Thursday, November 21, 2013

Plymouth Away : A defeat that was 12 years in the making, Bodyform for You and free tickets

Hello all

I trust all is well?

First of all, videos for the recent trips to Worcester ( and Kidderminster.

Now, you may have noticed during the Worcester video (if you watched it) that I mention the I wanted to draw Plymouth away in the FA Cup First Round. Well, I sort of got my wish as we drew the Pilgrims at home and I would need the sides to draw at Sincil Bank to finally get my trip to Plymouth. Plymouth for me was like a holy grail of away days, not being it's a brilliant ground (although it is quite bad), not because it's the scene of a vital game, but no, it was because it is so f***ing far away that it is too much travelling for a random game.

I love going to random games when I get the chance and that is how I have gotten close to completely the 92. Infact, it's not only the 92 that has seen me visit randomly, infact, one of my favourite ever experiences for a non-Lincoln game was Witton Albion vs Sheffield FC in 2009. City had played Northwich is the FA Cup and as it was on TV, it was an early kick off, meaning that I could go to the nearby Witton Albion, a team literally a few hundred feet from Northwich. It was an amazing 3 hours at Witton Albion and the hosts won 3-0, which helped. I'll go into the day on another blog entry at some point.

The point being that random games are awesome, but they are ruined if they are too far away, and that's why I had to wait 12 years for the Imps to draw Plymouth in the cups. I had gone to the game the last time we played them in 2001 and that was before they redeveloped the ground, so in effect it was a new ground....whilst not being at the same time. I think I was the only person in Sincil Bank that was smiling when the initial game ended 0-0 and we were forced into a replay.

So anyway, it's 10:30 on Wednesday morning and I get picked up on the outskirts of Newark, meaning I got to effectively choose my seat on the coach, which was a good thing as it was a 29 seater and the one thing you ideally want if you are going to spent 14 of the next 18 hours on a coach is leg space.....I can assure you, when a 29 seater is full, there is precisely fuck all leg space.

Now, as you can imagine, a near 300 mile round trip ideally needs some entertainment. Some had DVDs, some chatted, and others slept....I on the other hand used my phone quite a bit and encountered a very strange post on Twitter. David Preece, Lincoln back up goalkeeper and coach, is one of the most unique people to follow on Twitter. He is often amusing, is extremely intelligent and could talk anyone around his way of thinking without majorly arguing.....then he posted this.....

Throughout the night I shouted this randomly at Sam Wray, who was sat directly in front of me. It fille a few hours. 7 hours and two stops at services later, we finally arrive at a very wet Home Park and all of a sudden Duncan Bayes is walking down the coach handing out free tickets for the match. Certainly can't complain about that happening. Whilst everyone else went to the pub, the club shop or whatever they wanted to do, I went straight into the ground and finally, a 12 year mission was complete.

Looking out at the ground was quite strange, but in a good way. It's the near perfect mix of new and old, with three quarters of the ground being your now common "bowl" style, so in many ways that part didn't feel like a new ground, however, the main feature of the ground is the old grandstand. This is a deceptively big stand that must have the highest view in League Two, although they have stopped using the terrace that was at the bottom of the stand, effectively making this an all-seated ground.

99 fans make the trip into the away end and only Nick Proctor, a person I have known for a few years, managed to avoid the free tickets and ended up paying to get into the ground, so in short, he is the only person I know of that actually paid to watch what was soon to happen.

So, the teams come out for the match, it kicks off and within five minutes the  Imps at 2-0 down. Excellent start. The first was a result of Paul Farman kicking it straight to Reuben Reid. Now, Farman is a good shot stopper, but sometimes he has a right nightmare in the Imps net, this was going to be one of those nights. The second came within seconds as Alessandro easily got around the back of the Imps defence and lifted it over Farman.

Miller came close to pulling one back for the Imps before Reuben Reid completed scored his second and third before half time, and it could have been far, far better. The second half is slightly better for the Imps as we only concede an own goal and almost see Nat Brown score from 30 yards, but the Imps are definitely never going to score.

Just before they announce added on time a few Plymouth fans come onto the pitch and stand right in front of the Imps fans, and despite staring at him, not a single steward do anything towards either of them. When asked by Lincoln fans, the response from the stewards was "We're not allowed to go onto the pitch to get them!" ..... what's the point of having stewards them.

Anyway, the match ends 5-0.


Fans getting into lengthy discussions on the coach as the performance and a big argument breaks out about whether Simpson is the right man for the job, with the majority siding on NO. Eventually everyone, other than myself, drifts off to sleep. I think I was the only person on the coach, other than the drivers of course, who didn't go to sleep at all before getting back to Lincoln at just after 3:30am.

I was glad that the day was over and even happier that I hadn't paid for that match......unlike Nick.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

FACT : Simpson is doing worse than Holdsworth

Hello all

Who's ready for some statisfaction?

Just before I start, I just wanted to point out that none of the below is personal against Gary Simpson, it deals with pure, hard FACTS about this season compared to last.

Just under two months ago the Imps lost 1-0 away at Hereford and I called the performance negative and Gary Simpson as a tactically poor manager. I suffered a torrent of abuse, but now as we approach the return game against the Bulls, I am slowly being proven right.

FACT NUMBER 1 : After the same amount of games under Holdsworth last season, we had more points and considerable higher up the league.

Since that game against Hereford, a game that was played on September 28th, the Imps have only won three out of the eleven subsequent games, and two of those were against teams who have only won one league game between them and sit bottom of their respective divisions (Hyde in the Skrill Premier and Worcester in the Skrill North)

The problem is that a lot of fans still seem to think Simpson is doing an excellent job, and without trying to sound funny, those people really need to climb from out of Simpson's arse and see the realise of the situation. A lot of people are so far up Simpson's arse because of his involvement with the Alexander era, well I have news for those people, this isn't 2005 anymore, this is 2013 and

FACT NUMBER 2 : We have failed to score in 9 of our 21 games this season, a failure rate of 42.8%. Our first 21 games last season saw us fail to score just 4 times, a comparatively measly 19%.

The problems come in all sorts of areas, but mainly up front. Other than Tomlinson, none of the strikers are performing. I'm not going to include Danny Rowe in this because he has spent most of the season so far injured, therefore it is unfair to include him, nor am I going to include the loanees.

Bohan Dixon is the joint second highest goalscorer with 3 goals, although ALL of them came against teams at the bottom of their respective divisions (2 vs Hyde and 1 vs Worcester). Often brought on to make a difference, it doesn't work.
Waide Fairhurst
Doesn't play because he doesn't score

Waide Fairhurst is a player that a lot of fans think hasn't had much of a chance. Here's a pure and simple fact for you, he has played in nine games, that's a fairly decent chance, and he hasn't scored in EIGHT of those games, in other words only converting in 11.1% of the matches he plays. Some people will point out that he mainly gets deployed in the midfield and that's why he doesn't score many, that point is nullified by the fact that two defenders also have two goals and a midfielder (Nolan) has three. So not only does he not score when he plays, he gets outscored by people who play in the same position he does, so saying he doesn't get a chance is bullshit.

Nick Wright came to us as a player that a lot of other fans in the Conference said was a cout for the club. 14 half-arsed performances later have resulted in a single goal, a rate of 7.1%. I can forgive strikers for not scoring if they at least try, it's why a lot of fans loved strikers such as Dave Cameron, but Nick Wright certainly does not fall into that category. If he just tries then he could probably be worth while, but at this rate I would be highly surprised if he stays beyond his current one year deal.

There is no getting away from the simply fact that the strikers aren't pulling their weight. Players such as Sean Newton, whom I personally think is by far the best player than Simpson has bought to the club (not a wide open category I must say), are putting crosses into the danger area, but the problem is that the strikers are never there. They are half-arsed in their approach into the box and the near perfect balls are wasted.

FACT THREE : Both Holdsworth and Simpson were taken to a replay by a Conference North side in their first full season as manager. Holdsworth's was against an impressive Halifax side that were eventually promoted and are currently chasing a second consecutive promotion. Simpson's Lincoln were taken to a replay by the side who are currently sat dead bottom of the division below. Both times City comfortably won the replay, but only one of the two managers has a reasonable excuse for being taken to a replay.

The shocking thing is that Holdsworth was regularly slated by fans and was treated like shit when the club went on an impressive winning run, receiving no credit from the fans as they gave all the credit to Grant Brown. It's amazing how one manager can go on a poor run and get taken apart by the fans, but another can go on a worse run and manager and yet someone still have a lot of people sticking up for him. The problem with a lot of their fans is that they have a very "you're either with us, or against us" mentality and if you have no previous connection to the club, you're instantly not good enough.

Last season people were very happy with how the season was going until January. At that point we started facing all of the teams at the top and rather unsurprisingly, lost those games. People were saying "we should never be losing 4-2 at home to a side like Newport!" That was a Newport side who won promotion at the end of that season and are having a reasonable first season in the Football League. Some fans really need to get out of this mentality that we are a big club at this level, because we really aren't.

FACT FOUR : When we got rid of Holdsworth, we were five points clear of the relegation zone, going into the final weekend under Simpson we were only three clear. In other words, we still had a reasonable gap when Holdsworth left and the results under Simpson left us still in danger of relegation going into the final day, something that wouldn't have happened if Simpson had been able to maintain the five point gap.

We have spent the vast majority of our existing in the lower divisons of the Football League, and there are plenty of sides bigger than us in this division. We have no define to do well and simply being professional in this division doesn't mean we have an automatic right to do well. Fans disrespect teams by calling them a glorified pub team just because we have always spent all of our history in divisions higher than them, but regardless of how you spin it, all clubs in the Conference deserve to be there. Either they have been one of the best sides in the non-league in recent years and earned their way up, or they have been too shit for the Football League and have been ejected. We deserve to be at this level and how can fans claim we deserve to be in the Football League when we are heading for a third straight season of finishing in the lower half of the

David Holdsworth
Got abused by fans by doing a better job that Simpson
is currently doing. Even got no credit during a lengthy
unbeaten run.
Simply put, whether people like it or not, Simpson is NOT better than Holdsworth. I excepted us to concede under Holdsworth, but we also scored on a considerably more regular basis, and at the end of the day, you don't win games without scoring. Football is about winning ladies and gentleman, but some people seem to have forgotten that.

That problem with Simpson is that it is very rarely that the club will go on an unbeaten run. The longest unbeaten run that Simpson has managed this season is 3 games, with the longest winless run being 7 games. Holdsworth did go 8 games without a win at the beginning of last season, but, by the same stage last season the Imps had just beaten Barrow, an 8th game without defeat in a run that eventually went to ten games before being ended in a trophy game by Barrow.

After the same amount of games in their first full seasons


  • Simpson's top goalscorer has fewer goals at the same stage than Holdsworth's did
    Vadaine Oliver
    Had scored three league goals by this same stage last
    season, more than all but one of the current crop
  • By this same stage last season, Holdsworth had more than one striker that had scored in more than one league game.
  • Scored in considerably more games
  • More points than at the same stage as last season
  • Had only conceded three or more on two occasions by the same stage in 2012/13. This season the same period has seen us concede three or more on three occasions.
  • By this stage last season we had an excellent record against sides who ended up in the promotion chase. By this stage we had faced Kidderminster, Newport, Mansfield and Wrexham, all of whom finished in the top five and we took seven points off of them. A points return of 58.33%. This season we have faced three of the current top five, losing to all three.
  • Considerably longer run of games without defeat
  • More clean sheets
  • Ever so slightly shorter longest-winless streak

I challenge anyone who said I was wrong for criticising Simpson to argue with pure, hard FACTS (and not opinions) with the above.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The worthless entity that is the Football League Show

Hello all

I want to start this entry with the very first thing that was said on the Football League Show back in August 2009.....

“Yes, good evening and a warm welcome to the brand new ‘Football League Show’ as we aim to bring you every goal across all three divisions. " - Manish Bhasin

Despite those ever so bold claims, the BBC have yet again failed to live up to them. They have decided not to have a Football League Show this week because there were no games in the Championship. Whilst it is not uncommon for the Championship to get larger coverage than Leagues One and Two, for the third time in quick succession the simple fact that the Championship wasn't active this weekend is enough to convince the BBC to not show the weekly edition of the poor man's Match of the Day.

Due to it being an international break, only games in Leagues One and Two were played, but apparently having 66.6% of the teams in the Football League playing isn't worth having an episode of The Football League Show. To put it into an even more ridiculous context, on the weekend of November 9th/10th, there was a Football League Show, that despite the fact that only the Championship played. So in other words, they are happy to show the highlights of all the divisions that played when the Championship teams have been in action, but as soon as they aren't playing then fuck the other 48 teams.

Imagine if Match of the Day has a full program of 10 games between the 20 Premier League sides, but Gary Lineker said at the beginning "There were many exciting, thrilling and controversial games in today's Premier League, but we are only showing games involving the top four as no-one beneath them matters." There would be an uproar because, at most, they would only be showing eight different teams, and therefore not the majority.

If the majority of the teams that you cover have played, then you owe it to those clubs to actually show the highlights of those teams. Don't get me wrong, if it was only a small number, i/e five games, then I and the majority would understand, but when 48 of the 72 teams do play, then you have no justifiable reason for not putting a show on, especially when you are happy to do it whenever only 24 teams play.

Then again, I'm not surprised given that the Football League Show has a reputation amongst fans as being very slack when it comes to doing their research, even when it comes to basic geography. In 2010 presenter Manish Bhasin said, and I quote, "Hereford made the short trip to Lincoln on Friday night." I'm not sure what map the writers of the show were looking at when they wrote that little nugget, but I assure you, Lincoln and Hereford are nowhere near each other and the drive between Lincoln and Hereford roughly takes three hours, and that is assuming you don't hit any traffic along the way. Based on that, I am not sure what scale they were using, but in no reasonable scale are Lincoln and Hereford close.

As you can see from the map, there are PLENTY of places closer to Lincoln than Hereford, and we don't class the majority of them as a derby, if we don't class Derby or Forest as a derby, why the hell would we class Hereford as a derby?

It's not just geography that they have got wrong though, it's simple facts. Here is one that they got wrong from earlier on this season. It's August and Portsmouth are starting life as a League Two club. Like the majority of people in the media, the FLS gets all giddy and starts treating them like they are something special, including making up completely bullshit facts to make them seem a lot more important than they are. In August Portsmouth had an attendance of 18,000odd, and according to the Football League Show that was a fourth tier record. It wasn't. I hate Hull but will happily defend that they comfortably beat Portsmouth's attendance when they were last at the level with numerous attendances of well over 20,000 -

This is also the same show that used to ask people to text/email in with their thoughts following their matches and they would regularly come out with golden and insightful comments such as "Steve, a Sheffield Wednesday fan, was unhappy that his side lost 6-0 today!" .... well fancy that, a fan being upset that his side lost 6-0. As ground breaking as that revelation was, are the Football League Show seriously suggesting that there were no comments that were a great insight into how a game went?

Chris Sutton or a BBC fuck up?
I'll let you decide
Infact, on the day Lincoln City were relegated I wrote in an email to The Football League Show, who had Lizzie Greenwood reading out the texts. I wrote a short three lines, basically summing up how gutting it was to be relegated and where it all went wrong for us.....within minutes I got a message back effectively mocking our relegation.

Fortunately they stopped all that nonsense.

Then we get onto Mark Clemmit, a sycophant who goes to watch a random game and spends 8/9 hours arse licking everyone around him, hoping to get a half decent interview with them, afterall, what sort of twat walks around with a camera at games trying to catch people out (self-mocking humour).

Don't get me wrong, I did used to like the "Potted History" section, but it quickly got very old. Unfortunately Clemmit's style is very much like a young children meeting his heroes for the first time.......but Clemmit isn't five years old and it comes off as strange.

He came to Lincoln City twice, the first of which was when Chris Sutton was appointed as manager, although the graphics team at the Football League Show obviously didn't bother quality checking the video package as our Chairman at the time (Steff Wright) was referred to as Chris Sutton in the graphics. It was really amateur stuff, it really was.

Then we get onto my final point. Steve fucking Claridge. Steve is generally disliked by the majority of
The Football League Show's relationship
with Steve Claridge
football fans. He is exceptionally dull, very rarely makes a valid point and is treated like a God by Bhasin when he is on the show. It got to the point that whenever Claridge came out of his numerous retirements, the Football League Show would actually go down and film his debut for his new club from the seventh tier of the non-League so that they could fill his ego.

No-one gives a fuck about Steve Claridge making his debut for Creek and Paddle FC in the Crapstone Faucet Company Division 6, so stop wasting the time of the people who watch the show and get on with the highlights of teams who you only show for five seconds anyway.

Let's not also forget the cherry picking of the aforementioned emails to find people who had asked him a question, just so he could talk about himself some more. "We have many emails here from fans up and down the country who has someone valuable to say, but first of all Michael from Castledon wants to ask Steve what his favourite type of cheese to push up his bottom is?"

Luckily, and now more regularly, they get Leroy Resenior in and he doesn't put up with people sucking up to him and actually know what he is talking about, unlike Claridge.

So, a few short but very important lessons for the Football League Show to learn

  1. The Football League consists of 72 teams, not just 24.
  2. Look at a map before you describe a match as a derby when the teams are at opposite ends of the country
  3. If you're going to put a graphic up with someone's name, put it against the right people.
  4. Do your research before you promote things as "facts"
  5. Don't pretend that all fans like Steve bloody Claridge

Seriously, get your act together. I could do a better job and I am armed with nothing more than a mobile phone, a laptop and ADOBE Premier Pro CS6.

Just for the record, here is the time that Mark Clemmit came to Sincil Bank to interview Chris Sutton for the Football League Show. What I especially love is after the match when Clemmit makes a big deal out of the DVD of the match and Sutton just puts it straight down in a "I don't really give a fuck" moment.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Just to clear something up....

Hello all

Allow me to address something.

My last blog entry seems to have upset a few people, and when I say a few, I mean pretty much everyone who has read it. Just to make something clear (I have left Banter by the way so didn't see what apparently turned into a long chain about me/the article on there), the article doesn't refer to Lincoln fans as a whole, and I do quite clearly state at the beginning that it is based on those that I have met.

Now, at a guess, I have met about 5% of those that support Lincoln, or at least had a lengthy conversation, and the article was in reference to them and I apologise to anyone who I haven't met that was offended because it was, as stated, directed at those that I have met.

Don't get me wrong, I couldn't give a toss if I am popular or not, but I don't want to offend those who I have never met. I still mean exactly what I said in the article, but seriously, actually read the whole thing before making assumptions and failing to realise it is about a small group rather than the entirety of Lincoln support.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Wigan Athletic, Nuneaton Town, Northern Rail and disliking Lincoln fans

Hello all.

Firstly, the video of our games at Dartford from the end of August.

Please note that the below does not apply to ALL Lincoln fans, only a section of those that I have met/talked to.

Whilst being a transsexual at a football match is rare in it’s own way, I am even rarer than that based on the simple fact that I have a severe dislike the vast majority of other people who support the same team that I do (well, based on those that I have met anyway). Yes, that is right, I have a severe dislike for a lot of Lincoln fans and for numerous reasons. Lincoln fans, for some reason, have an overwhelming high opinion of the football club, regardless is whatever happens.

The recent game at Hereford United saw around 100 turn up (I can’t be bothered to look up how many), myself included, and it was one of the most half-hearted performances I have seen from an Imps side for some time and the tactics were poor. I decided to state this on Facebook and got abuse from those who hadn’t even bothered to go to the game, stating that my opinion wasn’t valid because we were high up in the table. These fans are so high up the arse of the players and the club that they refuse to accept that we can play badly, and it is very strange that they seem to think that they don’t attend and yet their opinion of a performance is more valid than those who actually went to the games.

A lot don’t understand the offside rule, and criticise the linesman for not flagging when the player wasn’t offside WHEN THE BALL WAS PLAYED. Seriously, learn the fucking offside rule. When a player kicks the ball, you are concentrating on the player who had the ball and not the runner, so when the runner receives the ball, he could very well be beyond the last defender, but that does not make him offside. He is only offside if he is beyond the last defender when the ball is PLAYED, but some people aren't clever enough to figure that out. One person at Hereford threw a cup of tea at the linesman for not raising the flag against a player who then almost scored….even though that player wasn’t offside when the ball was played. The offside rule is not complicated, it really isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fans and a percentage are actually extremely intelligent and are a pleasure to be around (such as those who travel on the back row of the official coaches, as well as Chris Ashton, his group at the front of the coaches, a guy called Andy who I will get onto in a few paragraph, and probably about 40 fans overall that I have met), but alas, the intelligent Lincoln fan is becoming a dying breed to say the least. I'm not even just talking about football intelligence, I am talking about intelligence in general. We have a high percentage of fans who are sheep, just following the popular opinion because they're not independent enough to come up with an opinion of their own, or can't even come up with coherent sentence in one or two examples.

You see, the thing is that if a person comes up with a half reasonable argument against me, or at least tries to have an intelligent debate, then I don’t mind, but unfortunately there aren’t many of those, and unfortunately most think that their opinion is more valid than that of others. Infact, after a recent away game (Barnet I think), one person had a go at me on Facebook because my opinion was upsetting the players (all I said was that we didn't look capable of scoring for the vast majority of the game)…..I must have missed that the moment when the players weren’t fully grown adults and couldn’t deal with criticism maturely.

Some of their arguments for the most basic things are also incredibly stupid. For example, some are constantly talking about Grimsby and their fans, even celebrating them conceding like we had scored a goal ourselves....and yet Grimsby fans make a brief reference to us in a thread on their sites and all of a sudden "they are obsessed with us" according to the same Lincoln fans who never shut up about them.

But anyway, I digress. My weekend was full of football started with a trip to Nuneaton. I have recently become friends with a City fan who lives in Rawtenstall called Andy, and he agreed to drive to the game in Warwickshire, but the journey didn’t start well. He picked me up outside of Blackburn’s Ewood Park and as soon as I got into his car and we were on the motorway, he turns around and says “get your sat nav out then!”…..I didn’t have my sat-nav. Andy hadn’t made me aware that I needed to bring it, so we awkwardly made our way to Nuneaton, turning the wrong way several times, getting stuck behind a travelling armada of motorbikes (seriously, there were thousands of them) and even going through Tamworth and past their ground, before eventually rocking up at Liberty Way, nearly four hours after we set off.

Andy went to meet his brother Glen and I went into the ground. Nuneaton’s Liberty Way is your stereotypical non-league ground. It’s small with mainly terracing, the only seated stand is tiny and is stuck in a corner. The stand is shared between home and away fans and within seconds of sitting down, a Nuneaton fan came up to me and started to converse. He was clearly a few spanners short of a full set and tried to claim that Nuneaton were the only team who weren’t full time in the division……he looked stumped when I pointed out teams such as Hyde, Chester and several others were part time like Nuneaton.

The terraced away end (left) filled up quickly and all the young, lateish teen chavs that the club seems to have accumulated in recent seasons were there singing loudly….that was until Nuneaton scored after three minutes, to which the singing stopped. Miller equalised for the Imps later in the half and Nolan gave the Imps the lead at the beginning of the second half to send the Imps fans into joy. Realistically City should have extended the lead on numerous occasions in the second half before the ever impressive Andy Brown equalised for the hosts late on. Regardless of opinions of tactics and whatnot, pretty much all Lincoln fans can agree that our side is very guilty of not taking chances to kill off teams on the road this season.

Not once this season have we been dominated by the opposition, but the amount of games we dominate and don’t win is ever-increasing, and whilst I don’t think we will be in the relegation fold and will hopefully finish in the top half, I would love to be in the promotion hunt, but I don’t think we are capable of it.

The return to Lancashire proved just as tricky as getting to Nuneaton as we headed east by mistake. We ended up on the M1 before cutting across on the A57 back to Manchester, eventually taking three hours to get back in what should have been a two hour journey, at worst. I know one thing for sure, when I go somewhere with someone who hasn’t been there before, I will take my sat-nav.

So that was Saturday, but it wasn’t the end of my footballing weekend as on the Sunday I travelled to watch Wigan Athletic vs Blackburn Rovers. I had been to Blackburn Rovers during the week for their midweek match against Watford, quite frankly one of the dullest games I had ever watched, and this was soon followed by my attendance at a second straight game involving them. It is quite strange watching a team you don’t support for two of their games in a row.

I had wanted to visit Wigan’s DW Stadium for years, I don’t know why, but it always looked like a ground that was actually quite unique in the way that the seats were coloured (numerous colours, in a weird sort of boxed colour). There are a few grounds that I have wanted to visit for several years but never really gotten an opportunity, Wigan was one and the other one that is definitely near the top of the list is Plymouth’s Home Park. I have been to Plymouth before, but not since they changed the look of the stadium twelve years ago, and that is my next planned random game. If we don’t qualify for the FA Cup and fixtures allows for it, I hope to visit there within the next month or so.

Anyway, I digress again. Unfortunately, getting to the DW Stadium, or indeed any location in the north-west, is nigh on impossible on time because of the least-sufficient train company around, Northern Rail. I have lived up in the north west for a few months now and tried to get the train nearly every day, but I can count on one hand how many times that Northern Rail have been on time. I raised a complaint about this, especially as they have caused me to miss my connecting train on numerous occasions, however, they “aim to respond within 20 working days” and when they do, they just ask you more questions… reply and they “aim to respond within 20 working days.” I raised my complaint in mid-August, it’s now October and I am still waiting to get this sorted out.

Anyway, Wigan is a strange town in the sense that it has two train stations that are about 100 yards away from each other. That isn’t even an exaggeration, they are literally on opposite sides of the same road, it seems almost pointless. Getting to their ground is relatively easy, with a twenty minute walk along a single road.

The DW is surrounded by plenty of things to do….if you like shopping. It’s located right behind a shopping centre, but I wasn’t overly interested and headed to the ground. After a brief look around their tiny club shop (it’s smaller than Lincoln’s and with far less in it), I went and sat outside the turnstiles. My turnstiles happened to be right where their community team was doing a competition for kids to get on the pitch at half time. The idea was to get the ball in one of the holes representing a goal, and if they did they drew a raffle ticket out of a bucket, if it was blue then they got to go on the pitch. What was interesting was that they let some kids have a LOT of goes, and other kids they just said that they were only allowed to have one goal, it was quite strange.

Stewards eventually opened the stadium and I found my seat, finally looked out on the ground and was ultimately disappointed. I had been looking forward to going to this ground for some time and it was a bit bland if I am being honest. Don’t get me wrong, the view was fantastic of the action, but the ground itself, whilst not awful, just lacked anything to get excite about. The stadium eventually filled and the game got under way.

Blackburn took an early lead and dominate the game. Wigan were atrocious and couldn’t even pass more than ten yards to each other, it was almost like watching Lincoln from recent seasons. Blackburn should have been three or four up after 30 minutes, that’s how one sided the game was…..but then Handley was sent off for Blackburn. After that sending off Wigan started to come into the game a bit more and they equalised in the second half through Holt and eventually won the game through Emerson Boyce in added on time.
I got a bit lost heading back to the train station after the game due to the battery on my phone dying (seriously, the HTC One X is actually worse than the Samsung Galaxy Note for battery), but I eventually made my way back and caught an earlier train than I had intended. On the way back I got talking to a Scottish guy who turned out to be a Dundee United fan and he knew a lot about various levels of football, and even a tiny bit about Lincoln City. It’s been a while since I met a football fan who was quite knowledgeable.

The one good thing about Northern Rail is that you are about 80% likely to not have to pay a train fare due to how slow their conductors are, and in two months I have probably only had to pay for about 20% of the journeys I have taken, and the trip to Wigan turned out to be completely free as I didn’t once get asked for tickets, you can’t complain at that :D.

Anyway, I will leave you with that.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Further update on the videos

Hello all

As I have hinted at in recent blogs entries, I have officially been offered a job role just outside of Manchester and I have accepted. Obviously this means that for most away games I will be travelling on my own and ALL journeys that I do cover will be taken on the train due to no longer driving. Obviously I know that this won't necessarily lead to exciting videos for the most part but I will try my best.

Unfortunately this means that I will almost certainly lose record of consecutive Lincoln games that currently stands at over 400 games, with the last match that I missed being in August 2005. It will certainly seem strange on the first game when I won't be there.

I will continue to do the videos but dependent on various things, the general atmosphere of the videos will definitely change, but I will try to keep the same level of presentation, if not improve it, compared to what I currently produce.



Sunday, July 7, 2013

So, it's onto Ashby Avenue

Hello all

Saturday sees our first friendly of the pre-season that fans are able to attend (we have a behind closed doors friendly a few days earlier) and it's a derby against Lincoln United. I definitely have a soft spot for our city neighbours, and at around 50 visits, it is my most visited ground after Sincil Bank and Old Trafford. I've decided to go through some of the most most memorable things about our trips to Ashby Avenue down the years.

The First Visit

The first match I ever saw at Ashby Avenue was a friendly between the Imps and United. It was July 2002 and the Imps had just gone through a massive cull of the expensive playing staff, and what was brought in was a legion of non-league players. Although it seems very strange now to say this given how the 2002/3 season went, there was virtually no optimism ahead of our first pre-season game of that year as the low-budget Imps went made the short trip to Ashby Avenue.

City were very poor and lost the game 1-0 to United. I think it was one of the lowest feelings I have ever felt after a game as I was convinced the Imps would be relegated at the end of that season, fortunately that wasn't the case though.


The derbies against United have often showcased trialists. Some, such as Adrian Patulea do well and get offered an Imps deal (that game was at Sincil Bank), others on the other hand tend not to do that well, or do well but don't earn deals.

Some of the players during the time who have impressed but inevitably failed to earn deals are Moses Jjunju in 2002, three Portugese players in 2004 (one of whom scored three goals), Fiston Manuella and Kevin Smith, a Scottish striker who was prolific in the 2007/8 pre-season but wasn't offered a deal....he eventually played for Notts County following their promotion to League One, just after scoring 18 in 28 for Raith Rovers.

No doubt Saturday will see the usual guessing game of who the trialists are again.

Goals and late drama

I used to visit Ashby Avenue whenever they had a game when City weren't playing and there were very few games where there weren't many goals, and there are two that stick in my mind for the fact that there were late comebacks.

The first example of this comes from a game in 2007/8 when they were facing Gateshead at home. Of course Gateshead now play in the Blue Square Premier with the Imps, but back then they were playing in the Unibond Premier (as it was known then) and infact ended the season as the top goalscorers in the top 10 levels of English footballer. After United took an early lead, Gateshead soon raced into a confidence 3-1 lead with just a few minutes to go. A late goal seemed mere consolation for the Whites before late drama saw the hosts gain an unlikely point. Gateshead were promoted at the end of that season.

During the same season the Whites also had another goal filled game with late, late drama. I can't specifically recall who United were playing, I'm tempted to say Leek Town, but either way United were heading for a rare win (they only won twice at home during that season) as they lead 3-1 approaching the 90th minute....however, three goals in five minutes saw Leek take all 3 points back west. To call the defending shambolic in those last few minutes would have been an understatement.


At the end of the 2007/8 season it seemed inevitable that United would be relegated. They had started the season very well and were in the Playoff picture early on, however, their excellent away form during the first half of the season completely deserted them in the second half and combined with a poor home record, they knew that a defeat in a home game against Fleetwood (yes, the same Fleetwood that are now playing in League Two) would see them go down. Despite a spirited and dominating display, Lincoln United would inevitably lose 3-0 to Fleetwood in a game where the away side scored with their only three efforts on goal.

A City is United

It's 2009/10 and United are still pretty dire at home but have managed to get through four qualifying games
Cambridge's following that day
to get to the FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying, a round where they were drawn against Cambridge United, and there is the potential for them to join the Imps in the FA Cup 1st Round. As the game was on a Sunday due to City hosting Torquay the day before, all fans hoping that a United victory would see a Lincoln derby had those hopes dashed before hand as City were drawn to play the winners of the Blyth vs Telford replay, and United would face Ilkeston if they beat Cambridge.

Despite this, 873 people packed into Ashby Avenue, more than seven times higher than the average attendance of United in any season. Most of the home crowd was made up of Lincoln City fans who had decided to get behind the eighth tier club. The Imps fans see an ex-Imp give United the early lead as Jamie Forrester, a long time scurge of Cambridge in his days at Northampton, scores a wonder goal from 30 yards, and United could have easily made it two or even three on another day, however, three goals in little over six minutes saw Cambridge take a commanding lead that they held all the way through.

Cambridge would reach the second round before being eliminated by York.