Home > Football, Previous clubs > My time at Lincoln City…Part 2 Clocking up the miles and making it permanent.

My time at Lincoln City…Part 2 Clocking up the miles and making it permanent.

I headed back to Bristol after the home victory against Grimsby Town knowing that the following week would be a big one. I am not just talking about the size of the matches but also the amount of mileage that I would be clocking up. Away games at Carlisle and Darlington were the fixtures for that week. Bristol was a long way from both. I met the squad at the team hotel in Carlisle on the Tuesday evening after a frighteningly long drive. A defeat at Brunten Park made for a very long day. I think I arrived back home at about 3am.  It was back in Lincoln on the Thursday and Darlington on the Saturday. I asked one of the young lads who was not playing to drive my car behind the team bus so that I could go directly home to Bristol from Darlington instead of travelling back to Lincoln.

I remember at half time that Keith threatened the team with a spot of Sunday training if we didn’t pull our fingers out. This would have been disastrous for me and was hoping that it didn’t come to that. Well, we lost the match and the half time threat turned to a reality. Thankfully he let me off. As a loan player it was a slightly different situation for me but he really wasn’t happy with the performance. Keith didn’t come down too heavy on players as a general rule but you always knew where the line was with him.

An enjoyable and successful loan spell was turned into a permanent transfer before the play-off matches against Grimsby Town. There was quite a bit of negotiating to do for all parties. I had an extra year beyond the 2005-06 season on my contract at Bristol Rovers. I had to take a cut in wages so things had to be right for me. Eventually it was Keith that made the difference. I have to say that if it wasn’t for him then I may not have signed at that time. He even suggested that I stay living in Bristol and travel up on a Thursday like I had done on loan. This worked for a short loan spell but I didn’t feel comfortable doing it for a further two years. It would not have been fair on the rest of the lads and my fitness and form would have suffered as a consequence.

So I had agreed to become what was Keith’s final Lincoln City signing before the end of that season. It gave me a bit of an advantage is putting the house up for sale in Bristol. There was a chance that we could we could be moved up to Lincoln by the start of pre-season training.

Our play-off spot was secured which meant that we faced Grimsby Town in the play-offs. The 5-0 victory against them did us no favours whatsoever. It made them more determined to gain some revenge. The pre-match talk made us favourites but we all knew there would be an improved performance by them after the heavy defeat they suffered. A 0-1 home defeat put them in the driving seat for the 2nd leg at Blundell Park. Although we equalised quite early on we never played well enough to deserve a place at Wembley.

I had a brief chat with Keith after the game when we returned to Sincil Bank. Effectively it was the end of the season so needed to know how the land lay as I was heading off to Bristol. It was a funny conversation really. We were obviously all very downbeat. Keith mentioned that he may be leaving for pastures new. I had only signed a week or two previous to that so didn’t want Keith to leave. He was such a big factor in me signing that I felt left in the lurch a little bit.

Keith eventually did leave which led to a summer of uncertainty for me personally. I had just signed for Lincoln and the manager was off. I don’t blame Keith at all. You need to think of yourself in football. There was all sorts going through my mind. The next manager may not fancy me, for one.

Thankfully for me John Schofield took over.

I would like to say thank you to the sponsors of this blog: JJB SPORTS who have a 3 for 2 offer.

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