Reading FC signed Brett Williams for £50,000 in January 2011, but despite loans at Rotherham United, Northampton Town and Woking FC, he joined Aldershot Town after failing to get ahead of ALF and co in the pecking order.
Rose Tinted eyes up her heroes latest foe
The 6′ 2″ hot-shot joined Reading from Eastleigh where he had bagged 8 in 23 appearances but failed to get on despite being a regular in the first team squad. But it was not to be as he was released last summer only to join Aldershot just days after his release , Brett has gone on to become top scorer with 6 so far this season in just nine games.
Reputations mean nothing to Boyce, who has kept plenty quiet already this season, determined to keep the Imps in the top 8 as much for pride as the bonus that makes being a professional at Lincoln add up and his improvement this season has been breathtaking suggesting it will take more than £50,000 to prize him from Sincil Bank when the time inevitably comes. We almost lost him in the summer but he was keen to stay, learn and help the Imps in their quest to return to the Football League.
Andrew Boyce is starting to catch the eye with even team-mate Nat Brown convinced that he will go to the very top. A no-nonsense giant Boyce signed a two-year deal with the Imps in the summer and is starting to make good on a potential that needed just a bit of luck. A Doncaster Rovers youth, he saw loans at Worksop and Mansfield Town, before leaving Donny by mutual consent, only to witness his club go bust, when Kings Lynn went out of business in December 2009. Boyce then joined Gainsborough before jumping at the chance to make his dream to be a pro come true as the Imps parted with 12,000 plus add-ons
Gary Simpson will look to loans from Middlesbrough FC, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Crewe Alexandra, Huddersfield, Rotherham United and perhaps even Everton FC as and when the need arises. As expected the strict limitations with regard to the Lincoln City budget meant that Gary Simpson could not make any 11th hour signings prior to the transfer window closing at 11 PM last night.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Although a big target man to replace former sharp-shooting Sheffield Wednesday striker Vadaine Oliver, now at Crewe, is the priority, wages for a proven player would be prohibitive at in excess of a thousand a week even at Conference level. It would merely disrupt the harmony of the dressing room and chew up the slack that remains in the budget for reinforcements when the time arrives. A good STMI Crewe source alleges Simmo was at the game against Huddersfield yesterday, suggesting he has either a Terrier or Alex lad in his sights.
Gary Simpson has a wealth of contacts within both the Football League and Non-League game around the Sheffield and North-West area In the past he has used his Cheshire contacts as well as Everton FC, Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday to strengthen the Macclesfield side. Bury and Accrington could also be a source.
That said the manager, who thankfully missed out on the August Manager of the Month, must be happy with the performance of the squad and will surely keep the loan fund option open until the weather or injuries begin to bight. With Blue skies on the cards for a while yet, Yussuf raring to go and, Wright a fortnight away, the managers options seem plentiful.
Former Notts County, Doncaster Rovers, Grimsby Town and Rotherham United Captain Nick Fenton looks to have chosen Alfreton Town over Lincoln City and Chester FC, as news reaches STMI Towers that he is now training with Alfreton.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
At 33, despite his experience and composure, perhaps he is seen as a bit of a gamble for the Imps, who have Luke Foster on trial. Nick Fenton does want to stay local to Mansfield, for post career reasons (as we suggested a week ago), so Alfreton seem to be the logical fit. Nick started out at Manchester City, progressed through the ranks and earned a 5 year first pro deal! He played 15 games for City, spending valuable loan time at Notts County, Bournemouth and then County again before they took the plunge with a £150k transfer fee and a four year deal. He would play 147 League games, plus cup competitions, for County before moving onto Doncaster, a side very much on the rise. He played 61 games, netting 4 times in a 2004/5 and 2005/6 at the Keepmote that saw Donny finish 10th and 8th in League 1
Rovers let him go to Grimsby just 1 League and 1 cup game, against Rochdale, into the 2006/7 season (as a replacement for Big Ben Futcher) along with Ravenhill. Nicks absence from the heart of the defence did not improve ambitious Rovers as they finished 11th and would have to wait a further season before promotion to the Championship was reached. Big spending Rotherham then came calling and he played 3 seasons as Captain at the Millers through thick and thin. Nick has spent the last two seasons at Morecambe as he continues to finish the perhaps pivotal physio course in Mansfield. Alfreton’s new part-time status will also surely suit
|FULL NAME||Nicholas Leonard Fenton|
|DATE OF BIRTH||23 November 1979 (age 33)|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Preston,|
|HEIGHT/WEIGHT||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 12st 4lb (78KG)|
|1999–2000||Notts County (loan)||13||(1)|
|2000||Notts County (loan)||8||(0)|
Former Preston North End, Oxford United, Mansfield Town, Stevenage and Rotherham, centre-half Luke Foster is ready to beat off the challenge off 33 year old former Millers captain fantastic Nick Fenton, who mysteriously turned down the chance to join ambitious Chester FC this week. Ryan Wignall (ex Liverpool FC and Burscough) is also on trial at Scunthorpe United, the winger /striker is up for grabs and an exciting talent after Wolves failed to offer him a deal.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
With Gary Simpson looking for experience, a commanding display at Grantham Town on Saturday could well seal the deal, even though Nick Fenton is looking to stay local as he completes his physiotherapy course in Mansfield. This must put Alfreton favourites, who in turn are trying to keep want away striker Tomlinson.
Luke played well at Lincoln Utd, but his display at Harrogate was less commanding and the test at Grantham will come from a very tall side who look to set pieces to turn the screw. Lincoln conceded from a set-piece at Lincoln Utd and at Harrogate. With Brown, Boyce, Miller and Gray doubtful, Luke will need to muster all of his experience to hold off an aerial bombardment.
With a new set of trialists on the verge of arriving at Washingborough it could be a very interesting weekend for Simmo who is still looking for a centre-back and striker. The Imps exciting 4-2-3-1 formation has the space for four forwards suggesting he will need 6-7 goal hungry predators to pillage and plunder the defences of our Conference foes.
Preston 2012/13 stats
|Sq no||Player||Starts||Sub||Mins||Goals||Shots off||Shots on||Assists||YC||RC|
Former Rotherham United, Macclesfield Town and want away Alfreton Town striker Ben Tomlinson still looks to be on his way to Lincoln City according to sources. One bid had been refused, last month but it would appear the player wants to work with Simmo again, suggesting a compromise deal could be in the offing. The lad is under contract so this cannot go to tribunal. The Lincoln board have also upped Simmo’s budget and the understanding is that he has funds spare.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
The goal machine scored for fun in his Rotherham youth days before moving to Worksop where he rammed in 17 goals for starters and then 29 goals in his final season. Simmo even paid a fee to Worksop when he signed him for Macc, as did an ambitious Alfreton who swooped as The Silkmen were relegated. He did not disappoint.
He formed a great partnership with Paul Clayton last year with 14 goals from 33 starts and 13 opportunities from the bench But The Reds have now gone part-time to save funds. The chance to join Lincoln, resurgent and perceived challengers, as well as working with his ex-manager looks a tempting proposition for the lad if what went off on twitter earlier today is anything to go by. We will leave you to make your minds up on what is left on there –https://twitter.com/buddytomo
STMI had no desire to jeopardise any deal when told by an agent last month and would therefore not speculate as to the name of the player when we ran our two strikers story last month. Wright has already arrived, now it looks just a question of time before Tomlinson follows.
|Full name||Ben Tomlinson
|Date of birth||31 October 1989 (age 23)|
|Place of birth||Dinnington,|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Youth Career: Rotherham|
|Current club||Alfreton Town|
Despite sniffs from Rotherham, Grimsby Town and Wycombe Wanderers for the services of the ex-Norwich City and Rangers utility man, Tom Miller has given a massive thumbs up To Simmo’s Six Foot Soldiers Revolution at Sincil Bank by agreeing a two year deal. Despite Boyce and Oliver failing to agree terms, this is the true cornerstone to an Imps push for glory next season. It also shows that Simmo’s growing reputation as the new Enticer, is gathering momentum.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Tom only failed to fulfil his promise at Rangers when a cruciate injury effectively negated his two-year contract, just a month in, after a switch from Norwich City. Tom joined the Canaries at 14 and progressed through the ranks at the Colney Training centre to become Norwich City Academy player of the season, in 2008. But somehow it was not to be thanks to manager Glenn Roeder. who failed to give him a first year pro deal.
Jim Duffy, the then assistant manager, contacted Rangers when it was evident that Tom would not get what many felt should have been a deserved opportunity in the game. He was flown up to Ibrox and had an outstanding trial game, making a telling contribution all over the pitch in a 5-1 win. Rangers gave him a two year contract to the delight of his proud father Ray, before the tragic injury struck. Tom was then farmed out to the tough environment of the Irish League with Dundalk, before joining Newport.
Last season’s away player of the year has never hidden, home or away, whether he has been employed at full-back or centre-back, even though his best position is in a central or defensive midfield berth. In his season and a half at the Imps he has been inspirational, a true leader on the pitch when the going gets tough. A candidate for captain, he is a born winner and this two year deal suggest he shares the vision of manager Gary Simpson – that we will be there or thereabouts this season at the very least and push on in the second year.
Awesome news Tom, try and have a word with your big mate Boycie will you!
|Tom Miller’s Imp stats 2012/13|
|Tom Miller’s Imp stats 2011/12|
|Tom Miller’s Exiles stats 2011/12|
|FULL NAME||Thomas William Miller|
|DATE OF BIRTH||29 June 1990 (age 21)|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Ely,|
|HEIGHT||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|WEIGHT||11 st 8 lb 75.54 KG|
|PLAYING POSITION DEFENDER / MIDFIELDER|
|CURRENT CLUB||Lincoln City|
Leeds United and Nottingham Forest look set for a three-way transfer tussle along with Hull City over Reading FC striker Adam Le Fondre (formerly of Rotherham United, Rochdale FC and Stockport County). ALF will surely plunder plenty more in the Championship, after a scoring for fun in the Football League with the Millers, The Dale and the Hatters, his home-town club. United and Forest are favourites to go up next season and, even though Reading are in no rush to sell, they will surely accept a handsome return on their £350,000 investment, should a bidding war take place.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Glenville Adam James le Fondre, aka ALF, has proved to be a goal machine at every level he has played at, poaching 146 goals from 360 games in all competitions. These are the kind of stats that are interesting more than just Billy Davies and Brian McDermott, managing two of the favourites to go up next season, with newly promoted Hull City also sniffing around. ALF got 14 last season in all competitions and was signed by Mr McDermott along with Matt Mills, now at Bolton, who is another target. McDermott knows the Royals inside out, after being unjustly sacked last February, so he will be doubly keen to plunder the side he built.
Le Fondre is the diminutive fox in the box. He started just 14 games last term, coming from the bench in the other 23 games, but still managed to notch 12 Premiership and 2 FA Cup goals. He got 4 braces, against Everton, Crawley, Newcastle and Chelsea, the latter two coming as a 69th and 65th minute substitute respectively. In 2011/12 he bagged 4 goals in 5 for the Millers, scored on his Reading debut against Doncaster (again as a sub), before finishing on 16 for the season from 22 starts (15 sub). ALF destroyed League 2 with 27 goals for the Millers in 2010/11 and 30 in 2009/10. The season before saw 20 for Rochdale, with 16 the season before that.
As an Imp fan, he was a killer, a constant thorn in our side, yet beyond our reach on a four figure a week wage. He had the tricks of the trade alright, but his first touch, poaching instincts and ability to take it in his stride, or get a clean shot off, was obvious. An all-round awesome predator, he nearly always scored against us, ALF looked destined to play higher and, despite not being the fastest or strongest of adversaries, he has already attracted £200,000 in officially undisclosed transfer fees courtesy of the Dale and The Millers. He can lay on a goal or two but a true striker has to have a selfishness, it makes them what they are, goals after all are the stock-in-trade. It was of no surprise to see him instantly click despite a two league jump, when the Millers sold him to Reading.
The chances are he will finally net the 7 figure fee his talent deserves. But this is a small price to pay for someone, who, if he starts every game as he should, has the pedigree to get the 20 odd-goals that would prove to be the Edge for Leeds or Forest. Then of course there is the not to small a matter of the mega money the Premiership will guarantee.
It would appear the released lists of Rotherham United, Chesterfield FC, Mansfield Town, Grimsby Town and Macclesfield Town have caught the attention of Lincoln City manager Gary Simpson, if the agents are to be believed. Laughable, to the cynics and sceptics, I know, but most of the gossip does tend to ring true, even if the deals can change at the last minute, or the 11th hour of the 27th day to be exact.
Yes it is Poker time, with the manager aiming to nail down a left back, two central and one wide midfielder, plus three strikers. The fans clearly have the faith in him with Lincoln City fans flocking to back Simmo and his Six Foot Sincil Soldiers assault on the BSP play-off places next season. Season ticket sales are 20% up on the same point last year, as manager Gary Simpson continues to put the jigsaw pieces into place. Despite any news on the released and retained list, expected either side of the weekend, the fans are buzzing. Blind faith perhaps, but one gets the feeling next year will be one to remember.
Contracts have now been offered to players, but the rules are that they have 28 days in which to reply. This gives the agents four weeks to hawk their clients talents around, before trying to squeeze the budget until the pips squeak. This can work both ways of course, with the Imps gaffer having to wait for decisions from his own targets.
The camaraderie within the squad and the faith in the manager’s vision, should see the majority of the squad stay together. The youthfulness of the squad will also ensure we get a fee, should any choose to take up offers elsewhere. This will only boost the budget further. It was therefore of no surprise to see Tony Diagne offered a deal by Macclesfield. They need to make every penny count until fresh money comes into the club.
Middlesbrough Manager Tony Mowbray has confirmed that talks are taking place over a move for Bristol Rovers and former Imps winger Mustapha Carayol. But the news that the two clubs are still set to agree a fee will also alert Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County, Leicester City, Barnsley and Rotherham United, who have all made enquiries in recent months.
Carayol is keen to play at a higher level and will not extend his contract, a dilemma boss McGee sympathises with. Boro boss Mowbray will not be held to ransom and Gas manager Mark McGhee knows he will need to cash in sooner rather than later with a percentage of the fee due also to the Imps.
Says Mowbray of the 23 year-old left-winger. “I’ve had a conversation with his club and if it gets to a point where we think the figure they want exceeds our valuation we’ll move to another target and we do have other targets for his position”.
Four days into his new Lincoln City Chairman’s role Bob, agreed to pay £35,000 for the wingers services in August 2010. However just a year later he went to rejoin his old Boss Paul Buckle, then at Bristol Rovers (now Luton), soon after our relegation for an undisclosed fee. Although the fee itself left us in a loss situation, the insertion of a 20% sell on clause at least gave us some hope.
Mustapha was always one we fancied to get us a goal, sublimely gifted with the wingman-ship skills and pace of Achilles. His work ethic comes into question, particularly when asked to track back, but his attacking process would roast a frozen chicken faster than the fires of Hades. His head dropped at the Imps, but them he was young and we were done.
The move to Rovers saw him reborn in all the glory we knew he possessed. In 28 starts and 6 impact sub appearances he has delivered 4 goals and been creditted with 5 assists. That does not take into account the collateral damage born of him bombing down the flank regularly leaving two or three in his wake.
We always sensed that he was destined to play higher, like Danny N’Guessan, he was one that will shine in a Championship side with quality players doing the dirty work to feed them. Although Rovers fans will miss him if and when he does go, at least they too may benefit from a clause that tracks his future progress and success. Because this lad gets people out of their seats and that kind of passion will always be in fashion in the people’s game.
|FULL NAME||Mustapha Soon Carayol|
|DATE OF BIRTH||10 June 1989 (age 22)|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Banjul, Gambia|
|HEIGHT||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|PLAYING POSITION||Left wing|
|CURRENT CLUB||Bristol Rovers|
|SENIOR STATS (LGE & CUP)|
|2007–2008||Milton Keynes Dons||1||(0)|
|2007–2008||Crawley Town (loan)||26||(2)|
|2009||Kettering Town (loan)||5||(0)|
Mick Harford was a legend for Luton Town, Birmingham City and finally Wimbledon before managing at QPR, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United and Luton. He fetched a fee for every club, but it all started in the Lincoln City youth team and almost ended in a dream return as half a double act with Thommo this season until David Holdsworth got the job.
Mick Harford, for those Imps too young to know him, was a tall elegant striker who would go on to play at the very top of the modern game. A swan swooping, the consummate finisher just overflowing with skill or technique as the brand builders would have us call it. At the Imps for just over three years, Mick last came back here as manager of Luton Town docked an historic 30 points for the entirety of footballs Pandora’s box of the time.
Mick Harford is probably the most famous find of Lincoln City’s youth scheme. Another of Graham Taylor’s brilliant ideas saw our fledgling scouting uncover a rare jewel playing for Lambton Boys Club in 1977. The deal was to be one of the final acts of GT’s stewardship as George Kerr had taken charge of Lincoln by the time that Harford officially turned professional. It was Kerr, to his credit, that turned the strapping sapling from an awkward though raw and exciting midfielder into one hell of an all round forward. He quickly established himself, adept in either the target man or poacher roles.
Harford was one of the few shining lights in a dire year under Kerr’s debt ridden era of aging stars. Never mind, new year new possibilities and opportunities, as 1978 and new manager Colin Murphy became the making of the lad. Murphy rebuilt the team with Harford as a vital striker in a free-scoring City side. His pace heading and control blended well with a vision well in advance of his tender years. Three hat-tricks during the first half of the 1980/81 season brought the big guns ‘a sniffing’. Newcastle United tabled a huge £180,000 in December 1980. Not only was it an Imp record, but too good for a cash strapped club to refuse. In every sense of the word it was Christmas come early.
Harford, by his own admission missed the Imps. He found life hard to adjust to after playing for Newcastle, Bristol City and Birmingham, all within the next fifteen months. Each move commanded a big fee for the time as the potential was clearly there within a simple country lad. Perhaps, with that in mind, it was no surprise that a transfer to Luton in December 1984, appeared to do the trick. Though Luton were a similar sized club to Lincoln they were in Division One, at the time the top tier. In his six years at Luton, Mick represented England twice and played in two major cup finals including the 1988 League Cup aka the Milk Cup Win. Though not a prolific scorer by any means, 27 from 139 games, Mick created 3 times that amount. Mentor Murphy, a decade earlier, had given the lad the ability to bring others into the game, a key skill in the 18 yard box where time, a quick mind, cool head and technique is of the essence. To use the vernacular – snooze and you loose.
He ended his playing career at Wimbledon after signing for four teams in less than two years and once retired, he became a junior coach. .
Mick has since managed Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United, Luton Town and QPR twice as caretaker.
The Teams & Fees
1977–1980 Lincoln 115 (41 goals)
1980–1981 Newcastle 19 (4 goals)
1981–1982 Bristol City 30 (11 goals)
1982–1984 Birmingham 92 (25 goals)
1984–1990 Luton 139 (27 goals)
1990–1991 Derby 58 (15 goals)
1991–1992 Luton 29 (12goals)
1992–1993 Chelsea 28 (9 goals)
1993–1993 Sunderland 11 (2goals)
1993–1994 Coventry 1 (1goals)
1994–1998 Wimbledon 60 (9 goals)