Lincoln City F.C.

Lincoln City F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Lincoln City

fullname = Lincoln City Football Club
nickname = The Imps / The Red Imps | founded = 1884
ground = Sincil Bank
capacity = 10,127
chairman = Steff Wright
mgrtitle = Manager
manager = flagicon|England Peter Jackson
league = League Two
season = 2007–08
position = League Two, 15th

Lincoln City F.C. are an English football team currently playing in Football League Two (the fourth tier of the English football league system).

The team play at the 10,127 capacity Sincil Bank in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, and are nicknamed the Imps after the legend of the Lincoln Imp. More recently, they have also been known as the Red Imps. Traditionally they play in red and white striped shirts with black shorts and red and white socks.


Brief history

Formed in 1822 as an amateur association, Lincoln turned professional in the 1891-92 season. Originally they played at the John O'Gaunts ground, however, in 1895 they moved to their current ground, Sincil Bank.

Their championship honours include three Division 3 (North) championships in 1931-32, 1947-48 and 1951-52, a Division 4 (now League Two) championship in 1975-76 (when they were managed by future England manager Graham Taylor).

It was the 1975-76 season where the club broke the record for most points for a whole season when 2 instead of 3 points were awarded for a win with 74 points in total (this was and still is the record amount of points achieved under the 2 point system); the record of winning the most games (32) and losing the fewest (4), was also set. [cite news | title=Shoot, "The ultimate stats and facts guide to English League Football", p.56 | author=Steve Pearce | publisher=Boxtree | date=1997] [cite news | url=,,10794,00.html | title=The Official Football League Website | publisher=The Football League] [cite news | url=,,10440~546463,00.html | title=The Official Lincoln City Website | publisher=Premium TV] City also become the first club in nearly a decade to score over 100 league goals (111 in total). They also won 21 out of 23 home league games in this season (the other 2 were drawn) and also won 11 games away from home, another impressive bout from the club. It was the season where, Graham Taylor recalls, "teams were petrified of coming to Sincil Bank". [cite news | title=Past Imperfect, "The Story of Lincoln City F.C.", p.144 | author=Brian Halford | publisher=The Parrs Wood Press | date=2000]

Their most recent championship was the Conference, in the 1987-88 season. This season saw the club set an all-time record attendance (which has only just been beaten by Oxford United) for a Conference match, attracting 9,432 spectators in a game against Wycombe Wanderers, on 2 May 1988, the last game of the season. The game also decided the championship, as Lincoln had not occupied the top-spot at any point in the season prior to this 2–0 victory.

Their highest ever position achieved came in the 1901-02 season, where they reached 5th position in the English Division 2 (now known as the Championship). The last season that the club spent in this division was in 1960/61, they have never returned since. No team has played as many seasons in the Football League (Lincoln are now in their 102nd League season) without ever reaching the top tier.

Lincoln's record in major cup competitions has left a lot to be desired. Their best feat in the FA Cup has been the Last-16 three times, the last time being over 100 years ago in the 1901/02 season; and their best performance in the League Cup came in 1967/68 when they reached the Fourth Round after losing 0–3 at home to Derby County in a replay. In the Second Round of the 2005/06 League Cup, Lincoln narrowly lost 5-4 (aet) to Premiership outfit Fulham at Craven Cottage, being denied a result in the very last minute of extra time by a Brian McBride goal. This was after an impressive 5-1 home victory against Championship side Crewe Alexandra.

In very recent history, the club have also been in the chase for promotion from the fourth tier via the play-offs five times, twice reaching the finals (2002/03 & 04/05) and three times getting knocked out in the semi-finals (2003/04, 05/06 & 06/07), each time under the guidance of Keith Alexander with the exception of the 2006/07 play-offs. The failure to succeed in five successive play-off competitions is a record.

The last time Lincoln were in a higher league than League Two was in the 1998/99 season where they played in the Division 2 (now League One), after they had gained automatic promotion via 3rd position the previous season.

The world-famous "Dambusters" theme is normally played when Lincoln score at Sincil Bank and supporters of the club can often be heard singing the tune and doing the flying motions when this happens. This is because The Dambusters were based just outside of Lincoln, being formed at the nearby RAF Scampton during World War II, and are therefore at the heart of the city's history.

Even though the Dambusters tune does feature heavily with Lincoln they do not have a song or chant for them alone. Except for the few lines " take my hand, take my whole life too, I cant help falling in love with you" from the Elvis Presley song "Cant help falling in love with you", But this song is used slightly by other teams around the country as well.


Early years

Having formed officially as an amateur association in 1884 after the disbanding of Lincoln Rovers (formerly Lincoln Recreation), football in the city of Lincoln had in fact been prominent since the 1860s (although not strictly connected to the modern day club).

The first game Lincoln played as an amateur team at the John O'Gaunts Ground, a ground that wealthy local brewer Robert Dawber provided and rented out to the club, was an emphatic 9-1 victory over local rivals Sleaford, on 4 October 1884. George Hallam set two records for the club that day. He scored the first ever goal for the club, and also the first ever hat-trick. Their first competitive game at home also ended in an emphatic manner, beating Boston Excelsior 11–0, with Edwin Teesdale scoring four goals. It was at this time initially, where, before the club gained entry into the Football League and professional status, the County Cup was their main priority. They got their hands on it for the first time in the 1886/87 season with a 2–0 replay victory over neighbours Grimsby Town (the initial match had finished 2–2).

Lincoln then soon helped to form what was then the Second Division in 1892/93 season as there was an increasing amount of clubs wanting to join the Football League. Their first game in the Football League was a 4–2 away defeat to Sheffield United on 3 September 1892. [cite news | title=Shoot, "The ultimate stats and facts guide to English League Football", p.130 | author=Steve Pearce | publisher=Boxtree | date=1997] Their first home game was also against Sheffield United, this time, however, Lincoln won 1–0.

The first game at Sincil Bank in 1895, after moving from the John O'Gaunts Ground due to Dawber's death, was a 0–0 friendly draw with local rivals, Gainsborough Trinity. The first competitive fixture at the ground was against Arsenal, the game ended 1–1.

Up until the 1920s Lincoln spent most of their time swinging between the Second Division and the more localised leagues, the Midland and also the Central league. After then, however, in the 1921/22 season, Lincoln, along with several other clubs from the Central and Midland leagues, founded the Third Division (North). The newly founded league and the Second Division would take turns in becoming Lincoln's home up until the early 1960s where they would drop a further division to the Fourth Division in the 1962/63 season.

The 1980s to 2005/06

In 1982 and again in 1983, Lincoln narrowly missed out on promotion to the Second Division.

In 1985, Lincoln were the opposition at Bradford City when the Bradford Fire claimed the lives of 56 spectators — two of them, Bill Stacey and Jim West, were Lincoln fans, and subsequently these fans had the Stacey West stand named after them.

Lincoln were relegated on the last day of the following season, and the year after that they became the first team to suffer automatic relegation from the Football League. This was a dramatic decline for a club who had almost reached the Second Division four years earlier and has been linked to the trauma arising from the disaster.

They regained their Football League place automatically via promotion as champions of the Conference (beforehand it was done by re-election) at the first attempt with a long ball game devised by eccentric manager Colin Murphy and have held on to it ever since.

On 8 September 1990, Lincoln were the opposition when David Longhurst suffered a fatal heart attack during the first half of a game against York City at Bootham Crescent. The game was abandoned at half-time.

Recently they have spent most of their time in the former Division 3 (now League Two) with one season spent in Division 2 (now League One) in the 1998/99 season.

In 2002/03, with the departure of manager Alan Buckley his assistant, Keith Alexander, was put in charge and given the task of keeping the team in the football league, he proved the many pundits and fans who believed that Lincoln would be relegated and sent out of business due to financial irregularities wrong. With a team made up of cheap ex-non-league players and the lower paid members of the previous seasons squad he managed to take them to the play-off final which they lost 5–2 to Bournemouth. The team were rewarded with a civil reception in Lincoln, and an open-top bus ride through Lincoln, an event usually preserved for the winners of such competitions, but was awarded to the team because of the massive achievement.

In 2003/04 Alexander again confounded the critics by coaching the Imps to another play-off position, this time losing to eventual winners Huddersfield Town in the semi-finals. Alexander, one of the very few black managers in the Football League, had a very serious brain injury (a cerebral aneurysm) halfway through the season, but made a full recovery.

In the 2004/05 season they again qualified for the play-offs, for a third year running, and in the Semi-Finals Lincoln beat Macclesfield Town 2–1 on aggregate over two legs but lost in the final against Southend United 2–0 after extra time.

In the 2005/06 season Lincoln City again reached the play-offs after many fans and critics believed that they would finish in the mid-table after losing many of their first team regulars from the previous 3 campaigns. In January both Alexander and former Assistant Manager, Gary Simpson, were put on gardening leave by the board. Alexander was soon after reinstated, however, Simpson was never to return. Shortly after, over a disagreement with other board members over the way the club was being run and certain personnel, two prominent board members, Ray Trew and Keith Roe departed from the club. Lincoln brushed this saga to the side though, and finished 7th in League 2 after only losing 3 games since the new year. Lincoln were to face local neighbours Grimsby Town in the play-offs, a side they had beaten 5-0 at Sincil Bank earlier in the season. However, once again it was not to be, as Lincoln lost 3–1 on aggregate to become the first team ever to lose four consecutive play-off competitions.

The new era

After speculation that he would take up the vacant managerial role at Peterborough United, Keith Alexander left his position as manager of Lincoln City by mutual consent on May 24, 2006 stating that he could take the club no further, and shortly after on June 15 John Schofield was appointed his successor, with John Deehan as Director of Football. When John Deehan was the Director of Football, the club has enjoyed a close link with Premiership outfit Aston Villa. As well as Villa hosting a behind closed-doors friendly with City earlier in the 2006/07 season, Paul Green has made a permanent move to the club, whilst Robert Olejnik has been loaned out. Deehan also brought in Ryan Amoo, a youth player who he worked with at Villa.

In recent years, the club have produced arguably one of the most successful youth academies in the lower leagues of English football. Players such as Jack Hobbs, who now plays for European giants Liverpool, and Scott Loach, who now plays for Championship side Watford, are evidence of this. Players such as Lee Frecklington and Owain Warlow who are still playing for the club, have also been cited as hot-prospects for the future, the former receiving interest from a number of Premiership clubs and a call-up for the Ireland B international squad, and the latter receiving a call-up for the Wales U-21 international squad. Other young talent who were not products of the clubs youth academy, yet were snapped up at a young age, have been seen in the likes of Jeff Hughes, Lee Beevers, Ryan Amoo and Paul Green, emphasising the clubs desire to bring future success through new talent and hot prospects and not just proven players.

For the fifth year in a row, under a different manager, however, Lincoln City reached the League Two play-offs after finishing 5th in the league (the highest position that they have qualified for the play-offs in). Once again, however, they lost, this time to Bristol Rovers in the Semi-Finals courtesy of a 2–1 defeat away and a 3–5 defeat at home. The failure to succeed in five successive play-off competitions is a record for any club. However, the average attendance for the 2006/2007 campaign was the largest following for thirty years, as the club hardcore is increasing with the ever increasing population of the local catchment area.

The team started the 2007/2008 campaign poorly, managing just two wins before a winless streak that lasted from August 25 to November 24th. During this winless streak the Managerial team of John Schofield and John Deehan were sacked, and replaced with former Huddersfield Town manager Peter Jackson. Under Jackson and Onuora, the team has experienced a series of better results, sending the team to mid table finish.

Note: Italics denote that the player came on as a substitute.

Notable players and managers

In the PFA Fans' Favourites survey published by the Professional Footballers' Association in December 2007, Andy Graver was listed as the all-time favourite player amongst Lincoln City fans.

Note: Names in bold are still at the club.


The Lincoln City mascot is called Poacher The Imp, after the old song 'The Lincolnshire Poacher'. He is currently in his 10th year, and has been portrayed by Gary Hutchinson for the entire ten years.

In 2003 Poacher finished 12th in the Mascot Grand National, representing his best finish.


* Boston United — Lincoln's nearest rivals locally. Rivalry intensified when Boston returned to the Football League in the early 2000s but is likely to die down again now Boston are in a lower division.
* Grimsby Town — Rivals from North Lincolnshire, who historically have spent time in higher divisions than Lincoln, however, in recent times have shared the same division.
* Scunthorpe United — Also rivals from North Lincolnshire. Scunthorpe have spent the majority of time in lower or the same division as Lincoln, however, recent success has seen them rise two tiers higher.
* Hull City — Rivalry intensfied when Hull dropped to the same division as Lincoln for a number of seasons but has since died down again due to Hull being promoted to the Premiership
* Peterborough United — Never a traditional rivalry, but have slight geographical similarities; Peterborough have since been promoted.

Despite sharing the city with Lincoln United, the two are not usually considered rivals, as United are much lower in the League system than City and the clubs never play each other except for friendlies, which usually take place in every pre-season. This is the same situation regarding Lincoln Moorlands. Other county rivals in the past have been Gainsborough Trinity and Grantham Town, but in recent times Lincoln have been in a higher league than these clubs.

Current squad

Coaching staff

First team

:"As of 03 August 2008." cite web
title = 2008/09 Squad List
url =,,10440~1349692,00.html
publisher = Lincoln City FC
date = 2008-07-23
accessdate = 2008-07-23

ee also

*List of Lincoln City players and managers
*Lincoln City seasons
*Lincoln City F.C. season 2007-08
*Lincoln City L.F.C., the affiliated women's team

External links

* [,,10440,00.html Official Lincoln City website]
* [ Lincoln City's Sky Sports homepage]
* [ Lincoln City's BBC homepage]
* [ The Imps (unofficial fansite)]
* [ The Forgotten Imp (unofficial fansite) - online since 1999]
* [ Vital Lincoln (unofficial fansite)]


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