Deals for a midfielder (John Rooney of Macclesfield and Everton Academy anyone?) and two strikers (Nick Wright of Mansfield Town, Kidderminster, Tamworth and Birmingham FC Academy) appear to be cooking, but the make-up and balance of the Lincoln City side sees the manager in no rush after raiding Stockport County and Macclesfield early doors.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Having done so much early doors the manager has time on his side. Pre-season training may be just 6 working days away but the trial season is coming up with around 1,000 players within our spectrum looking for work. Certainly needle in a haystack and quantity over quality comes to mind, but at least League 1 and League 2 cast-offs will come to us with 2 weeks of fitness training behind them and a fortnight to a month to go until kick-off.
But in reality we cannot be more than 3-4 players from a completed squad. The manager does appear to have lost out on 2-3 players (Clayton, Wedgbury and ex-Captain Cod Miller) and the club may have just had a bid for a striker knocked back, but the balance is there to do Keith & Butch’s memory proud.
The Imps do need a left sided midfielder and cover at left back although Todd Jordan can do both roles. The exciting lad will go from strength to strength this year. Rooney can do that, has two great feet but lacks height and pace. Nick Wright can play on both flanks as well as down the middle and would be a great signing if available – and the budget stretches of course (hint hint Kerching Kerching keep the season ticket sales going). For a tall guy he is not brilliant in the air but he can play in a devastating 3 if we emulate the fantastic 5-2-3 of 2002/3.
Why not? We have two wing-backs that are every bit as committed as Bimmo and Bailey! Brown, Miller and Boyce emulate the heart of Weaver, Futcher and Morgan (Miller can sweep). For Butch and Gain we have an embarrassment of riches in midfield, suggested a 2, a 3, or perhaps even, a 4. Fairhust is a Taylor-Fletcher in the making (GTF from 2003/4 accepted). So just a few missing pieces then for the Rise of The Imps to become a living legend!
Another centre-back, two strikers, a wide-boy and or full/wing-back on the left and a keeper to go then. Surely the cash from Crewe, the trialists and Simmo’s contact list will find us that. No one fancied us to come back from the dead in 2002/3 and be at Cardiff but we did. Crowds grew the coffers swelled and 15,000 turned up at the Millennium in May. We may not be going there but be there or be square because Sincil Bank’s bouncing back! Back Simmo’s Six-Foot Sincil Soldiers. Sharpen your horns shine your hooves hoist up the Lincoln flag, hear the Red Imps sing, because the Rise of the Imps could be one of the best trips we have ever been on.
The power of belief is a wonderful thing. Ask any single parent juggling two jobs, or a young lad kicking a punctured ball around a dilapidated estate. The vision coupled with the hunger to win is what the football factory dream is all about.
thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Gary Simpson has raised the bar again at Sincil Bank, challenging his team to see out the season unbeaten. A tough ask but why not?
What a change around it has been, for a side once on the slide, who are still just 4 points off the drop. This despite showing unprecedented form and keeping 3 successive clean sheets. Yes the Kidderminster game is a big ask, but one we do need to come out from with another point taken and proved.
The Imps April looked an impossible task at the beginning of March, prior to Gary Simpson building a belief structure, born of a back-to-basics ‘bloody-minded’ in your face style. For too long Lincoln City has been about doffing our caps. Time to change, to man up, to represent our City with pride. Simmo’s six-foot soldiers (bet he would put Power and Taylor in an over-sized shirt or give them stilts if he could) now have a never-say-die attitude that worships the shirt and the city they represent. They back each other, knowing the backing is growing from those who only dream of playing in the stripes of red and white.
Yes the future is bright. Next year you feel, this belief culture will see the rise of the Imps. A decent end to the season will give a blue collar, mud in his studs manager, the war chest he needs to continue the momentum to a play-off place at least. Because the Imps are responding already and season ticket sales will only fuel the Bank’s bounce-back. Over 400 went to Nuneaton and over 450 to Alfreton, on what many have described as a proud day. Little steps some might say but positive ones that give rise to a level of optimism rarely seen in these parts of late.
The pressure of relegation will be replaced by the weight of expectation. But Simpson has broad shoulders and a contacts book rich from the experience of the non-League scene. There will be no shortage of recruits next season you feel, but he will be unlikely to discard too many of this team. Loyalty, as the down to earth and honourable know, works both ways and costs less than journeyman footballers and fly-by-nights.
Win lose or draw at Kidderminster tomorrow, the Imps will be a force to be reckoned with next season. The Old fashioned ethos of team spirit has forged a bond between the players and the fans. We Citizens have since 1884 and, perhaps like the image of the legendary Imp itself, only ever wanted a manager and a team that has the desire to stand shoulder to shoulder with every team we meet. They are our county pride personified on the that Sincil Bank field of dreams that is lush and Lincoln green.