Whilst any exercise to establish a definitive list of football club legends will always be subjective and essentially pointless, there are undoubtedly players whose history is inextricably linked with that of one club. Legendary status may be conferred for a variety of reasons: there are those who remain loyal over a sustained period of time without necessarily being great players or achieving anything in particular (we have a lot of those in our history); club discoveries who go on to achieve great things elsewhere (Billy Gillespie, Tommy Fern, Mick Harford, Darren Huckerby); players who arrive at the club with stellar careers behind them (Jackie Robinson, Doug Wright, and the great Jock Dodds), and we may even consider the ones that got away (Sam Clucas). They are all Imps at the end of the day, and we thank them for it.
But the ones we love the most are those who help our club to achieve great things. They may not be great players, they may never rise above the lower divisions, but they contribute something special to the club’s history. In years gone by, that essentially meant a great cup run or winning promotion, or occasionally both. However, the vast majority of players to wear the red and white of Lincoln City never achieve either of those things. That is the course followed by the majority of footballers outside the highest echelons but they all live in hope of greatness of some kind.
Players to have won more than one title or medal with Lincoln City are therefore few and far between, rarer that a Steve Evans sentence with no bullshit in it. In fact, there were only seven prior to 2018: Clem Jackson, Walter Wilson and George ‘Tosh’ Barrell all won the Midland League and Central League titles with City in 1908-09 and 1911-12 respectively; and Bobby Owen, Tony Emery, Willie Windle and Jim Grummett were part of the squads that won Division Three (North) in 1947-48 and 1951-52. Phil Neale won promotion from the Fourth Division twice, but only once as champions.
That all changed with the arrival of Danny Cowley, who wrote himself indelibly into club legend with a trophy every season. One feature of Cowley’s tenure was the speed with which the squad was transformed to meet the challenge of taking the club to the next level, and not many players survived all three Cowley years. To that original list of seven double medal winners, we must now add six more: Alex Woodyard, Luke Waterfall, Sam Habergham and Elliott Whitehouse (all of whom won the National League and the Checkatrade Trophy), and Neal Eardley and Michael Bostwick (who both won the Checkatrade and League Two). Theoretically, we could include Matt Green after making enough appearances to qualify for the League Two medal despite leaving in January, and those players who received Checkatrade medals despite not actually playing in the final. However, it is difficult to justify their inclusion when they were not there to see it through.
Moving up another level, there are only two players in the club’s history to win three titles: Matt Rhead and Harry Anderson were there for the National League, Checkatrade and League Two triumphs.
Now for the unique claim to fame: Harry is the seventeenth player to appear for the club in three different tiers, but the only one to achieve the feat in an upwards direction. Will that ever be equalled? Time will tell, but I would advise you not to hold your breath. How good would it be to see him make it a fourth tier in an upwards direction? That surely would be a record to stand for all time, and the opportunity is there right now – over to you, Harry.
Whatever happens in his future career, Harry Anderson’s contribution to our club and therefore to our lives has been tremendous. No discussion of Lincoln City club legends can be complete without him, and as he stands on the edge of becoming the 59th player in the club’s history to reach 200 appearances, we would like to dedicate a quiz to him.
Have a go at our Harry Anderson Quiz below:
Can you get 15 out of 15 on our @hazanderson10 Quiz?
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) March 30, 2021