Portsmouth FC aside Plymouth Argyle at Sincil Bank is the best possible prize if Lincoln beat Worcester City in the FA Cup replay on Tuesday. Only Portsmouth FC, Scunthorpe or Notts County would have been a better draw with the Pilgrims set to bring between 500 and a thousand fans to the cash-strapped Imps. Lucky Stevenage host Pompey in what will be a sell-out.
Notts County who have sacked yet another manager, face The Monkeyhangers of Harlepool away and Scunthorpe will contest a Lincolnshire Derby at the Fishy foe of Grimsby Town.
But the Imps have a massive opportunity to face a side who will bring plenty of fans and could well be beaten if we are at our best. Over 2,000 Pilgrims travelled to Rochdale to witness the club dramatically avoid going into the Conference last season with an average take of 729 during the season. Their home support was 7095 last season in a season of struggle, up to 7,171 this. Despite being 18th in League 2 The Pilgrims are the second best supported side in the division compared to Portsmouth’s who have an incredible average of 15,861.
Worcester City will of course be thinking exactly the same thing. With the £12,500 prize money plus the two 4th qualifying Round ties this could boost the cup run for both sides to north of £40-50,000. So every Imp needs to be at Sincil Bank on Tuesday to help ensure a much needed pay-day is ours. Of course a replay against the Pilgrims would be most welcome, its a fabulous stadium and a 7,000 crowd there would be big money for the Imps.
Aldershot have enlisted from Torquay Utd, Southend, Reading FC, Portsmouth FC, Orient, Millwall FC, Exeter City, Burton Albion and Chelsea, who will have the cream of their youth and reserve players there next year will no doubt fill Andy Scott’s remaining three loan slots. With just two strikers, albeit quality new front-men, on the books, it could be an entertaining bounce back to boot.
Thank-you for reading part of STMI’s Skrill Premier Guide by Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
|Position 2012/13||24th L2 (Relegated)|
|STMI Forecast||Playoff Fringes|
When Chelsea agreed a ‘lucrative’ deal to use the Shots’ EBB Stadium, for 25 youth games over the next two seasons (including prestigious European ones as the U19’s will play in Europe), it not only helped to save the club but also ushered in the opportunity for Scott to blood blues youngsters as part of their learning curve . Funds generated from aforementioned deal with the generous London Giants will go towards helping the Shots to service their CVA which has swallowed the £250k parachute payment in one.
A consortium led by 4 former directors and assisted by an outpouring by fans finally agreed a takeover on Aug 1st allowing boss Andy Scott to rush the paperwork round to his new recruits who had been waiting patiently and faithfully in the wings. Peter Jackson did the same thing at Huddersfield and went up via the play-offs a decade ago, so the 10 point deduction may not be such a handicap given the talent coming through the door in the last 5 days. Andy is a terrific manager and began the rebuild and achieved the intial League 2 championship success that has turned Brentford into the force they are today.
England U19 defender Webster and full-back-cum-centre-half Goodman from Millwall are two fantastic loans until January. One would have expected more but Scott is clearly waiting to see what Chelsea free-bies he can get as he sticks to a strict CVA budget. Brett Williams (Reading) and Matt Paterson (Burton) will get goals in this league. The new midfield duo of Mark Molesley (Exeter) and Martin Rowland (Orient) will complement the remaining 6 middlemen, including Captain Craig Stanley, from the Football league days.
|8th Aug||Glenn Morris||Re-signed||GK|
|8th Aug||Joe Oastler||Torquay||Def|
|8th Aug||Martin Rowlands||Orient||Mid|
|8th Aug||Matt Paterson||Burton||For|
|8th Aug||Brett Williams||Reading||For|
|7th Aug||Mark Molesley||Exeter||Mid|
|18th June||Danny Hylton||Rotherham||For||Free|
|21st June||Troy Brown||Cheltenham||Def||Free|
|21st June||Ross Wormer||Wimbledon||Keeper||Free|
|29th June||Doug Bergqvist||Exeter||Def||Free|
|6th Aug||Craig Reid||Southend||For||Free|
|16th May||13 made redundant|
Having worked as an international component commodity trader for a former Shots sponsor I will always have a soft spot for the Shots, even if the Imp in me is tinged with a little jealousy, These are exciting times fuelled by that extra spring that always comes from a second lease of life. So good luck, especially at the Mariners on Saturday, it will still be be down to the ability of a quality side, on paper, being able to blend, but those three remaining loan slots could make for some fabulous football in your season of rebirth.
Shots 2013/14 Squad
21 Jamie Young, Glenn Morris,
2 Ben Herd, 3 Anthony Tonlin, 4 Aaron Morris, Adam Webster, Jake Goodman, Joe Oastler,
Martin Rowlands, Mark Molesley, 13 Oliver Risse, 17 Adam Mekki, 18 Craig Stanley, 28 Kieron Cadogan,30 Harry Cooksley, 33 Jordan Roberts,
Matt Paterson, Brett Williams
Despite offers from Portsmouth FC and Morecambe, winger Nathan Arnold, is on trial at Mansfield Town, with Chesterfield FC in the wings. The Imps did make an enquiry earlier in the summer but competition from League clubs cooled the managers interest.
Pompey face some stiff competition with geography playing a part. Nice to see they appear to be very much back in business since the signing of Patrick Agyemang on a two-year back on 4th May. Previously the financial limitations had required month-to-month contracts. STMI wish a great club well as it strives to get back where it belongs. Absolutely fantastic support down there!
Diminutive Nathan is currently back on trial at home-town Mansfield. He came through the youth ranks at the Stags before spending 4 years there as a pro, where he was capped at England C. He then dropped down to Hyde before becoming a revelation at Alfreton. He was inspirational in the reds promotion to the BSP during the 2010/11 season but missed most of the following season with a broken toe. Cox wanted him back at the Stags last year but he signed a new one year deal at Alfreton . Their move to part-time this season has seen his agent get busy.
There has been no shortage of takers either, with deals still on the table from Portsmouth and Morecambe, but the desire to stay local has prompted Chesterfield to make a move too. They will have to wait on the decision from Cox who has him on trial at the moment. Nathan has lightning pace, great skill and can provide a consistent delivery from either flank. He loaded the bullets for Clayton and Tomlinson last term and they were well on the way to 40 goals between them.
|Full name||Nathan Anthony Arnold|
|Date of birth||26 July 1987 (age 25)|
|Place of birth||Mansfield,|
|Height/Weight||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)/10st 4lb (65.31kg)|
|Current club||Alfreton Town|
Despite the sale of 4 Portsmouth players to Leeds United alone, including the Norris deal and Nottingham Forest’s interest in defender Greg Halford , proud Pompeys’ position could not be worse, even if Leeds are trying to save them as gallows humour here from the Scratching Shed illustrates. Even ex-Imp Ashley Westwood is still waiting for the League to rubberstamp his role as assistant manager, with Michael Appleton remaining hopeful that he will be working with his new first-team coach some time over the rainbow…..
Leeds fees 2012/13
|Jason Pearce||£500,000||Adam Clayton||£800,000|
|Adam Drury||Free||Andy Lonergan||£250,000|
Many Imps empathise with Pompey and Westwood despite some rivalry, with both praying that there will be a job to go to at all. Earlier today, the administrators described things as critical. listing seven, no six players now Norris has moved from the liability to the assets column of the beancounters spreadsheet; who have to leave if the club is to avoid liquidation on August 10th. On the plus side Huseklepp and Lawrence may have takers but Ben Haim, Kanu and Kitson are digging in with the agents still building the trenches. Ben Haim is just a quarter of a million short of joint administrator Bryan Jackso signing of the deal. Kanu, it is hoped will listen to the dulcit tones of ex-boss Harry Redknapp, for he is demanding £3 million to settle his claim.
Ashley Westwood has negotiated his release from Lincoln and you can bet those terms were far more in tune with world of the poor fans – loyal, loud and proud (they do sing up – Fratton Park is an experience – go) – who are living the true hell. The fear that your club is two weeks away from going down is not nice, but then nor is the 400k budget we got this season after we got a £325-£500k bail out last year. The trouble is the football creditors rule is a pain and even though the Pompey players are not struggling to feed their families, they like the bankers, do not have any sentiment for the institutions we fans value so much.
There is always hope however, because there is always a business when you have the mass brand loyalty of Portsmouth. Good business is clearly where you find it for a former Pompey administrator Andrew Androniko who has crossed the house so to speak and is now representing Ben Haim. Bless him and he has Ben Haim within £250,000 of reaching an agreement.
Portsmouth’s administrators say they have until 10 August to get rid of their six senior playersor reach agreements with them over wages, that the club is heading for liquidation, citing a “critical” condition. But in reality this is a club in crisis versus player needs cup final. The new owners crealy want to cut eight figures off of the bill. As the Liquidators put it
“If the remaining high-cost players do not compromise on their wages or agree to move then we won’t be able to complete the sale of the club and it will close down. It is as simple as that.
“Whilst we sympathise with the players and acknowledge that they are not to blame for the club’s predicament, they do have the power to keep the club going.
“What is certain is that if the club does go into liquidation they are unlikely to receive anything at all. If, however, they agree to leave or conclude compromise settlements then the club has a future.”
Former Portsmouth, Mansfield Town, Grimsby Town, Notts County, Barnet, Wycombe Wanderers and Boston United midfield and defensive utility man, Gary Silk, is set to link up with the Imps and his former manager David Holdworth this week.
Gary spent three seasons at the Stags, two of which were under Holdsworth’s stewardship. He was player of the season in 2010 and played over a hundred games in what was arguably a dark period for Mansfield with money short and even a lock out from the stadium, as ownership issues persisted. The Grimsby duo made him their first summer signing last term but injury restricted him to just 24 appearances and he was released this May.
Silk is known as a right back, but can play on the right or centre of midfield. He has a good delivery and great array of passing and certainly has a well-timed, tasty challenge on him. With Holdsworth looking primarily for a centre-back Silk will certainly have to go some to impress the manager and grow a couple of inches as he is just 5′ 9″. He could be willing to come in on non-contract terms given the free agent is at a loose end with just three weeks to go before the season starts.
|Full name||Gary Lee Silk|
|Date of birth||13 September 1984 (age 27)|
|Place of birth||Newport, Isle of Wight|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Playing position||Right Back|
|2003–2004||→ Barnet (loan)||1||(0)|
|2004–2005||→ Wycombe Wanderers (loan)||22||(0)|
|2006||→ Boston United (loan)||14||(0)|
Ashley Westwood will join Portsmouth FC in a coaching capacity after just five days on the Lincoln City pay-roll. The imminent departure of the central defender, who will be 36 on August 31st, will hopefully see a mouthwatering pre or post season friendly with Portsmouth by way of compensation.
Ashley is big mates with Pompey boss Michael Appleton, who he has known since they graduated from the Manchester United Academy. Appleton actually spent time on loan at the Imps (4 games) in 1995, so he presumably knew the telephone number!
Ashley, who has just started a one year deal with the Imps, informed David Holdsworth this week and the gaffer will graciously not stand in his way. Although as ever with our persuasive manager he has asked for a friendly fixture to sweeten the deal. Go on Reg go grab that wedge! This, together with the proceeds of the renaming raffle, should give Holdsworth scope to bring in another centre back as well as another summer target……and 16 on a non contract basis – apologies for we jest!
Holdsworth is believed to be close to a replacement already and this will certainly complete the 23 man squad the manager has envisaged since receiving a somewhat sobering budget. He will also need to look for someone to come in to help with training, as doing so alone will be a tough ask without Ashley.
Thanks Ashley, good luck and don’t forget to send some Pompey youngsters our way on loan!