a trail blazer for the black community. Keith`s been overcoming the odds all his life when you think about it.’ Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow Amen to that as the 6 foot four inch no nonsense centre forward spent 21 seasons as a player taking in 23 football clubs, making regular Football League appearances at Lincoln, Grimsby Town and Stockport County, before temporarily suspending his playing career with the Imps after the 1992-93 season. After a short spell as manager where we played some passing though unsuccessful football, he played a few more games for Mansfield Town before popping over to Northern Ireland with Cliftonville. It was here that he would get a good understanding of the Irish game which would serve him well in management. His career highlights include scoring as Stamford won the FA Vase in 1980 in a 2-0 win at Wembley as well as playing 3 internationals for St. Lucia in 1990. Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow Keith was handed his first managerial role by Imps chairman John Reames (RIP) but after less than a year in charge he was replaced by the chairman himself with KA returning to playing. Though the spell gave no real indication of his great managerial skills it did set a landmark with KA becoming the first black professional football manager in British football. When Keith finally hung up his boots as a semi pro his final club Ilkeston Town gave him the manager`s job in 1995. In 1997-98 he got them promoted as runner-up from the Southern Midland Division to the Premier Division. Northwich Victoria then poached Keith over to Cheshire in 2000-01 which is where he formed knowledge of the local leagues that he would extend to the Mid Lincs league as Alan Buckley brought him in as assistant manager of the Imps just in time for the admin. Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow Keith stayed on and took the hot seat in May 2002 and was unfazed by the cull as high earners Ian Hamilton, Kingsley Black and Justin Walker were moved on along with record appearance holder Grant Brown and the experienced David Cameron and Steve Holmes. This time he would be able to draw on non League expertise and an eye for talent that would serve him well throughout his managerial career. Simon Yeo came in with Ben Futcher and Simon Weaver, Richard Butcher and Dene Cropper joining the five players Keith was able to retain – Mazza, Morgs, Gainy and our gallivanting wingbacks Bimmo and Bailey. The attacking direct style ensured we battled our way back finishing the season with a playoff final defeat 2-5 to Bournemouth. Rob Bradley who put his house up still has tears in his eyes (as do I as I pen this) when he recalls the 15,000 Imps who poured into the Millennium stadium when they opened the gates that day. We didn`t lose we proved we had survived and come back from the dead. Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow We started the following season slowly with the unpopular sales of Mayo to Watford and Bimmo choosing to go to Cambridge United, but Keith and sidekick Simmo knew what they were doing with McCombe, Richardson, GTF (Gary Taylor-Fletcher), Franny Green and Kevin yes Ellison on loan. In the November Gary Simpson, himself a knowledgeable football man, would come into his own when Keith suffered the cerebral aneurysm that would sadly prove his ultimate undoing. A lifesaving operation saw him return to work in the February (2004) as a Sincil surge saw us make the playoff semi finals losing out to Peter Jackson`s Huddersfield. The following season Keith brought in Gareth McAuley and Ciaran Toner as we again made the play off final losing this time to Southend, with both goals coming in extra time. While Keith signed a three year deal that summer Yeo, Butcher, Gain, and GTF left the club. Despite this and Keith being put on gardening leave we still made the playoffs this time losing to Grimsby in the semis. Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow It was of little surprise to see KA become the new Peterborough manager on May 30th 2006 on a 4 year deal. He joined old friend and ex boss Barry Fry who always had a soft spot for the lad even when his desire to stay match fit got beyond a joke. Such was Keith`s love for the game that back in 87 Barry had to ban him from playing for a local Lincolnshire team every Sunday. You can see Keith enjoying playing uphill at Barnet such was his determination throughout his life to overcome adversity. Peterborough would see that Keith Alexander and Gary had not lost their touch when it came to unearthing talent as George Boyd, Aaron Mclean, Craig Mackail-Smith and Craig Morgan were signed. It was a travesty that Posh`s owner sacked him on 15 January 2007 following 6 straight league defeats that saw them sit 8th in the league. Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow Keith was then hired as a director of Football to advise rookie Bury manager Chris Casper in May 2007 a tenure that lasted until14 January 2008. A month later Keith and Gary Simpson were back together proving miracles can still happen in football at Macclesfield Town. One point from relegation with the smallest budget in League football they astounded the 1500 faithful and the critics. Four wins three draws and two defeats ensured they stayed up and confounded the critics with a mixture of youth loans and chewing gum and string. Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow Going back to what Simmo said at the start of this obituary ‘He`s s a brilliant bloke, a friend to everyone and a trail blazer for the black community. Keith`s been overcoming the odds all his life’ Stanno Park Football Socks - YellowHow many managers could do what Keith did in his life? From no money at Lincoln to a £500,000 a year budget at Macclesfield, knowing what he had inside him would defeat him in the end. Keith just got on with what he was given, inspired others and succeeded. Surely one of our own should be honoured with a Cathedral service and a civic send off, for those yellow socks will never be seen at Sincil Bank again.

Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellow

RIP Keith – Imp, Role model inspiration to all and loving father.

Having just lost my father a pen this with two tears in my eyes and my thoughts go out to Keith’s wife Helen their two children Jack and Jenny and his two other sons Paul and Matt.

Stanno Park Football Socks - Yellowthanks to clubline for the lucky yellow socks images click to buy at £3-£4) There or Thereabouts: The Keith Alexander StoryKeith’s book ‘There or Thereabouts comes out this Thursday, written by father of the Imps Rob Bradley with a forward by Sir Trevor Brooking CBE

Club Managed Tenure Played Won Drawn Lost Win Rate
Lincoln City 1/8/93-16/5/94 48 13 13 22 27%
Lincoln City 1/5/02- 24/5/06 213 81 69 63 38%
Peterborough 30/5/06-15/1/07 34 14 7 13 41%
Macclesfield Town 27/2/08-3/3/10 80 25 40 20 29%
Keith Alexander 2.png BIG Keith Alexander RIP
PERSONAL INFORMATION
FULL NAME Keith Alexander
DATE OF BIRTH 14 November 1958
PLACE OF BIRTH Nottingham, England
DATE OF DEATH 3 March 2010 (aged 53)
PLACE OF DEATH Lincoln, England
HEIGHT 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
PLAYING POSITION Centre forward
SENIOR CAREER (LEAGUE GAMES ONLY)
YEARS Team Apps (Gls)
1974 Notts County 0 (0)
1975 Wisbech Town
1975–1976 Arnold Town
1976–1977 Worksop Town
1977 Clifton
1977 Attenborough
1977–1978 Ilkeston Town 17 (1)
1978 Kimberley Town
1978–1979 Alfreton Town 7 (0)
1979–1980 Stamford 51 (13)
1980–1981 Boston United 7 (0)
1981 King’s Lynn 12 (3)
1981–1982 Stamford 43 (11)
1982 Corby Town 2 (1)
1982–1983 Spalding United 37 (18)
1983 Boston Town 0 (0)
1983 Grantham Town 2 (0)
1983–1984 King’s Lynn 12 (1)
1984–1986 Kettering Town 74 (11)
1986 → Wisbech Town (loan) 6 (4)
1986–1988 Barnet 72 (22)
1988–1990 Grimsby Town 83 (26)
1990 Stockport County 11 (0)
1990–1994 Lincoln City 45 (4)
1994–1996 Mansfield Town 3 (0)
1995 → Cliftonville (loan) 7 (2)
1996 Ilkeston Town 0 (0)
NATIONAL TEAM
1990 Saint Lucia 3 (0)
TEAMS MANAGED
1993–1994 Lincoln City
1995–2000 Ilkeston Town
2000–2001 Northwich Victoria
2002–2006 Lincoln City
2006–2007 Peterborough United
2008–2010 Macclesfield Town

Keith Alexander Remembered – A Lincoln, Grimsby, Peterborough, Macclesfield and Stockport Hero

Two years ago this very day I penned an obituary for Keith Alexander who had died leaving his family and of course extended family –  the fans of Lincoln City, Grimsby Town, Peterborough United and Macclesfield Town with a massive void that we can never ever fill. He died having just returned from  a game at Notts County, leaving Gary Simpson his friend and confidant to show the sort of character only a genuine and modest man could. Keith died on this day two years ago in the early hours of the morning as a result of a brain bleed from a long standing condition, having only returned to work two weeks before. He was and still is a giant of the working mans game.

Thank you for reading – Neil Gentleman-Hobbs. 

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Matt Alexander: “If he was looking down and saw the reaction that followed his death and how valuable people thought he was, he would be smiling. He would realise that all his hard work had paid off.”

*****

Dunholme`s famous son, Keith Alexander a legend in Lincolnshire to great rivals Grimsby and Lincoln fans alike,  was a man who made financial mountains from Football molehills. A true football man, magician and gentleman with an eye for talent in a game that offers few chances to overcome the odds, finally gave into them in the early hours of this morning. Irony upon ironies, that his long term condition would finally defeat him after a match against his first Chairman of Football`s new club Notts County. This match on a day when another of his jewels, wide boy Boyd had left Peterborough to go to Nottingham Forest for big money, shows that Keith`s footprint as a man and a manager will loom large over football for years to come. It is only just as being in the service of Football was his life from cradle to grave.

‘Keith’ as Gary Simpson said to me today ‘is a brilliant bloke, a friend to everyone and a trail blazer for the black community. Keith`s been overcoming the odds all his life when you think about it.’

Amen to that as the 6 foot four inch no nonsense centre forward spent 21 seasons as a player taking in 23 football clubs, making regular Football League appearances at Lincoln, Grimsby Town and Stockport County, before temporarily suspending his playing career with the Imps after the 1992-93 season. After a short spell as manager where we played some passing though unsuccessful football, he played a few more games for Mansfield Town before popping over to Northern Ireland with Cliftonville. It was here that he would get a good understanding of the Irish game which would serve him well in management. His career highlights include scoring as Stamford won the FA Vase in 1980 in a 2-0 win at Wembley as well as playing 3 internationals for St. Lucia in 1990.

Keith was handed his first managerial role by Imps chairman John Reames (RIP) but after less than a year in charge he was replaced by the chairman himself with KA returning to playing. Though the spell gave no real indication of his great managerial skills it did set a landmark with KA becoming the first black professional football manager in British football. When Keith finally hung up his boots as a semi pro his final club Ilkeston Town gave him the manager`s job in 1995. In 1997-98 he got them promoted as runner-up from the Southern Midland Division to the Premier Division. Northwich Victoria then poached Keith over to Cheshire in 2000-01 which is where he formed knowledge of the local leagues that he would extend to the Mid Lincs league as Alan Buckley brought him in as assistant manager of the Imps just in time for the admin.

Keith stayed on and took the hot seat in May 2002 and was unfazed by the cull as high earners Ian Hamilton, Kingsley Black and Justin Walker were moved on along with record appearance holder Grant Brown and the experienced David Cameron and Steve Holmes. This time he would be able to draw on non League expertise and an eye for talent that would serve him well throughout his managerial career. Simon Yeo came in with Ben Futcher and Simon Weaver, Richard Butcher and Dene Cropper joining the five players Keith was able to retain – Mazza, Morgs, Gainy and our gallivanting wingbacks Bimmo and Bailey. The attacking direct style ensured we battled our way back finishing the season with a playoff final defeat 2-5 to Bournemouth. Rob Bradley who put his house up still has tears in his eyes (as do I as I pen this) when he recalls the 15,000 Imps who poured into the Millennium stadium when they opened the gates that day. We didn`t lose we proved we had survived and come back from the dead.

We started the following season slowly with the unpopular sales of Mayo to Watford and Bimmo choosing to go to Cambridge United, but Keith and sidekick Simmo knew what they were doing with McCombe, Richardson, GTF (Gary Taylor-Fletcher), Franny Green and Kevin yes Ellison on loan. In the November Gary Simpson, himself a knowledgeable football man, would come into his own when Keith suffered the cerebral aneurysm that would sadly prove his ultimate undoing. A lifesaving operation saw him return to work in the February (2004) as a Sincil surge saw us make the playoff semi finals losing out to Peter Jackson`s Huddersfield. The following season Keith brought in Gareth McAuley and Ciaran Toner as we again made the play off final losing this time to Southend, with both goals coming in extra time. While Keith signed a three year deal that summer Yeo, Butcher, Gain, and GTF left the club. Despite this and Keith being put on gardening leave we still made the playoffs this time losing to Grimsby in the semis.

It was of little surprise to see KA become the new Peterborough manager on May 30th 2006 on a 4 year deal. He joined old friend and ex boss Barry Fry who always had a soft spot for the lad even when his desire to stay match fit got beyond a joke. Such was Keith`s love for the game that back in 87 Barry had to ban him from playing for a local Lincolnshire team every Sunday. You can see Keith enjoying playing uphill at Barnet such was his determination throughout his life to overcome adversity. Peterborough would see that Keith Alexander and Gary had not lost their touch when it came to unearthing talent as George Boyd, Aaron Mclean, Craig Mackail-Smith and Craig Morgan were signed. It was a travesty that Posh`s owner sacked him on 15 January 2007 following 6 straight league defeats that saw them sit 8th in the league.

Keith was then hired as a director of Football to advise rookie Bury manager Chris Casper in May 2007 a tenure that lasted until14 January 2008. A month later Keith and Gary Simpson were back together proving miracles can still happen in football at Macclesfield Town. One point from relegation with the smallest budget in League football they astounded the 1500 faithful and the critics. Four wins three draws and two defeats ensured they stayed up and confounded the critics with a mixture of youth loans and chewing gum and string.

Going back to what Simmo said at the start of this obituary ‘He`s s a brilliant bloke, a friend to everyone and a trail blazer for the black community. Keith`s been overcoming the odds all his life’

How many managers could do what Keith did in his life? From no money at Lincoln to a £500,000 a year budget at Macclesfield, knowing what he had inside him would defeat him in the end. Keith just got on with what he was given, inspired others and succeeded. Surely one of our own should be honoured with a Cathedral service and a civic send off, for those yellow socks will never be seen at Sincil Bank again.

RIP Keith – Imp, Role model inspiration to all and loving father.



This will have been a dreadful shock to his wife Helen their two children Jack and Jenny and his two other sons Paul and Matt. Our condolences and, our thoughts are with Keith`s family at this very difficult time.

Club Managed Tenure Played Won Drawn Lost Win Rate
Lincoln City 1/8/93-16/5/94 48 13 13 22 27%
Lincoln City 1/5/02- 24/5/06 213 81 69 63 38%
Peterborough 30/5/06-15/1/07 34 14 7 13 41%
Macclesfield Town 27/2/08-3/3/10 80 25 40 20 29%
Keith Alexander 2.png
BIG Keith Alexander RIP
Personal information
Full name Keith Alexander
Date of birth 14 November 1958
Place of birth NottinghamEngland
Date of death 3 March 2010 (aged 53)
Place of death LincolnEngland
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Playing position Centre forward
Senior career (League games only)
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974 Notts County 0 (0)
1975 Wisbech Town
1975–1976 Arnold Town
1976–1977 Worksop Town
1977 Clifton
1977 Attenborough
1977–1978 Ilkeston Town 17 (1)
1978 Kimberley Town
1978–1979 Alfreton Town 7 (0)
1979–1980 Stamford 51 (13)
1980–1981 Boston United 7 (0)
1981 King’s Lynn 12 (3)
1981–1982 Stamford 43 (11)
1982 Corby Town 2 (1)
1982–1983 Spalding United 37 (18)
1983 Boston Town 0 (0)
1983 Grantham Town 2 (0)
1983–1984 King’s Lynn 12 (1)
1984–1986 Kettering Town 74 (11)
1986 → Wisbech Town (loan) 6 (4)
1986–1988 Barnet 72 (22)
1988–1990 Grimsby Town 83 (26)
1990 Stockport County 11 (0)
1990–1994 Lincoln City 45 (4)
1994–1996 Mansfield Town 3 (0)
1995 → Cliftonville (loan) 7 (2)
1996 Ilkeston Town 0 (0)
National team
1990 Saint Lucia 3 (0)
Teams managed
1993–1994 Lincoln City
1995–2000 Ilkeston Town
2000–2001 Northwich Victoria
2002–2006 Lincoln City
2006–2007 Peterborough United
2008–2010 Macclesfield Town


RIP Richard Butcher – Magpie, Posh, Cobbler Silkman & Forever Imp

With a memorial to commemorate his life set to be unveiled next Sunday, here is an obituary for Lincoln City, Notts County, Peterborough United, Northampton Town and Macclesfield Town midfielder Richard Tony Butcher, who died at just 29 a year ago today on the 9th January.

On Saturday evening Gary Simpson dedicated the 2-2 draw against Bolton to Richard Butcher.  His untimely death was of course the second tragedy to hit the Silkmen within a year, with manager Gary Simpson a friend of both Keith Alexander and ‘Butch’. In a further ironic twist Richard was the last Macc player to see Keith when he drove Maccs ex Imps back to Lincoln after the Notts County match on the night of his own tragic death.

Whilst managers up and down the country made multi million signings in the Summer Simmo snapped up an old mate as his big dream signing of the summer following a successful loan spell where the Silkmen evaded the drop last year in some style following the death of Keith Alexander.

Richard was found dead at his home yesterday after Macc officials became alarmed that he had not come into training. With his wife, Sarah, away on commitments great mate and Gaffer Gary Simpson rang to see if there was a problem. Butch was normally one of the first in and the last to leave, never missed a session and was a proactive role model for the youngsters.

Though a post mortem is yet to be carried out an enlarged heart may well be the source of the untimely death of a ‘brilliant bloke’ who had only recently married in July. Richard had collapsed over dinner about a year ago and spent time in Lincoln hospital but he was more than capable of continuing as a full time athlete.

Fans thrilled at the box to box skills of goal scoring midfielder Richard Butcher who never quite managed to play for home town club Northampton, moving instead to Rushden & Diamonds. He impressed in his debut withKettering Town who signed him at the end of the season after just 5 chances to impress. Gary then scouted him and Keith Alexander signed him for a Lincoln City side bouncing back from their brush with extinction. He debuted against Rushden on 23rd November 2002 and opened his account against Cambridge a month later.

Butch would be an instrumental part in 3 seasons that saw one semi and two playoff final defeats before Ronnie Moore signed him for Oldham Athletic on a free transfer. Butch had never commanded a fee, instead cleverly choosing to enjoy a larger signing on fee. Things did not work out and in the October he moved back to Lincoln City on loan. Ricky scored one goal in 4 before being recalled by his parent club to finish the season on 39 appearances and 4 goals.

Keith Alexander, then at Posh, signed Butch on 26/6/06 on a free where he would go on to become a popular terrace hero with his energetic box to box style. He would make 49 league and Cup appearances (inc 9 as sub) for Posh, scoring 5 times,  before moving to Notts County. During a trying time for the club Ricky would make 87 league and Cup appearances (inc 6 as sub) scoring 19 times. That goal scoring rate is some average for a midfielder; many would argue it helped keep McParland’s magpies up.

Who can forget the headline Butcher Bounds Back into the Bank as Jacko made him his first summer signing as Joyous July oh month of rumour became reality. Butch was genuinely overjoyed to be back playing for a club and a City he had chosen to continue to live in despite his career commitments. It was not to be, Jacko departed and Chris Sutton arrived.

Butch was initially flavour of the month in the 4-5-1 formation before being discarded. Despite being ever polite he fell from grace to the extent that he would be set the task of running around the training ground as opposed to training with the first team.  Fortunately his old mates at Macclesfield rescued him and took him on loan as he bagged 2 goals in eight appearances. before the Imps recalled him from their relegation rivals who were now higher in the table.

Butch featured in Lincoln’s final 13 games largely as a makeshift bit part player but things would look up this summer. With Sutton looking to free up a diminishing budget Richard negotiated a handsome but fair settlement for his services after a truly awful spell back at a club he deeply loved. It appeared to mark the beginning of a bright new dawn as he and love of his life Sarah, married in the July.

That Lincoln lump sum also allowed big mate Gary Simpson the chance to sign him on much reduced terms despite the advances of two higher paying offers. Despite two minor version of the once career threatening cruciate injuries, Richard scored a nifty close range effort against Bury on New Years day.

What a shame he will not be there with Gary to finish the mission for Keith this season. For despite the odds being stacked against football’s new crazy gang all at the Moss want to not only survive but prosper with perhaps even a playoff punt.

LCM’s thoughts are with his wife and family at this very difficult time and we would ask all at Sincil Bank to chant his name after the minute’s silence or applause.

A life in Stats

Full name Richard Tony Butcher

Date of birth     22 January 1981

Place of birth    Northampton,

Date of death    9 January 2011

Place of death   Manchester,

Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)

Weight 12.07

Playing position Midfielder

 

Career stats

340 games (Lge 315 FAC 15 LC 10)

47 Goals (Lge 45 FAC 2)

 

Career Chronology

Youth

1999-2000 Northampton Town

1999–2000 Northampton Town           0          (0)

2000–2001 Rushden & Diamonds        2          (0)

2001–2002 Kettering Town     44        (13)

2002–2005 Lincoln City           110      (11)

2005–2006 Oldham Athletic     39        (4)

2005 Lincoln City (loan)           4          (1)

2006–2007 Peterborough United          49        (5)

2007–2009 Notts County         87        (19)

2009–2010 Lincoln City           15        (0)

2010 Macclesfield Town (loan)    8 (2)

2010–2011 Macclesfield Town 8 (1)

John Reames A Chairman, Manager But Above All an Imp

Keith John Reames (19 February 1942 – 6 May 2008)

Many Imp fans will greeted the news of Keith John Reames death in 2008 with great sadness. Though not everyone’s cup of tea, particularly the 12 mangers he sacked, John was a passionate Lincoln fan. Lincoln born and bred, John saw his first game at Sincil Bank as a five-year-old. He would be a regular and fulfill every fans dream, moving from being his granddads terrace companion to grand overlord of Sincil Bank.

 

“John was a very successful and astute business man, and his passion  for LCFC was unquestionable. He was without doubt the major contributor for  securing the grants necessary to make the stadium one of the best in  the lower leagues.”

Mr Keith Roes former Director Lincoln City Football Club

” Like most people would say at this sad time, the news of John passing away has come as a tremendous shock. He was LincolnCitythrough and through and the stadium as we see it today is recognition of the work he did during his time at Sincil Bank. I got to know him when the Trust became involved in the club and during difficult negotiations his passion for the club shone through. It is a sad time for the LincolnCityas well as for all the people who were fortunate to know him. ”

Rob Bradley former Chairman Lincoln City Football Club

John Reames on managers.

“There have been too many managers…..  Allan Clarke a total disaster, real abi;ity but impossible to deal with after a few wins and impossible to find after a few losses…….  Keith Alexander.. great potential but felt I let him down insisting on an experienced assistant……..Sam Ellis…. Our most disappointing manager…..  A great publicist but we needed a coach…… John Beck…. I was naïve enough to think I could control him…..Lincolnhave always had 2 kinds of managers…. Those who have failed elsewhere and ex players who have no idea how to run a relatively large business… neither of these make the greatest sense to me.

‘What the difference is between three minutes to three and five o’clock, I’m not sure.’ – KEITH JOHN REAMES (Lincolnchairman) referring to the perpetual struggle for boards in the lower leagues,

“Greed blights football, the big clubs want to keep all the money, and too many of the wrong people are coming in for the wrong reasons – to make money.” John Reames whilst on the Football league management committee. .

‘What the difference is between three minutes to three and five o’clock, I’m not sure.’ – KEITH JOHN REAMES (Lincolnchairman) referring to the perpetual struggle for boards in the lower leagues,

John Reames originally joined the board of Lincoln City Football Club in 1983. It was called DR Day (Directors Resign Day) when the entire Lincoln City FC board resigned following death threats. Ex Chairman Gilbert Blades was not a popular man to say the least. This action left the club in turmoil for the remainder of that season, with the Imps missing promotion to Division 2. It was also the start of a dramatic decline. We had been relegated from the Football League, just four seasons after being clear leaders of Division 3.

He became Chairman in 1985 taking  over from Denis Houston. John would stay for 15 years making him the longest Lincoln City chairman.  In that span he saw us relegated to the conference despite being the only club in Division 4 to make a profit. We didn’t make that mistake again. We bounced straight back under Colin Murphy, brought back by a John Reames charm offensive. He also manipulated the football stadium grants to our advantage, giving us the stadium we have today. In 1993 Steve Thompson was sacked after missing out on the play-offs by virtue of goal average.  In 1995 he sacked Steve Wicks after only 42 days. In 1997 despite an ongoing war with John Beck the Imps were promoted. Allegedly he told the police where he would be at 3pm and JB was arrested at five to three at Sincil Bank.  Despite huge losses he cobbled together £75,000 to buy Tony Battersby with winger Lee Philpot, and Leo Fortune-West joining on frees. We struggled and dropped like a stone.

In January 1998, he controversially sacked his 12th manager, Shane Westley, and took over himself. Though widely seen at the time as megalomania, the simple truth was that the club could not afford a replacements wages, with lower gates tightening the noose. This may have something to do with dealing with the payoffs of John Beck and Shane Westley as well as the spiralling debt.  The football improved, though we were still relegated. It wasn’t all bad, the following season he even became manager of the month (October 1999), despite players and peers questioning his tactics on and off the field. Few disagreed to his face though.

Reames handed over the managerial reigns to Stant in May 2000. The man with the clipboard finally had the reigns he had been promised. John returned to the boardroom to wrestle with the finances of a club that had lost £1 million over the last 5 years.  In November 2000, after announcing losses of £1.7 million at the AGM, he resigned as chairman of Lincoln City FC.  Rob Bradley, the elected chairman ofLincoln’s Supporters Trust, a director since the summer became football’s first ever supporter-chairman.

John then attempted to take over at Gainsborough Trinity before joining Wrexham. Here he became a whistle blower that saved the Dragon’s stadium. Above all Keith John Reames was a man of principle.

R.I.P. John our condolences go out to you family.

The full list of sacked managers reads – Colin Murphy (1978 -1985 left by mutual consent), John Pickering (July 1985 – Dec 1985), George Kerr (Dec 1985 – Mar 1987), Peter Daniel (Mar 1987 – May 1987), Colin Murphy (July 1987 – May 1990 left by mutual consent), Allan Clarke (June 1990 – Dec 1990), Steve Thompson (Dec 1990 – May 1993), Keith Alexander (May 1993 – May 1994), Sam Ellis (June 1994 – Sept 1995), Steve Wicks (Sept 1995 – Oct 1995 just 42 days), John Beck (Oct 1995 – Mar 1998) and Shane Westley (Mar 1998 – Nov 1998).

Who Was Bert Loxley?

Bert Loxley was a former player, physio and manager  of Lincoln City who passed away in 2008 at the age of 74 following a long illness. 

 

Bert was born in Bonser starting his playing career with the local village school scoring thirty-seven goals in six games. From school football he graduated to the Rowsley and District League, before having trials with Coventry City, Derby CountyandYork City.  Notts County won the race signing him as a professional after a storming display in a trial reserves match against Mansfield Town. Army service, then intervened before Bert made his league debut at the end of the 1955 season against Ipswich Town.

He said: ‘It’s a match I will always remember as I played with that great centre-half Leon Leuty.’

In 1966, after 12 years and 245 games for Notts County,  Bert thought he had hung up his boots, when he joined The Mighty Imps as a member of the training staff. However at the beginning of the 1966-67 season an injury crisis saw him play seven times at number 5, partnering the legendary Jimmy Grummett in the centre of defence. A dislocated elbow in the home game against Wrexham in November finally brought his playing career to a close. He was a loyal servant of the club for 20 years, mainly as trainer/coach and physiotherapist, before leaving as part of the reshuffle after the relegation to the Conference in 1987.  He was even honoured with a testimonial in 1979/80,

Bert was even given the job of manager- coach in the summer of 1970,  and between July 1970-March 1971, City won 11 of his 31 matches in charge. Taking over from talent spotter supreme Ron Gray. Quite how Chairman Dove could sack a man who took us from bottom to just off promotion, beggars belief.  Gray’s talent spotting would be appreciated by Ipswich and Bobby Robson over the next decade as they were promoted, won the league and conqueredEurope.  It would be Bert, however, who unearthed the great Percy Freeman. Having seen Percy play forWest Bromreserves he wasn’t so much taken by his skill…….

“He didn’t look a great player but what really impressed  me was his build. I saw his physique and thought ‘by golly’.  “

He also signed Derek Trevis for £6,000 and the two gelled instantly. We reached the third round of both cup competitions before erratic displays saw him replaced by Herd.  Said Bert afterwards.

“I had known within two or three months that it wasn’t my cup of tea. I like training and physio work but I hated making the tough decisions like telling a player he was not good enough. I had a good set of players under me and we did ok but I was glad to be replaced. I think I was a bit too nice to be a manager.”

I think that sums Bert Loxley up really. A true gentleman of the game.

Imps 0 Aldershot 3 A Last Football League View From The Stacey West

Imps 0 Shots 3 A View from the Stacey West – the match report from a not so biased Imps point of view.

As to whether we Imps will want to read  this final football League ‘A view from the Stacey West’ as much as our Aldershot guests, well that is a question even the silver tongued short armed directors of our beloved club will struggle to answer. Because whatever the arguments over budget size and who is at fault, it was ultimately under this lots stewardship that we came up short.

For the benefit of the visiting 518 Shots – a good effort despite £7 & £3 prices – first the teams & schemes then the match report and then a final look at some football League match stats for we Imps for perhaps quite some time.   For just as water and electricity do not mix, nor does objectivity when the match reporter has tears in his eyes, not to mention fears in his heart for our very future. But let us try shall we for the good of the people’s game.

The teams & schemes………………

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png

 The Imps 4-5-1

Parish

Hughton Green  Watts Anderson


Howell Clapham Fuseini  Keltie (Y) McCallum

 Grimes

Substitutions  71 Hutchinson on for Fuseini 

Substitutes 1 Anyon,  40 Kanyuka, 14 O’Keefe, 26 Kilbey, 10 Broughton, 27 Hutchinson, 39 Spencer

Aldershot Crest.png

Aldershot 4-4-2

1 Young

2 Herd 6 Charles 11 Straker 15 Morris

17 McGlashan (Y) 21 Halls 4 Guttridge 23 Vincenti

12 Hylton 9 Spencer

 Substitutions 71 Connolly on for Spencer 87 Berqvrst 0n for Connolly 87 Mekki on for McGlashan

Substitutes 31 Clement, 16 Fortune, 24 Berqvrst, 08 Harding, 35 Mekki, 19 Connolly, 25 Sills

But to the game Footy fans, to the game………….

The scene was set as the Imps kicked off, making for the red and white sea of the Stacey West, as one, for we are the Mighty Imps, ever more so in our darkest hours. The nervous young charges were cagey, nervous,  perhaps taken back by the cacophony of noise from the 7400 partisan Passionistas and the packed Co Op and Echo stand. McCallum’s rousing, rasping 25-yarder down Young’s throat at least broke an opening littered with errors and stoppages. The atmosphere was incredible which more than can be said for the football. But a draw would do we reasoned as long as the Horse and artful Dodger’s Valiants did not yield on the Underhill slope.

The game finally came to life on 27 minutes when Clapham coordinated a slick passage of passing that saw Grimes fire a rising effort just over the home end bar.  He had another effort deflected for a corner as the tempo quickened, the pride and the passion flowing through Imps veins and throats. Alas Charles then picked Grimes pocket as the Shots exposed our vulnerability to a counter. Watts stopped Spencer unfairly as we got a look at the versatile Gutteridge’s gifts for the first time with the wall doing its job well. McCallum and Hughton then exchanged passes before the former played to Fuseini who made the keeper work to a roar not witnessed since the playoffs.

The smell of fear filled the nostrils a moment later as Charles put Halls’ corner just wide down the other end. Parish then kept us in it, denying Hylton magnificently, only for the loose ball to fall to the feet of Vincenti. Green blocked his effort before Clapham put life and limb on the line to block McGlashan following up for scraps. The foe was certainly gaining the upper hand and we would be pleased to go in at half time with 0-0 scores both here at Sincil Bank and down the way at Barnet.

No changes at half time, or so we though as news of a penalty filtered through from Underhill.  The joys of mobile phones are no different to transistor radios when it comes to heartbreaking news, but you can’t beat the second half of the double whammy unfolding right in front of your very eyes.  It was hell on earth as Aldershot seemed to gain strength from the energy and belief draining from us. Parish flapped again, Vincenti headed goal wards, and the Stacey West gasped as Green cleared off the line under our very noses.  It got worse as McGlashan roasted Anderson  before being adjudged to have been felled by Clapham’s challenge. Hylton sent Parish the wrong way from 12 yards with us but anther 20 from the rippling net. A dagger to the heart, with the Impdom hurled into a torrent of darkness tossed into the deep Blue Square Sea.

The roar of defiance galvanised the Imps with Howell shooting wide. McCallum also wasted an effort when the composure and class of Clapham would have been his, and Impdom’s best option, for some salvation. But then we had suffered this for most of the 31 games under Tilson plus Sutton before him. Even with 5 in midfield they were still dominating the possession and getting forward at will. Gutteridge won the ball and charged forward before smashing the ball home for the Shots second of the afternoon on 69 minutes.  He deserves some credit but we were down and as usual the visitors were dancing on our graves in our own back yard.  You could feel the tears in the texts going backwards and forwards hoping that Barnet might cave in to a Vale equaliser.

A last role of the dice then as Hutchinson came on for busted flush Fuseini, as we went 4-4-2. The Celtic reject for the east London busted flush, would it work for 3 relegations a charm Tilson, now with just trapdoor Broughton as an option on the bench?  All were on their feet as McCallum typically miss hit only for it to fall to the feet of goal machine Grimes.  Alas he fluffed his lines firing over from five as all returned to their seats heads in hands in the stands. It was dire in Lincolnshire with us well in the mire. Grimes then headed and chipped wide as some Imps openly cried.

We failed to appreciate the move of the match as Connolly (oh for peeler Oakes) played a peach of a pass to  the gifted Gutteridge to put us to the sword;  banging home his brace with a smile and some style.  With the extra time and two subs for the visitors it gave those who stayed seven more Sincil football League minutes to savour. Do us a favour? We are now down with the Cods and the Stags and the Minstermen and desperately in need of a saviour. Forget the Sincil spin, news of Barnet’s 1-0 win brought home the Blue Square and the **** we are in.

A horse a horse my kingdom for a horse – Or perhaps a mule, for from top to bottom we need a Murphy, a miracle and quick.

Lincoln City 0 – 3 Aldershot (HT 0-0)

                                         Hylton (pen) 57 Guttridge 69 & 86

 

                                                             7,932 (518 Shots) 

Ref: Moss

                                                                     Possession

 
Lincoln City 38% Aldershot 62%

 
Attempts on target

Lincoln City 2 Aldershot 3

 
Attempts off target

Lincoln City 7 Aldershot 3

 
Saves

Lincoln City 0 Aldershot 3

 
Corners

Lincoln City 5 Aldershot 5

 
Fouls

Lincoln City 10 Aldershot 7

 
Offsides

Lincoln City 2 Aldershot 1

 
Yellow Cards

Lincoln City 1 Aldershot 1