Scunthorpe United’s Lincolnshire rivals Lincoln City and Grimsby Town will find the tenth Football League Agents’ Fees Report interesting reading. Imps still ponder the mystery fee for Boyce, now on loan at the Mariners and can at least take solace from the fact that our now richer county rivals appear to be paying through the nose.
The report below includes the Championship, League One and League 2 clubs.
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Eleven clubs spent under ten thousand, three of which refused to part with a penny despite accomplishing 87 transactions. A round of applause please for Accrington, AFC Wimbledon and Hartlepool, Jeff Stellings imperious monkeyhangers. This was almost a tenth of the 907 transactions. Certainly necessity is the mother of invention, but League 2 did half the transactions of League One at a quarter of the cost. With Scunthorpe gone this season and Portsmouth now out of the jaws of financial despair, it will be slim pickings this year in League 2.
The League One Clubs Agent’s fees bill came to £2.4 millions last year with three clubs making up half of the total. Perhaps it is a sign of the new TV deal’s increasing polarisation of the game, or common sense on the part of the clubs. In reality with over a thousand players looking for work (and rising) it is probably a well overdue return to the principles of supply and demand.
No surprise that Wolverhampton Wanderer’s parted with £571,350, largely getting rid of the Premiership hangover it has to be said. Bristol City another big club falling upon hard times spent £339,467 but Brentford in third continues their ambition climb through the Divisions. The Bees were stung for £253,236 according to the Football League report ending 2013. The division saw 1076 transactions including 385 transfers and 356 loans.
The shrewd shrews certainly lived up to their name spending nothing. No surprises that Crewe, with an enviable youth set up that provides a conveyor belt of talent, spent £6,066. Walsall spent just a monkey more (£500) with Carlisle also putting under ten grand in the agents hands.
Go on make it part of your Saturday football experience!
Download the PDF of the full report here
Doncaster Rovers, Scunthorpe United and Hull City used to be League rivals to Lincoln City but all have dared to dream while we have been happy with a lot in life that sees us drop from the League with apparently no real ambition to return. When are we likely to play Donny, The Tigers or The Iron in the League again? It hurts almost as much as the death by a thousand cuts our club is enduring.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Doncaster and Scunthorpe have recently tasted the Championship on two occasions, eclipsed by Hull now back in the hallowed Premiership, but having shared fourth tier status with them all. the Imps in contrast have preferred the safe option as the way forward in what is an entertainment and results led business. Rovers and The Iron have had their downs but their set-up has enabled them to attract new owners and investment. Lincoln would have loved Peter Swann and the Wilcos millions, instead he chose the Iron over the Imps. The same can be said of Hull who also got into a mess but ambition has seen all three capture the imagination and ambition of eager suitors, while the Imps have not. Lincoln still needed a bailout to avoid going back into admin again as attendances fell, budgets dwindled and relegation came calling to knock the final nails in the coffin to allow a Holding Company to take control.
Our rivals have put cash in on top of what the club generates on an ongoing basis, while at Lincoln £75,000 (most on that board only put in £50,000) gets you prawns for life while the faithful stump up £18 for non-League football. The manager may be generous to the board for their help but should we be, given a budget on a par with the part-timers who are beating us in front of their sub 800 gates? The Lincoln fans have also lost their stake in a once vaunted Community club, with 1 million shares going into a Holding Company that has still not decided what is going to happen with our last remaining crown jewel – the very church I am still banned from going to – the ground. But naturally we should be thankful and take our frustrations out on the only bloke at fault, with the perennial manager bashing now getting into full swing ahead of a Cup tie that might just help the cause.
The succession of managers has been blamed yet in reality surely it is the constant at the heart of the club and not the variables that has to be to blame, as the fans start to question the latest to be given the poison challis. This is one who has kept them up and with a bottom eight budget, now been lambasted that a promising start has led to mid-table mediocrity. Normally a manager gets the push in October so the latest is doing well, but for all his hard work a growing number feel he is on borrowed time.
Cautious tactics are to blame and the under-performance of a reasonable quality squad prepared to play full-time for £350 a week plus a weekly bonus if they are in the top eight. Is it any wonder the excuses are consistent with the manager backing a hard-working side that is struggling to score but going down narrowly to part-timers in front of 746 fans – of which 167 were travelling Imps. These part-timers are paying some of their lads 2-3 times what Lincoln City can afford and willing to pay to fund overnight trips while the hat went round amongst Imps fans sites after we appealed for the funding of two for our team. Are we really that rinky-dink now?
Next up is part-time Southport, paying a new striker £525 a week plus accommodation and bonuses on top. Yet Lincoln with a much bigger turnover than Port cannot compete, lost to Welling and Salisbury who have agreed to fund 15 overnight trips for their team. Geography works against us both ways because they visitors to Sincil Bank are small enough to put in a Community stand that could be confused with a secondary school bike shed or supermarket trolley station.
Quite where Lincoln City spend their money is not something I want to go into, well not again anyway because budget questions and freedom of speech costs at Lincoln City, the former community club. Don’t ask for any help from the Supporters Trust which is anything but a critical friend these day, that’s if it ever was, with legal action pending and a track record that brings tears to the eye. Then again so does having to doff your cap and be thankful for what we are and where we are. The club deserves better and, when we laugh at Grimsby losing £450,000 last year just think on. They are playing Scunthorpe next week and their crowd could top 8,000. That is another £60,000 each in the kitty of both clubs plus the chance of £18,000 prize money.
The Mariners are not going under and continue to inspire their fans by putting in cash and not just expecting the club to generate a miracle funded by fans and commercial sponsors who will put love above the risk of being associated with a losing brand. Alas at Lincoln the game plan is caution and we can see how that is working in the face of 16 clubs with far superior budgets who are a mix of part-time and professional NON-LEAGUE clubs. And bar an optimistic spurt at the start of this season we can see how that is working for us as a club can’t we. It is probably also leading to a smaller and smaller new ground as every year goes by.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Being an optimist is what being an Imp has always been about, well that and being able to lump it I’m afraid. For a start the fans need to give this manager and his players continued backing because they are the underdogs and so are we, so we need to stick together. Given the fact that fans and citizens in an otherwise thriving city have turned their back on the lack of ambition and overpriced product, we need to don’t we? Or at least start asking the right questions of those who are custodians of a local institution that do not seem able to match the ambition we have for our club. If they did ex-Imps might stop going to Nottingham to watch their football or sitting at home in front of the telly and adopting a Premier League pet.
Who will volunteer to turn out the light before we get our coats then?
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.
Andrew Boyce, a former Doncaster Rovers youth, interested Scunthorpe United, Mansfield Town & Chesterfield FC until the Imps slapped a £25,000 price tag on him this summer and he is certainly showing his credentials. Boycie has been brilliant so far this season with a man of the match performance at Cambridge. He and Brown have formed a super central defensive partnership allowing Foster to act as a defensive midfielder along with Nolan to both shield the back four and allow the forward four to counter.
Thank-you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Once dubbed Bank Beast Boyce, he has the genes of Goliath, Andy is showing his beautiful side. But Boyce will face Andy Bishop today, still in his prime and one of the lower two divisions of the Football League’s most consistent and complete predators. You have to fancy the youngsters chances and, the way he dealt with Andy Cunnington (last seasons top scorers in the BSP) on Saturday, suggests he is beginning to realise his huge potential this season.
Boyce merited a nine out of ten, against Cunnington to boot, to go with two 8’s and a 7 from his opening four games. It is not just consistent defending but his brave none-shall-pass attitude that is starting to catch the eye.
Well done Andy….. Bishops move then?
Lincoln’s injury list will shorten just in time for the Middlesbrough, Boston United and Scunthorpe United home games.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Todd Jordan will not make those games, but the naturally fit quick healer, is now just a fortnight away from full training. Miller, Brown, and Gray (thigh tweaks), all trained yesterday, suggesting they could even play some part in Wednesday’s game against Sunderland. Boyce and Fofana also trained (thigh & groin respectively), so stiffness and reactions apart, the duo could ensure the Imps can shape sufficiently to allow Power to play in his advanced scheming role. Fairhurst is getting stronger too.
Questions and rumours had suggested that the desire had led to a competitive squad overstretching themselves. With most of the injuries revealed in the opening 2-3 days it was more a case of the players wanting to return in peak condition, but sustaining little self-inflicted tweaks in the process. It did not do Alan Power and the ex-Stockport lads, the captain in particular looks as if he has been on a chicken diet akin to the ones Stallone did prior to the Rocky films.
This would seem to have taken the pressure off the need to sign players, although one hopes that the centre-back and striker are not too far away now. Foster certainly looks the part and is still here, which must be regarded as a good sign. As to the striker everyone seems to know about, you feel a rabbit may need to be pulled out of the proverbial hat somewhere along the line.
We had to sweat on former Doncaster Rovers defender Boycey as he played the field with Scunthorpe United, Mansfield Town and Chesterfield FC said to be interested. Whether it was the alleged £50,000 transfer fee or agent talk, we were pleased to see him put pen to paper on a new two year deal.
thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
The sticking point was the duration of the new deal. In a nutshell Lincoln wanted a two year deal so that the club can at least try to get a return on their investment. That outlay is perceived two-fold; in the forms of a £12,500 to Gainsborough, as well as the coaching staff believing they can improve a young but still raw player further. With Andrew 24 this November, a one year deal the player would have meant that he could walk for free.
And what a talent we would lose. Brave, strong, with a none-shall-pass attitude that provides a presence in either box. Boyce is the beast of the Bank personified but he has calmed since those Gainsborough days when he would not have got into a holy trinity as opposed to the footballing version. Andrew certainly grew alongside Nat Brown last season and will continue to improve under Simmo and Grant Brown’s guidance. He will certainly do well for a settled season, after the Holdsworth era and seeing Kings Lynn implode after his Doncaster rejection.
Handy Andy sometimes stood alone last season as our central midfield quartet were regularly routed only to see him nip countless opportunities for with a last ditch challenge. He also notched four goals and created two for others as his mellowing but still charming approach to collateral damage scattered the chickens in the opposing box.
STMI christened Boycie the Beast of The Bank when he arrived. But he is now more than that. Already a hero, his never say die attitude will blossom next term, indeed, give it another half season, or so,to round off those rough edges and Boyce may well be plying his trade in League 1 sooner rather than later.
|Date of Birth||05/11/1989 (age 23)|
|Youth career||Doncaster Rovers|
|Former Clubs||Kings Lynn Gainsborough|
On 14 Nov 2013 Andrew Boyce agreed to join Peter Swann at Scunthorpe in January, a subsequent loan was agreed until Jan 5th on 21st Nov. The undisclosed fee meets a minimum release clause in his contract.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Andrew Boyce has agreed to sign a new 2 year deal with the Imps despite rumours he might be joining up with a former Gainsborough Guru at Scunthorpe United, Mansfield Town or Chesterfield FC. The former Doncaster Rovers defender could have netted the Imps at least £25,000 at a tribunal but manager Simmo is happier to have him than the cheeky alleged asking fee of fifty grand. On 14 Nov 2013 Boyce agreed to join Peter Swann at Scunthorpe in January, a subsequent loan was agreed until Jan 5th on 21st Nov. The undisclosed fee meets a minimum release clause in his contract.
Andrew grew alongside Nat Brown last season and will continue to improve under Simmo’s guidance. With Miller also able to play in the centre as well as defensive midfield, we could be looking at a back 5 at times just like in the play-off era under Keith Alexander.
Handy Andy sometimes stood alone last season as our central midfield quartet were regularly routed. He also pops up in both boxes at vital times notching 4 goals and nipping countless opportunities for those who would bulge Impdom’s net.
STMI christened Boycie the Beast of The Bank when he arrived. But he is now more than that. Already a hero, his never say die attitude will blossom next to Nat Brown, who can back him, or Tom Miller, up, when they dive in too early. Give it another half season, or so,to round off those rough edges and Boyce may well be plying his trade in League 1 sooner rather than later. There are a few sides in that League knocking on the Championship door, where the TV money is a very healthy cushion indeed. Then again, perhaps Peter Swann, who reluctantly had to let him go, may just have to do business with the Imps one more time at least.
|Date of Birth||05/11/1989 (age 23)|
|Youth career||Doncaster Rovers|
|Former Clubs||Kings Lynn Gainsborough|
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.
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
Mansfield Town and Scunthorpe United look set to duel for the services of Andrew Boyce next season, which is a win-win for the Imps whether he stays or goes. Peter Swann has already signed off two switches for recent employees Hawkridge and Waterfall, a classy centre-back who partnered Boyce in Gainsborough’s BSN play-off campaign. Paul Musselwhite is also back at the Iron in a coaching role – remember his STMI Biopic here
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Although Boyce is well though of at Lincoln, his transfer fee will come in handy and far exceed what the Imps get for Oliver, who subject to a medical and a small quibble over the fee, should join Crewe today or tomorrow. Boyce has cost the Imps £12,00 so far and improved immensely as a player. As he is under 24 and in receipt of a contract offer the Imps must be looking at over £25,000 plus add-ons, even if a tribunal is required.
The Imps manager must be in two minds. With Big Keith’s “You can never have too many centre-halves” still ringing in his ears, he has just two signed for the coming season, namely newly signed Brown and Miller (a big big mate). On the one hand Boycie would be one of the first names on the team sheet, should Miller talk him round, on the other this and Oliver’s fees will increase his already enhanced budget by another 10%.
There is no doubt that Boyce will play higher in the next couple of years, but Simmo can smooth off those round edges and make him the League 1 or Championship player, that is still emerging. Yes he can undoubtedly do a job at the Stags or Scunthorpe and get a bag of sand, as it is called in the game, a week. But Boyce in the right hands, Simmo now and then, dare we say a Crewe, would better blossom and reap an even bigger harvest for himself and an agent who has hawked him absolutely everywhere so far this summer.
Chesterfield FC, complete with Hibernian striker Eoin Doyle aka the Green Lionel Messi’, Middlesbrough FC, Sunderland AFC and Boston United are the highlights of Lincoln City’s pre-season friendlies so far, plus the Lincolnshire Cup final against Peter Swann’s Scunthorpe United or Grimsby Town and the visit of Lincoln United for the Imp derby.
Although the Sunderland and Middlesbrough games will be against their respective U21’s, the opposition could be a lot stronger if neither side have games on the same day. The visit to the Spireites could give a glimpse of things to come in more ways than one, with Chairman Bob keen to follow their stadium and its subsequent funding model. Chesterfield, one of the favourites for promotion, have just signed Eoin Doyle from Hibs. Manager Paul Cook dubbed him the ‘Green Lionel Messi’ during a 25 goal haul in their final season together at Sligo. The SPL was a step to far but the two-footed striker can come from deep, play down either flank and will pose the defence some serious problems. The Imps will be sure to travel in numbers to a fixture that will give Simmo a month to put right any wrongs before the opening day.
Simmo has big connections with Boston – he is still a legend there – so it is no surprise to see them arrive for the pre-season community day, the week before the big kick-off.
|Tue 9/7||Chesterfield||v||Lincoln City||7.45pm|
|Sat 13/7||Lincoln United||v||Lincoln City||3pm|
|Tue 16/7||Harrogate Town||v||Lincoln City||7.30pm|
|Sat 20/7||Grantham Town||v||Lincoln City||7.30pm|
|Wed 24/7||Lincoln City||v||Sunderland U21||7.30pm|
|Sat 27/7||Lincoln City||v||Middlesbrough U21||3pm|
|Sat 3/8||Lincoln City||v||Boston United||3pm|