17 October ~ Another season at Sincil Bank, another manager gone, and another fresh hell. I don’t believe any Lincoln City fan honestly thought that it was going to be easy getting back into the Football League, particularly at the first attempt, but no one sensed that the club would be in the relegation zone of the Blue Square Premier come mid-October. Steve Tilson’s sacking at the start of last week came as no surprise given how the wretched form that saw us relegated from the Football League has continued. Victory over Alfreton under caretaker boss Grant Brown was just our fourth this term. Even the most patient of fans knew that Tilson’s time was up following the 4-0 thumping by Tamworth.
With former League clubs such as York, Grimsby and Darlington, to name just three, still languishing in the BSP, no one was under any illusion that it would be tough to get back to League Two. Money for transfers was always going to be at a premium and while the club isn’t in the dire straits it was about a decade ago, chairman Bob Dorrian admitted to the Lincolnshire Echo last week, that the club was "struggling" financially and "not breaking even on a weekly basis".
On the face of it, the appointment of Tilson seemed like a very good one. Chris Sutton had walked out on the club, and we had an experienced man in charge that had got Southend promoted from League Two into the Championship. Indeed, come mid-March, relegation fears seemed to have disappeared following a 2-1 win against Southend. After that, though, our season crumbled. We took just two points from the remaining 11 games and never showed any sense of fight or team spirit.
A number of new faces were brought in for this season. The signing of former loan player Josh Gowling was impressive. He was installed as captain and appeared to show the leadership that has been badly lacking on the pitch. Sadly, his appearances have been sporadic this season due to injury, and our defending has been at times shockingly bad.
Another new arrival, Alan Power, has caught the eye in central midfield and with pacey Gavin McCallum still with us, whoever takes charge this week has players with ability at his disposal. What we need from the new manager is someone who can instil belief, spirit and, I hate to say it, passion into the players. It is something that the late Keith Alexander managed to do with little or no budget and largely with players with non-League experience.
The new manager will have until the end of the season to stop the slide and to keep us in the top tier of non-League football. Thoughts of consecutive relegations have not entered my mind, and I simply wouldn’t be able to wrap my brain round the horror of it all. Bob Winckworth