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Two Foxes In The Box Will Get Lincoln back on track

Leicester City were forced to release Adi Yussuf due to an injury that had all but wrecked his Burton and Lincoln City careers until a one hour run out saw him beat the pain barrier at last. The return of Tomlinson this week suggests the Imps will have two foxes in the box and some much needed pace against ambitious Kidderminster Harriers for another David V Goliath encounter for the Imps.

Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

Lincoln City F.C. badge.png Leicester City logo

Having impressed at the Leicester City Youth Academy under the Direction of John Rudkin and ex-Imp Trevor Peake (ex-Imp Nicky Eaden is also there as a coach) Adi was worth a 3 year youth deal at 16.  He was a regular in the U18′s and reserves, before going on loan to Tamworth at just 17. It was of no surprise as his trademarks, explosive acceleration and power, see him get behind defences to lethal effect. Alas that has been his downfall,  with the mystery injury leading to an abundance of hamstring and other strain injuries, seeing him sit out seasons that have looked promising.

Leicester City expected great things of Adi before injury wrecked his chances at the Walkers Stadium. Ditto gary Simpson who has stuck with the exciting talent who is learning to beat the pain barrier in order to keep his professional dream alive. His surprise start against Aldershot shows he is winning the battle which would be fantastic news for the Imps if he can.   Adi has the pace and shooting ability to ransack defences in this division and that vital hour was a simply massive step for a lad who can give the Imps the pace we need if he can get the ball to feet.


Ben Tomlinson is also set to return against the Harriers, giving the Imps the predatory Fox in the box we need to get amongst the flying boots to put away the chances that change games and will give the most resilient team in the Conference something to hold on to.  If Ben had played last week that penalty might not have proved so decisive, with perhaps his sixth goal of the season giving the Imps all three points. It was that kind of game in difficult conditions where fortune so often favours the brave. They certainly come no braver than Tomo who has gone alone all season to triumph in the face of overwhelming odds.


Adi Yussuf, if given a little time and lack, could well be the missing link the Imps are looking for in their quest for goals. He is not a target man, realistically our budget will be hard pushed to find a regular one, but he and Tommo can still get the goals Lincoln need to see them there or thereabouts.

Hatters & Grimsby Town In Cup Would Have Made Trinity’s Season

When Rushall Olympic beat Stockport County to line up a date at Grimsby Town in the 4th Qualifying round of the FA Cup STMI’s thoughts went out to Gainsborough Trinity and young Imp Jordan Thomas. Ditto  Stockport County, a club with a fantastic fan-base that incredibly continues to endure an existence on a par with a train crash.  Surely someone will get to the root of the problem and come up with the answer soon? The Conference is the poorer without them as is the Football League.

Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

Gainsboroughtrinityfc.png Grimb Badge.png  Lincoln City F.C. badge.png

An away tie at Grimsby Town would have been worth at least £20,000 to Trinity, this after a trip to Stockport that Rushall went on to win. Jimmy Turner bent a 30-yard free-kick into the top corner in the 63rd minute to send the 55 visiting supporters mad in front of the sixth tiers biggest congregation by far.  Having comprehensible beaten Rushall 2-0 in the previous round Trinity could have every reason to expect a win with the reward of a Lincolnshire derby at Grimsby Town, one of the three best supported clubs in non-league football.

A crowd of 2185 at Stockport would have been boosted by expectant Blues fans and if one includes £7,500 prize for the winners Trinity could reasonably have expected to earn £20,000 from the tie.  However an admin blunder saw them booted out of the Cup, stripped of the £4,500 from the previous round and has ultimately cost them tens of thousands.  Even if Trinity had got hammered at The Mariners the Cup run would have yielded the club close to £50,000 pounds.

Trinity have not had the best of things lately seeing their cloth cut dramatically after Peter Swann finally threw in the towel. Ongoing issues with the Blues Club and ground ownership as well as obstacles to a vaunted new stadium saw him take his vast fortunes to Scunthorpe Utd. This ended a promising era for the Blues, in turn, ushering in an alarming start to the season with an unwanted 100% record of five successive defeats. Worrying times for a team that had never seen relegation in their entire history, although they failed re-election in 1911-12 at the expense of local rivals Lincoln City.

In a desperate bid to stop the rot and part the clouds of gathering gloom manager Steve Housham signed almost every striker in Christendom and the wins came with 4 wins and a draw seeing The Blues climb from the relegation zone to mid-table. However just as luck seemed to be turning the loan for Jordan Thomas from the Imps and his subsequent inclusion in the team for the Rushall game ultimately sealed their fate.  Trinity unable to file the necessary paperwork by 12 noon, due to a lack of available personnel, relied on Lincoln City to send the paperwork to the relevant football authorities.

According to the findings of the appeal this was never received even though the Imps maintain the documents were sent at 10.19. No one, it appears, chased the authorities to ensure that the documents had been correctly processed, which given the circumstances and parties involved was perhaps easier said than done, but Trinity have apologised to fans and are in the process of an internal enquiry to get to the bottom of exactly what went wrong.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but ultimately this and a day out at Cleethorpes would have softened the blow of Peter Swann’s departure and provided vital funds to keep the club going.

Fall From Grace For Walsall Winger Who Snubbed Imps

Walsall loaned Jake Jones to Lincoln but he snubbed us for Tamworth FC and now finds himself farmed out on loan to Kings Lynn. However the ambitious club back from the dead, faced disappointment yesterday in the lucrative FA Cup when they lost 3-2 against Marine with ex-Imps cast-offs Mills, Duffy and Mulready in the side.  Will the Linnets be in a position to fund his loan for the month let alone extend it and help him stat in the game?

thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.


LogoLincoln City F.C. badge.pngLogo

Jones, a left-winger, came through the Saddlers’ youth system and was given a one year pro-deal before earning a six-month extension. He played just three times for Walsall going on loan to local side Redditch United and then the those 13 appearances at the Imps. After a successful spell he verbally agreed to become Gary Simpson’s first signing, describing the move as ‘a no brainer’ but then joined The Lambs to the delight of manager Belford who said at the time:

“Jake is an exciting young talent and I am delighted he has agreed to join us. Lincoln thought he was going to sign for them and jumped the gun a bit. We had spoken to Jake and I was always keen to get him on board. He represents a real coup for this club. He’s a local lad who has been in and around the Walsall first team squad for couple of years now. He has featured for the first team several times so he has good experience for a young player. I think he’s someone our fans will enjoy watching. I think he will excite the fans. He is very quick and lively, left footed and likes to get forward as much as possible. I think, having been released by Walsall, he feels he has a point to prove next season. He wants to be playing regular football and wants a full season to show what he can do. I think it’s going to be a big year for him and I can’t wait to work with Jake.”

But after just three appearances for Tamworth, including a goal against Wrexham he is way down the pecking order behind Mark Wright and on-loan Port Vale attacker Ryan Lloyd.  Jake, for all his promise, is now down to proving himself on-loan at Kings Lynn in the Northern Premier League, two further levels down the pyramid and desperate for a break. After Wright’s first start on his return from injury it is unlikely that Simmo will throw a lifeline to one who snubbed him after he had been prepared to give him a second chance? He did seem to get the best out of a lad who has undeniable ability, yet does not seem to be able to fit in for some reason or other.

Is Former Leicester & Burton Striker Losing Imps Injury Battle

Leicester City expected great things of Adi Yussuf, but injury wrecked his chances, ditto Tamworth FC, Burton Albion and perhaps now Lincoln City. Following ground breaking treatment he had been expected to have a run out at Sleaford on 3rd September, but he was forced to pull out at the last minute as another strain ruled him out. Sadly it appears lady luck is still failing to finally smile on a player who has the ability and desire to get a second chance at championship level?

Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.

Leicester City logo Burton Albion crestLincoln City F.C. badge.png 

Having impressed at the Leicester City Youth Academy under the Direction of John Rudkin and ex-Imp Trevor Peake (Nicky Eaden is also there as a coach) Adi was given a 3 year youth deal at 16.  He was a regular in the U18′s and reserves, before going on loan to Tamworth at just 17 but loan was cut short through injury after 2 goals (Eastbourne & Harriers) and 2 assists (Darlo & Harriers again) in just 6 starts.  Sven-Göran Eriksson wielded the axe as Adi left along with 10 others.

Manager Paul Peschisolido rated Adi highly enough to give him a one year deal after  an exciting pre-season . The 18 year old bided his time, scored in the 6-3 demolition of Barnet during the 2011/12 season, but failed to break into the starting line-up, with injury providing as big an obstacle as competition.  Last season was a similar story with just 3 starts, plus 8 from the bench, before injury curtailed any first team involvement from October, leading to his release in May.

Simmo also saw enough in another promising pre-season showing that was again good enough to earn him a one year deal.  It was of no surprise as his trademarks, explosive acceleration and power, see him get behind defences to lethal effect. Alas that has been his downfall,  with the mystery injury leading to an abundance of hamstring and other strain injuries, seeing him sit out seasons that have looked promising.

He has one leg slightly longer than the other leading to pain and regular strains, such as hamstring pulls which clearly hamper a large part of his natural game. It had been hoped that injections and a modification to his boots might help, but thus far he has been unable to make a single Skrill Premiership appearance, suggesting the lad, who looked brilliant in pre-season may well have to give up the game for good.  Adi, can only go one of two ways now, either finally breaking the injury sequence, or  being forced to retire from the game at just 20 years of age.

Adi’s Stats 2012/13
No NAME Starts Sub Mins Goals Shots Assists Fouls Fouled YC RC
18 Adi Yussuf 3 8 409 1 14 0 11 6 1 0
Adi’s Stats 2011/12
No NAME Starts Sub Mins Goals Shots Assists Fouls Fouled YC RC
18 Adi Yussuff 2 17 473 1 9 1 11 4 0 0
Yussuf, Abdillahie.jpg Thanks for the pic WIKIPEDIA
FULL NAME Abdillahie Yussuf
DATE OF BIRTH 3 October 1992 (age 20)
PLACE OF BIRTH Zanzibar, Tanzania
HEIGHT / WEIGHT 6′ 1″ (1.85m) 11 st 13 lb (76 kg)
YOUTH CAREER Leicester City
IMPS CONTRACT 1 year (plus option)
YEARS Team Apps
2008–2011 Leicester City 0 (0)
2011 Tamworth (loan) 10 (2)
2011–2013 Burton Albion 25 (1)
2013– Lincoln City 0 (0)


Imps, Leicester & Ipswich, McAuley Still going Strong at WBA

WBA stalwart and former Leicester City and Ipswich Town captain and centre-half Gareth McAuley is enjoying a wonderful Indian summer. One of Lincoln manager Gary Simpson’s early spots, The Imps are incredibly the only club to pay money for a player who has been  priceless for The Baggies, The Foxes, The Tractor Boys and his country.  Gareth has played 46 times for Northern Ireland. What is more intriguing and, perhaps even a return to his roots, is that at 33 he is rediscovering the goal touch, Gareth has 3 in 3, that he learned when he was converted from a defender to a striker all those years ago.

Lincoln City F.C. badge.pngLeicester City logoIpswich Town.svgWest Bromwich Albion crest 

Gareth McAuley was loved and admired at Lincoln. Originally spotted By Simmo and Oaksey during a Northern Ireland scouting mission the previous season, Keith Alexander signed him in the summer of 2004/5.  Gareth had been playing for Coleraine in Londonderry and was part of the Northern Ireland route that would serve Keith and Simmo over the years.

Gareth almost went to Stockport, then under the stewardship of former Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy, who had capped him at B level.  But with the lad on trial at Edgeley Park and on the verge of signing Big Keith nipped in with a two-year deal and offered Coleraine £10k up front plus a slice of any sell-on fee.  Gareth played as one of Keith’s odd defender cum target-man strikers, then a centre-back and a wing back as Dean West and Bloomer tired.  His two-goals, one in each leg  of the 2-1 aggregate win over Macclesfield in the 2005 play-off semi-final were vital.

Gareth gave Lincoln the lead to edge a frenetic home first leg 11 minutes in. Sandwith floated a free-kick, Gareth flew and, almost in a slow motion ‘matrix’ moment, the header crept into the bottom corner. In the return his towering header from a Taylor-Fletcher centre  crossed the line despite the valiant efforts of the Macc defence.   Gareth did not sign a deal the following season, one that also saw Keith Alexander move to Peterborough, allowing Leicester to get him on a free.

His class deserved higher, we knew that, with Leicester offering him the Captaincy during his second season at the club.  Ipswich did make two bids during the 2008 January window  but the Foxes offered managed to hang on to him for a few months with an improved new 3 year deal.  The Foxes were then relegated allowing Ipswich to get him on a free and he would go on to be a terrific and inspirational captain before moving to WBA when his contract was allowed to run down as a 31-year-old in 2011.

West Brom took a bit of a punt with a three year deal in May 2011 but, a three month injury in that first season apart, he went on to complete 44 games last season. Gareth was voted Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year last term but this season promises to be even better. He has started every Premiership game, scored in both Northern Ireland’s World Cup defeats last week and now earned a point against Fulham.

STMI Biopic: Gareth McAuley

Gareth McAuley.jpg

thanks for the pic WIKI

The tale of the tape
Full name Gareth Gerald McAuley
Date of birth 5 December 1979 (age 33)
Place of birth Larne, Northern Ireland
Height/weight 6 ft 3 in / 11 st
Playing position Centre-half left/right back or striker
Current gig in the game
Current club West Bromwich Albion
Number 23
Senior stats
Years Team Apps
1996–2000 Linfield 0 (0)
1999–2000 Ballyclare Comrades (loan) 7 (0)
2000–2002 Crusaders 64 (3)
2002–2004 Coleraine 65 (4)
2004–2006 Lincoln City 784 (10)
2006–2008 Leicester City 84 (7)
2008–2011 Ipswich Town 127 (8)
2011– West Bromwich Albion 78 (6)
2003 Northern Ireland B 1 (0)
2005– Northern Ireland 46 (4)
stats inc League & cup competitions

Dartford Look Easier Than Wrexham’s Bubble Derby V Chester.

Lincoln can continue their best start for 6 years with a first away win at improving Dartford FC, 2-0 victors at Tamworth FC. Wrexham, play Chester FC in non-league’s first bubble fixture (a police escort on official from your home ground to the away one and back – and you only get your ticket when you get off the coach as you go in) will have a harder ordeal you feel even though we are yet to win away and they are pleased to see the back of us. The Imps strangled the Dragons passing football last week but the ferocity of the derby could see them jumping from the frying pan into the fire.  Lose this one and Morrell’s passing Princes will really need to go back to the drawing board and quick.

Old school tabloid hack Vic Erzantartz pulse begins to quicken………………….

Lincoln City F.C. badge.pngLogoChester-fc.svgWrexham FC.png

Simon Yeo scored a penalty in that one a few years ago – up the Wrexham end – and can vouch for the ferocity of the affair, when Wales meets England in the most policed derby, per head, in world football.  The last one he played in saw 500 police with  the capacity restricted to under 5,000.  Chester have been given 1200 tickets for this one  and will want to bounce back from a 1-2 defeat to Forest Green and a 1-3 loss at Kidderminster.

Happier times perhaps for Lincoln City, who have a 100% home record, but just a draw and a defeat on the road. Indeed it is almost the reverse mirror image of the 2006/7 season that saw three (eventually 5 alas ending at Boston 0-1) wins on the road with two draws at home.  The Imps currently have 10 points to the 11 of the Schofield and Deehan season, but are not really getting the credit they deserve it would seem.

Thomlinson has come out and said that teams should start to fear Lincoln and even the manager is confident enough to say we are ready for everyone.  But we should not underestimate a Dartford side who won 2-0 at big spending Tamworth last week to end a run of three defeats to nil.  Dartford do not do draws having won 2 and lost 3. They have won one and lost one at home so far this season and given the Imps form this is unlikely to end up a draw.  The Darts beat Alfreton 1-0 on opening day at their lovely Princes Park venue then lost at home to Braintree 2-0.

We should not count our chickens, but The Imps will be favourites to win this one for a change with Fairhurst, Thomlinson and Rowe already amongst the goals backed by a side brimming with confidence. A hearty 200 plus are set to travel and they will make plenty of noise in a stadium that lends itself well to atmosphere.  Win this one and get the away form going and the Imps will go into the home game with Salisbury fancying their chances for the play-offs this season.

Ex Imp Turns Down Newcastle Job

Ex Imp, Luton, QPR and current Millwall FC assistant manager Mick Harford has snubbed a Newcastle United approach for his services . Big mate and Magpies’ director of football Joe Kinnear was keen to renew their relationship but Mick is wants to continue in a coaching role. Mick bagged 41 in 115 appearances for the Imps before moving to Newcastle for £180,000 in the 1980-81 season after a particularly hot-streak had seen 10 goals in 21 games.

thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

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Thanks for the pic WIKI

Harford said: “After meeting with Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear, I made the hard decision that it is not the right time for me to take up this role. It was an honour to be asked to work at a fantastic club and I have the utmost respect for the Newcastle United and its fans. I’ve been in talks with Millwall over a period of time and just felt it better suited me at the moment. I didn’t feel that at Newcastle.”

Steve Thompson and Mick had been favourites to forge a dream team at Lincoln back in October 2011, but David Holdsworth somehow got the deal during the evening. Allegedly the two had been offered the job, with Tommo calling in the morning to confirm he could sort out digs for Mick.  Holdsworth would go on to operate a revolving door personnel policy,  before being fired last term. Tommo would go on to run a pub, whilst Mick has continued in day to day coaching working for MK Dons before Millwall came calling on 28th June this year.

Mick is the assistant manager at Millwall, but is foremost a great coach, particularly with offensive players, preferring to develop players through day to day involvement.  He has managed at Rotherham and Luton, as well as operating in a caretaker role at QPR (twice) and Nottingham Forest.  He has fantastic contacts within the game and it would have been interesting to see what he could have done at the cash-strapped Imps particularly with the likes of the Youth team, given his stints at QPR, Forest, Rotherham and Luton were during times of financial turmoil.

STMI Biopic
Full name Michael Gordon Harford
Date of birth 12 February 1959 (age 54)
Place of birth Sunderland
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Playing position Striker
Current gig-in-the-game
Current club Millwall (Assistant Manager)
Senior stats
Years Team Apps
1977–1980 Lincoln City 115 (41)
1980–1981 Newcastle United 19 (4)
1981–1982 Bristol City 30 (11)
1982–1984 Birmingham City 92 (25)
1984–1990 Luton Town 139 (57)
1990–1991 Derby County 58 (15)
1991–1992 Luton Town 29 (12)
1992–1993 Chelsea 28 (9)
1993 Sunderland 11 (2)
1993–1994 Coventry City 1 (1)
1994–1998 Wimbledon 60 (9)
Total  11 clubs 582 (186)
National team
1988 England 2 (0)
Teams managed


Club Level From To Record
G W D L Win %
Nottingham Forest (caretaker) Level 2 16 December 2004 1 January 2005 6 2 1 3 33.33
Rotherham United Level 2 7 April 2005 10 December 2005 30 5 9 16 16.66
Queens Park Rangers (caretaker) Level 2 1 October 2007 29 October 2007 5 2 2 1 40.00
Luton Town Level 4 16 January 2008 1 October 2009 91 25 29 37 27.47
Queens Park Rangers (caretaker) Level 2 14 January 2010 1 March 2010 8 1 1 6 12.50

12 Jake Sheridan

Jake Sheridan has put disappointment atNotts County  and Tamworth FC behind him. He is the personification of self-believe and the work ethic, battling all the way from Dunkirk, in truth, there is none more deserving of a new deal at home from home Lincoln City. Jake never lost the faith or his desire, even when he found himself back in factory work. He joined on a pay as you play non contract deal, earned a one year deal last year and a double bubble two year deal this.

After falling from favour at Notts County the midfielder spent a couple of seasons at Tamworth under Gary Mills. But new gaffer Marcus Law  froze him out so  Jake went part-time with Eastleigh.  This lad personifies the virtues of hard graft. He has the determination at the training ground to keep honing his technique and the desire to pick himself up and earn the right to play on the pitch where it really matters. Jake, is a  hard-working  midfielder and a determined genuine soul who is making his dream come true. He even shared a loan spell at the Imps with minimum wage factory commitments prior to his permanent switch in January 2012.  He is not overly blessed but he will give you 100%  and has proved he has enough to make a living from the game at our level.  Let us hope we see more of the creative side of your game Jake, that step over and eye for a shot or pass  does you and us proud.

Jakes Stats 2012/13

No NAME Starts Sub Mins Goals Shots Assists Fouls Fouled YC RC
12 Jake Sheridan 33 10 2989 0 47 4 28 30 8 1

Jakes Stats 2011/12

Sq  Name Starts sub Mins Goals Shots Shots on Assists YC RC
36 Jake Sheridan 10 8 960 0 10 5 0 3 0
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Jake Sheridan
Sheridan, Jake.jpg
FULL NAME Jake Sheridan
DATE OF BIRTH 8 July 1986 (age 25)
HEIGHT 5 ft 10 in (1.76 m)
WEIGHT 11st 6lbs (72.64kg)
CURRENT Deal Lincoln City 2 year contract
YEARS Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2007 Notts County 33 (1)
2007–2011 Tamworth 81 (7)
2011–2012 Eastwood Town 5 (0)
2011–2012 Lincoln City (loan) 4 (0)
2012– Lincoln City 63 (0)

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Crewe Complete Deal for Lincoln & Former Wednesday Striker

Crewe Alexandra have pipped Scunthorpe United and Chesterfield FC for the services of Lincoln City and  former Sheffield Wednesday  striker Vadaine Oliver after a successful medical.  The agreed but undisclosed fee has also avoided the need for a tribunal.

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Vadaine, released by Sheffield Wednesday last summer, wished the Imps well. We at STMI wish him well too. May he fit in with Crewe’s carpet football style and stay free from injury in what looks set to be an exciting first season for him in League 1.


The Imps have done well out of a lad signed on a peppercorn wage by David Holdsworth, before earning a deal until the end of last season. Vadaine scored 13 goals in 22 starts and 19 substitute appearances but shone during the latter part of the season culminating in a hat-trick at Hyde.

Vadaine Oliver’s 2012/13 Impstats

Sq No NAME Starts Sub Mins Goals Shots Assists Fouls Fouled YC RC
14 Vadaine Oliver 22 19 2326 13 81 3 48 38 5 1

Arsenal, Lincoln & The Scent Of Garlic

Arsenal talent-spotting guru Arsene Wenger is not the only manager who knows the French football set-up and its incredible wealth of cheap talent. Arsenal of course have a rumoured nine-figure war chest, but time, experience and the financial climate should see another lad who knows his onions, Gary Simpson follow the Wenger brick road and even the odds a tad for the cash-strapped Imps side.

Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

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Arsene has a greater pressure to deliver this season, even if he is not as spoilt for choice as the media might suggest. Oh the potential column inches afforded by money in the bank boasts and billionaire Kroenke finally threatening to deliver the dream to those renewing season tickets in the Emirates Colosseum. Let us not forget the extended family, woe betide any flagging from the faithful flock, who have an appetite for merchandise and subscription opportunities even if we cannot satisfy our desire for football in the flesh and beyond.

I am no glory hunter, indeed many would suggest I am quite the reverse. As a season-ticket holder for 14 years (my sons first memory was  the first half of the double at Highbury in 97/98), before moving up, it is clear the Gooner sense of frustration is on a par with that of an Imp, even if the zeros on a Lincoln cheque are normally on the pence side of the full stop.   Simmo has it easy then one feels, keeping the Imps up is expected and a play-off tilt would be the dream and he has just £450,000 to do it unless two transfer windfalls come in to round if up to just shy of five! Yet both managers do have things in common and are most certainly prepared to play the waiting game it seems.

Both  are undoubtedly talent-spotting guru’s, with horses for courses dictating that the concept of thoroughbred is relative. Simmo may have been outbid on 3-4 players in  England, whilst Wenger’s own handicap chase is world-wide, but even if the former does not have even the copper in comparison to the Arsenal mountain of gold, the financial climate within the UK and Europe is playing into the hands of two managers who can sort the wheat from the chaff. Poles apart perhaps, but pound for Euro a young Patrick Vieira compares favourably to Mo Fofana at Lincoln, who Simmo feels is worth a new deal.

The Transfer window is a circus, a mad scramble that can lead to expensive miss-fitting Premiership Princes and comparatively cheaper Conference clowns. It may be in full swing, but so is the poker face nature of the waiting game, whether the target  is playing in the Premier or the Football League (granted the Imps sphere of interest is limited to Leagues One and Two). The nature of the professional contract means that players are not only paid until the end of June, but they also get another month on top to boot.  This means many will chance what is colloquially known as the trial season in July in order to get fixed up in August even if the anti can range from peanuts to two hundred ‘longuns’ or bags of sand a week.

Again it is a case of hold or fold for the agent and the manager, but that is when the real bargains can be had.  No transfer fee can mean a bigger signing on fee at the top of the pyramid down to ‘chucking in board and keep’ at the BSP end of things. No, there is absolutely no Truth in Simon Yeo getting a caravan (giving rise to his “Yes but my caravan is bigger than your house” retort to some unfair long nosed gypsy jibes). Smashing lad who also fought for his country as well as playing in the Chester/Wrexham derby.

Both Arsene Wenger and Gary Simpson are familiar with the cost of European players compared to the inflated price of their UK counterparts. Although the PFA have tried to do something about the cheap imports, that are also having an effect on the England team, the incredible amount of talent in and around the Parisian Périphérique makes the mind boggle.  The French equivalent of the M25, it has far fewer top level teams than London, with plenty of players holding EEC passports.  Although Arsene Wenger appears to have the pick of the crop there are literally hundreds of Tony Diagne’s out there to chose from.

Simpson nearly brought three French lads on board before the loan window closed last term, but in his first transfer window proper you can bet he will sample the seedlings. The STMI money is on a striker that will easily replace Vadaine Oliver, a midfielder and maybe even a centre-half that could even dwarf big Bad Ben Futcher, The ex-Imp who blocks out the sky. As for Arsene and Arsenal, please deliver this year, though the football has always been worthy of any wait with the treasure in the weekly, princely passing pleasure.