Gary Simpson given 3 years ? ‘Why’ or for many readers ‘Who’ you ask? But his talent stretches to Taylor Fletcher (Blackpool), McAuley (West Bromwich Albion) Hewitt (Ipswich Town) McLean, Mackail-Smith & Boydd (Peterborough and Brighton). Indeed it spans the top five Leagues. Peterborough United (£5 million) and Macclesfield (£1.3m plus) are still reaping the rewards of Gary Simpson’s eye for talent spotting which illustrates his ability to do it again and again. With Gary now 2-1 favourite for the Lincoln City job, is he about to do it at the club he calls his spiritual home
Gary Simpson has earned his three year deal at Lincoln City, doing it the hard way after guiding certain relegation candidates to a late reprieve The Imps have a long overdue real football man back man at the heart of the club, who puts player development and the game first – priorities that resonate with supporters. Gary uses a budget wisely and creates his own money. The number of players he has spotted, developed and sold on is staggering, but it is just the start for the Imps. The Lincoln City board are lucky to have him and they know it. No wonder Vadaine Oliver can’t wait for a full season under him.
The need is not only for someone to restore pride, but also to build his own budget and put the clubs bank balance back in the black. Is Simmo’s talent spotting the answer? Why not ask Taylor Fletcher (Blackpool), McAuley (West Bromwich Albion) Hewitt (Ipswich Town) McLean, Mackail-Smith & Boydd (Peterborough and Brighton), Tyrone Barnett (£350k), Shaun Brisley (£25ok + addons), Emile Sinclair (£200K + add-ons), Elliott Hewitt (£150K + add-ons) Hamza Bencherif (£50K), Colin Daniel (£50k), George Donnelly (£20K + add-ons) and Ben Tomlinson or Ben Mills who both went for 5 figures plus lucrative add-ons. He also inspired a double cup run, all based on a comparable budget to the Imps. Those transfers ensured Macc made a profit for the first time in Christendom and perhaps explained why the Silkmen went down. King blew that windfall before getting sacked.
Gary has already won back some of the fanbase with between 500 and 850 travelling to recent away games and a good thousand on the home gates. This a fan-base he and Keith Alexander built only for it to be almost destroyed. He has and will ensure the Imps look up to no one and give it their all. He inspires – take the Imps survival, the cup win at Hull, a draw with Bolton (2 mins away from the win), where he narrowly lost the replay. So he has the credentials and, in his own words ’deep love for Lincoln City and a desire to finish what he and Keith came so close too’. That is what we want and need along with the scrapping of 44 week contracts to ensure we get the money we deserve from his player development over the next 3 years.
The quiet man in the partnership with Keith Alexander, Gary’s love of the game, judgement and ability to work with what he has got, is as touching as his deep and genuine love for the way the game should truly be played, coached and managed. You need fresh mud in your studs and a desire to do the miles, give the smiles and to convert young lads by teaching and gently preaching. Not only can Simmo turn water into rapidly maturing wine, but Sheffield’s softly spoken son has what is really needed in the current harsh environment – he can turn a quid into seven, which with add-ons can even exceed a bakers dozen.
Gary learned to take rejection at Stoke before going on to be a legend at Boston as a player. He finished at Gainsborough and was eager to take his coaching badges. Initially the managership mantel was thrust upon him at Gainsborough Trinity whilst still a player, then Lincoln and Macclesfield Town. Simmo was caretaker at the Imps and Silkmen, before getting the job full-time at Macc, filling the blues shoes vacated by legend, mate and mentor Keith. Gary’s eleven match spell at the Imps saw five wins, four draws and two defeats. His 45% success rate, is something they would dearly love now, not to mention the talent spotting that turns pennies into pounds and truly astounds.
Peterborough have made millions from selling players he spotted and coached, as well as no doubt benefiting from two more of his Macc prodigal sons this season, having signed Sinclair and Brisley. Macc also received fees for Hewitt (Ipswich), Donnelly (Rochdale), Daniel and Tomlinson, that paved the way for new Silkmen supremo and successor King’s spending splurge.