The Life & Times of a Lincoln fan

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Ah the thwack of leather on willow. Summer picnics, hands dangling in the water as we drift along the river, a day at the coast, an ice cream, fish and chips on the prom, athletics on the telly, Wimbledon, strawberries and cream – thank goodness that’s nearly over for another year and we can get on with the footy.

Hi, I’m Andrew Abbott, I’m a season ticket holder in the Echo Stand. I’m 56 and I’ve supported City ever since my Dad took me to Sincil Bank when I was 7 or 8. Ironically we used to be more or less where I’ve ended up.

Dad used to stand at the back of the small paddock in front of the St Andrews Stand and I used to sit on the wall by the pitch. I went to school overlooking the ground, later at the City School.

Obviously after last seasons disappointment things were bound to change at Sincil Bank and the new manager (I suppose we can just about still call him that) was bound to want to make root and branch changes to the team.

As a result, there has been a fairly comprehensive clear out and these personnel changes are well documented elsewhere in givemefootball so I won’t dwell on them here. What I do want to tell you about is an invitation only training session held last Thursday at Sincil Bank Stadium.

You have to be a bit eagle eyed to spot these things but they are on the Red Imps website so keep your eyes peeled. These public training sessions are fairly commonplace on the continent, I believe.

City held one last season which it was deemed a success and the exercise was repeated this year. Before you get all excited and start looking for the next one you firstly have to be a season ticket holder to get an invite so if you want to be in on these things (not to mention free bus travel to and from home games) you know what to do although you have now missed out on the early bird discount.

The session started with some intricate exercises, presumably to prepare the players for the rigours of life in League Two, and the idea no doubt is to get them used to playing football even though space is very much at a premium.

I have to say as someone who is stuck in an office all day this all seemed hugely enjoyable to the players who were giving it their all and woe betide anyone who ballsed up.

On then to a small sided game or games as things were changed about a bit and I will say this part gave an insight as to what things may be like next season.

I’m going to share something with you later in this article but I think it’s fair to say we’re all wondering where the goals are going to come from this coming season but if these players can reproduce the goal scoring form they showed in this session then we may have little need to worry.

It is a big 'if' though because of course no training session can be the same as a competitive game.

After a short comedy routine performed by the coaching staff which you had to be there to fully appreciate but it did involve the moveable goalpost and the groundsman won’t be too happy with them, we moved on to a question and answer session in the bar.

I’ve not been to one of these before but I have to say I was impressed by the willingness to give straight answers to questions, fielded mainly by Ian Pearce but the other coaching staff were there although Chris Sutton wasn’t.

Last Monday we heard from the Lincolnshire Echo, if we really needed it spelling out, that Davide Somma would not be joining us on loan or permanently from Leeds United.

I don’t think many fans would regard that as a surprise, much though we hoped it might happen. Perhaps this story ran as long as it did on the back of a need in this modern age to produce stories for the back pages in our local paper all summer long (if that’s a pun, sorry).

Certainly I and I suspect most fans assumed that there would be at least one more signing to play alongside Drewe Broughton and/or Delroy Facey, this is my exclusive by the way, it was explained at the meeting that the manager is now satisfied with his squad and there are not expected to be any more additions although loan signings may follow.

On the evidence of what we saw maybe there’s no need for concern, we shall see.

On an entirely different note and really nothing to do with Lincoln City I must admit to feeling a little bit saddened by the Howard Webb story. Referees look forward to games as much as players and fans and there is no bigger game than the World Cup final.

I’ve got a lot of time for Webb, he’s a ref I like to see on a Sunday afternoon on the tv and I thought, given the circumstances he did a good job.

You may disagree with me but if the quality of refereeing was half as good as Howard on a Saturday afternoon I think we’d all see a more entertaining game in keeping with the way fans like to see the game played in this country; hard but fair.

That’s it for my first effort; I hope you enjoyed it and will continue to log on to Give Me Football to read my views. Search against my name on Twitter and click follow me and I’ll send hints of what’s to come just to keep you interested.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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