When givemefootball suggested your correspondent might like to look at Lincoln City’s greatest player there was only one place to start looking for inspiration: The top 100 League Legends, voted by the fans to commemorate Lincoln’s 100th season in the football league in 2007.
City invited their supporters to submit ten names of their all time favourites and once the nominations had been made the club began the task of collating the names and when the top 100 had been established began to announce the countdown from 100 to 1 in small batches. A good time was had by all with the fans discussing the latest revelations and who would be next.
There were some household names in the list including, former England manager Graham Taylor. Taylor made his name as a manager, following a largely undistinguished playing career, he certainly blossomed as a coach though managing the Imps to a Fourth Division Championship with record points total, never to be surpassed as it was two points for a win in those days and the system was changed shortly thereafter.
Premiership tough guy come TV star John Fashanu was also an Imp, in a short City career ‘Fash the Bash’ clattered his way to a transfer to Millwall, appropriately and, almost inevitably to Wimbledon.
Current Premier League player, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, a typical lower league toiler when with City, now displaying silky smooth touches with Ian Holloway’s Blackpool over–achievers.
Kevin Austin was fans player of the year in 1997-98 and moved on to Barnsley and was a particular favourite of this writer who was convinced he would go on to play at the top level but an injury picked up, ironically, against the Imps appeared to blunt his undoubted potential.
Another inspirational figure for your correspondent, although not necessarily for football reasons was John Kennedy, an English teacher by day and part time footballer for Lincoln. The arrival of Graham Taylor heralded a more professional time for the club and the era of part time footballers came to an end. The genial Kennedy was an excellent ‘keeper and an excellent teacher.
Rather like the England team some time ago there seemed a never ending supply of fine goalkeepers pitching up at Sincil Bank, Peter Grotier, paid for by the fans, Mark Wallington, Dave Felgate, Barry Richardson and Alan Marriottt, our original “England’s number one”.
The memories flood back, Mick Harford, Trevor Peake, that most graceful of central defenders, Simon Yeo, who could forget that goal against Torquay to send us in to the play offs for the first time? John Finnegan, Derek Bell, Ian Branfoot, another elegant defender and an elegant striker to make a pair, Peter Graham. Dennis Leigh, boy was he effective?
Mark Bailey, Paul Mayo, Stuart Bimson; Bimmo, if only City had a corner taker like him now. Phil Turner, John Fleming, Dennis Booth, David Puttnam, Phil Stant, John Schofield, Steve Thompson, Sam Ellis, Peter Gain, “you’ll never beat Paul Morgan”, Lee Thorpe, Darren Huckerby, George Shipley, it’s just becoming a list now, how did City never get back to Championship level? Glen Cockerill, Dave Smith, John Ward, Gareth Ainsworth, Gordon Hobson, Grant Brown, Percy Freeman.
There are many, many more but the memory fades. For the record, number one League Legend was Andy Graver, the reception he got when he received his award was heart warming, from fans who mostly wouldn’t remember him. This correspondent’s own favourite? Dixie McNeil.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.