Alfreton Town, Welling United, Tamworth, Woking, Southport FC, Nuneaton Town, Tamworth, Braintree, Dartford FC and Hyde FC are all considered part time. Yet with three training sessions a week they could be labelled as what Lincoln manager Gary Simpson has recently described as part-time in disguise.
Perhaps this is why Lincoln struggles to beat sides who have superior budgets and look to raise their game in order to gain the scalp of a big team. The real issue and reality check for Lincoln fans, is that the club is anything but a big team when it comes to the playing budget. The forecast budget is still less than that enjoyed by David Holdsworth last season, this, despite better than expected season ticket sales, higher admission prices due to the closing of the home end and better average crowds than last season.
After an interminable half decade of misery and decline, the team finds itself mid-table yet we are failing to play the dream football that fans wish to see. At £18 for an adult they do have a point, but the economic reality and real issue is the competition from the 23 other Conference clubs that the Imps are struggling to match. They show ambition, they inspire, while a club with the potential of Lincoln, does anything but shrouded behind non disclosure agreements that frustrate fans and keep them in the dark. Who would like answers on the Stadium, the recent supporter director elections etc etc etc? What about a fans forum and not one that shortens a Trust or club AGM?
But back to money, the route of all evil it would appear. Lincoln and Macclesfield have the lowest full-time budgets in the Skrill Premier League, dwarfed by Luton, Forest Green, Grimsby, Wrexham, Cambridge, Kidderminster and Gateshead. But these disguised part-time sides are also outspending the club thanks to rich benefactors and commercial deals that allow them to punch above their financial weight. While geographically challenged Lincoln cannot afford more than 5 overnight stays, Salisbury identified and funded the 15 they face before a ball was kicked in earnest.
When we look at the performance on the pitch of Alfreton, Salisbury and Welling, they are doing so because they have the ability to fund better loans and can pay wages in excess of ours. Lincoln have an average of £350 per week, but many of our part-time competitors can easily offer far more – sometimes double – our highest earners. Surely everyone realises consistency costs and that you get what you can ultimately pay for on the creative and goals front, which is the lifeblood of the sport.
Alfreton, Welling, Woking and Tamworth all have bigger playing budgets than Lincoln despite our gates. Southport and even Nuneaton are certainly on a par with the Imps, but able to pay money and get loans that are out of our reach. Only Hyde, Braintree, Dartford and Macclesfield have an inferior budget to Lincoln, but their geography is less challenging when it comes to attracting talent.
We cannot really do anything about it any more either, the dye is cast. The Trust historically appear in fans eyes to be anything but a critical friend, despite the two long-term gold member and supporter director reigns on the board of the club. The 1 million shares have gone to the Holding Company and even the current supporter Director is now a business partner of one of the board members on the Holding company, suggesting a cosy closed shot relationship remains. All we can do is keep faith it appears and be thankful the club is still in business even if it had to give away the fans crown jewels to sustain itself without any long-term guarantees. Not that we had a vote on it of course – this at of all clubs, the one Supporters direct once saw as the model community club.
Please note we have omitted the actual figures for each club for legal reasons, alas, as our regular readers are aware, STMI does not have the legal backing to publish the full truth as bigger publications would.
The two season-long defensive loans for Doug Bergqvist of Exeter City and Blaine Hudson of Cambridge United certainly added a spine to Welling United last seasons Blue Square South champions. Since promotion a largely unchanged side has given their all for the young manager Jamie Day, just 34, as the aptly named Wings, a financial basket case in 2010, have spread themselves and their flowing philosophy, to continue to show that spirit can succeed in the face of budgetary adversity.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Saturday 2nd Nov 2013 KO 3PM
Reputations are there to be shot down if you are a Lincoln City player, particular if one is a Lincolnshire poacher and gun for hire. The financial experience of Welling is very much mirrored by Lincoln City, but in comparison to the Welling climb the fans have witnessed a fall from grace But 7-goal Tomlinson and Marlon Jackson are eager to reverse the slide that sees Lincoln City on the very cusp of making a mockery of one of the division’s smallest budgets. Manager Gary Simpson has fashioned a superb passing side that has lacked only goals in its bid to confound the critics and make the play-off dreams come true.
Tomlinson and Jackson will be determined to kick-on from the 3-0 win in the cup that has set up a plum home tie with Plymouth, against two terrific defenders who they must overcome if the Imps are to get anything from the game. Welling despite an injury to hot-shot Lafayette, will score tomorrow with the pace and movement to hurt Lincoln from anywhere on the park.
In many ways this is an early season six-pointer for two sides who have to win to get back amongst the challengers. Woking will, because their fearless brand of passing football proves that small budgets and an average crowd of 820 can achieve in the face of adversity, but the question is for how long with the injuries mounting and the vultures circling for their prized young talents. As will Lincoln because it is all about team spirit and belief, when you are full-time on on £350 a week and outside the top 8 that can add a hundred to your weekly winnings.
The vultures circle too for the Imps, with Tomlinson, Miller, Boyce, Nolan and Newton surely just a transfer window away from returns to the Football League? Manager Gary Simpson has a tough gig at Lincoln, weighing expectation on the one hand with the realities of selling in order to continue the progress on the other. He has brought in Jackson from Gigg Lane, one he wanted in the summer but finances held him back. However the never say day manager – something written through the entire squad – got his man in the end albeit on loan. Perhaps he may raid Bury again should his midfield woes continue, then again another striker has to be the priority to ensure the fantastic support and belief at Lincoln does not wane.
STMI urge fans of Aldershot Town, Alfreton Town, Barnet FC, Braintree Town, Cambridge United, Chester FC, Dartford FC, FC Halifax, FGR, Gateshead FC, Grimsby Town, Hereford United, Hyde, Kidderminster Harriers, Luton Town, Macclesfield Town, Nuneaton Town, Salisbury City, Southport FC, Tamworth FC, Welling United, Woking FC, Wrexham FC, to back the petition to ensure grass roots football gets 7.5% of the from broadcasting rights. MP David Crausby’s petition already has 17,700 signatures so please get on board before the 20th September. Please get this on your forums.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
The petition, to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, calls on the Government to ensure that grassroots football receives financial support from the Premier League. At a time when Government cuts mean that many Local Authorities are no longer able to fund grassroots football transfer fees and players wages are spiralling to obscene levels and, very much wasting the bounty. Similarly fees for basic facilities are climbing to the point where ordinary people are being priced out of our national sport.
- Current Number of signatures: 17,700
- Created by: David Crausby MP
- Closing Date : 20/02/2014 10:21
For fans of Aldershot Town, Alfreton Town, Barnet FC, Braintree Town, Cambridge United, Chester FC, Dartford FC, FC Halifax, FGR, Gateshead FC, Grimsby Town, Hereford United, Hyde, Kidderminster Harriers, Luton Town, Macclesfield Town, Nuneaton Town, Salisbury City, Southport FC, Tamworth FC, Welling United, Woking FC, Wrexham FC, here is the STMI Skrill Premier guide. Nearly 30,000 of you have read your own team’s now you can have a nosey at the rest.
Thank-you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs – this labour of love has kept me sane (ish) through a foot crush injury this summer
The guide comprises transfer ins and outs, the squads, typical formation, last years position and crowd, tickets, ground guide (thanks Duncan Adams) and plus a gander and forecast for the coming season. Notice no side is foretasted to go down because everyone starts with a clean sheet in a league where everyone can beat anyone. Why, because every big stage is seen as a giant killing opportunity with ex-League giants viewed as scalps. Get your beer-goggles out, Believe, be pure, be vigilant and behave.
STMI looks forward to seeing you all in 2013/14, although you will not bump into me at Sincil Bank as I am still denied the ability to watch my community team. But enough of that to cut to the chase just CLICK ON A NAME, below the badge our heroes kiss.