This is my forty-seventh season watching Lincoln City. Considering some of the tripe I have been made to suffer in that time…
This is my forty-seventh season watching Lincoln City. Considering some of the tripe I have been made to suffer in that time, that must surely merit awards for long service, fortitude and perseverance as a minimum. With the proliferation of desperate no-win, no-fee sharks out there, I could probably sue the club for mental cruelty. If I were to add up all the money I have spent following this club, it would rival Alan Sugar’s pension fund. You get the idea.
There have been some great times of course. Despite what happened last season, 1975-76 will always remain with me too. But overall they have been but specks of light in an otherwise dark sky.
The passing of John Worsdale last month got me thinking, and launched me into nostalgia mode. Worsdale signed for David Herd’s revolution at the start of the 1971-72 season, which is when I started watching City. It occurred to me this morning that I have witnessed exactly thirty-five percent of Lincoln City’s total existence since formation in 1884. A hundred and thirty-three years is a long time, and I have personally seen over a third of it. No wonder people think I can be a walking encyclopaedia at times. It is not that I have read all about it, I remember it.
OK, so I’m getting on a bit nowadays. I’ve seen a few things in my time. The world is a very different place compared to what it was. Call it nostalgia, but things aren’t what they used to be in so many ways. Even nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
Take television advertising. The main purpose used to be to inform the public about the product and to tell the viewer why they should buy it. It used to be imaginative, but still related to the product. The viewer was left in no doubt about anything.
Today’s advertising appears to have no connection with the product whatsoever. I am frequently left wondering what the hell that last advert was supposed to be selling. The advertising agencies must be laughing all the way to the bank. All they do is film some abstract images, marry them to an awful song by some yodelling twerp with Auto-Tune up his nose, and Bob’s your uncle. Who signs these adverts off on behalf of the poor advertiser is beyond me. They are being ripped off mercilessly.
But the main difference is less obvious, and appears to be driven by cultural changes. Advertising was always an art form, intended solely to sell the product. But why does so much of it seem on the cusp of dishonesty now? In Germany, the public demands quality. In Britain, the public demands cheap, and ideally something for nothing. It expects to get a high quality item for peanuts, and I’m afraid that just isn’t possible. And advertisers are playing up to it.
Take the current advertisement for the Dacia Duster, for instance. We have an interest in this area right now, because my other half is currently considering replacing her company car. For some reason she likes SUVs, so we have been out and about to take a look at what is available.
For the uninformed, Dacia is a Romanian car manufacturer which is trying to break into the mainstream. The Duster is an SUV, but an extremely cheap one. In a very crowded market, a Jaguar F-Pace or a BMW X3 will set you back £34,000, and the big-selling Audi Q3 starts from £27,000. Even a Nissan Qashquai is £19,000 for the base model, and a bottom-end Vauxhall Mokka £15,000. The base model Duster starts from around £9,000. Sounds like an amazing saving, then.
The television advert actually boasts about its £9,000 price tag and invites you to do the maths. OK, let’s do the maths.
But first, let’s ask a couple of important questions. Firstly, what are you getting for your £9,000? Are you getting a quality vehicle capable of matching its more expensive counterparts? Should it really be pitching itself in competition with BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Nissan, Vauxhall and the rest, and implying you are an idiot if you don’t buy a Duster?
Secondly, the base model is cheaper than a Ford Fiesta, and only just more expensive than a Fiat Panda. For an SUV? I wonder why that is?
Well, I’m not Jeremy Clarkson, but I don’t need to be.
To begin with, the Duster is built in India and is based upon ancient underpinnings from Nissan. The base model has a 1.2-litre engine (I’m not kidding), is front-wheel drive, has no air conditioning, no electric windows, no alloy wheels, no fog lights, and no radio (I’m not kidding about that either). The plastics feel like they come from recycled wheelie-bins. At a time when safety on the roads is paramount, it has only a three-star EuroNCAP rating because it is built from cheap components. The seats were designed by someone who will never have to sit on them. The engine is noisy, extraneous road noise intrusive, the ride and handling are horrible, and the braking questionable. It eventually struggles to 62 mph in a sedate eleven seconds. Take this thing off road, you won’t be coming back.
There is a reason why this car is £9,000: it’s rubbish. Dacia claims the car focuses on the essentials, not the unnecessary. Well, if safety, comfort, handling, equipment and quality are not things you look for in a car, go buy one. We’ve done the maths and won’t be joining you.
And then we have Ray Winstone. Where do we begin with that one? Putting Mr Winstone’s tortured struggle with the English language to one side for a moment, what is he advertising, and how is it sold?
His adverts for online bookmaker bet365 have been with us for some time now, since 2009 in fact. They persuade, cajole and almost threaten us into signing up for this great offering. The latest advert makes its members sound like a crack team of intelligence agents, a global network of sophisticated highly-trained commandos who know and see everything. Here is your opportunity to be one of them. You would be a fool not to. You, too, can be like James Bond.
What he is really inviting you to do is to join a crack team of idiots, a network of brainless people from whom bet365 can take lots of money on a daily basis. He is asking you to give all your money – and possibly a lot more besides, given the prevalence of gambling addiction in Britain today – to a bookmaker. The basic premise of that advertisement is that a fool and his money are soon parted.
And the irony of having a bloke who has twice been declared bankrupt spearheading a campaign on behalf of a bookmaker seems lost on them. You, too, can be like me.
After all of that digression, we return to Lincoln City. What the hell am I on about this month?
Remember my comment about having suffered terribly for forty-seven seasons? Well, I am not suffering at the moment. We are enjoying a golden age in the history of this club, and we need to recognise it as such. We are not getting something for nothing, of course, because we have paid for our season tickets. But has there ever been better value for money at any time? It is simple and honest. You pay your money in exchange for an experience which is exciting, vibrant and infectious. The product on offer is not the Premier League, thank God. This is better.
What has happened at this club in the last fifteen months is a miracle. It has been the best fifteen months in my forty-seven seasons, and by a long chalk. And here’s the best thing about it: it is still happening. We are back in the Football League, and already looking like potential play-off contenders despite what has officially been a very tough start in terms of fixtures.
The Dacia Duster promises a lot, but delivers very little. Ray Winstone promises the world, and delivers nothing.
Lincoln City promises very little, but is currently delivering so much more.
Nostalgia? You can keep it. I’m staying with this.
Who did our members consider to be September’s star players?
There is a familiar theme to this month’s ratings, with our three centre halves taking the top three spots. Ironically, the actual Player of the Month is LUKE WATERFALL, who lost his place in the side despite two very good performances at the start of the month. Those performances also moved him into third place in the overall Player of the Season standings, and into first place in Home Player of the Season.
Second place goes to SEAN RAGGETT, following up August’s Player of the Month vote with another top three finish. Where on earth are we going to find a replacement when he heads to East Anglia in January? The chances of finding another centre back who looks like him and plays like him are very remote…
..oh, hang on a moment…
…third place goes to ROB DICKIE, who displaced this month’s Player of the Month from the side and looks a great replacement for Raggett in every way. With Waterfall waiting in the wings, we are looking very solid in central defence, provided the transfer from Reading is made permanent at the end of his loan period in December.
Out of interest, in fourth and fifth places come central midfielders Michael Bostwick and Alex Woodyard. If nothing else, this month’s top five illustrates the importance of partnerships to a successful side.
The average team score per game of 6.58 was down significantly compared to the August score of 6.88.
1. Luke Waterfall 7.48
2. Sean Raggett 7.28
3. Rob Dickie 7.09
4. Michael Bostwick 7.03
5. Alex Woodyard 7.01
6. Harry Anderson 6.91
7. Ollie Palmer 6.83
8. Neal Eardley 6.66
9. Sean Long 6.59
10. Billy Knott 6.52
11. Nathan Arnold 6.40
12. Josh Vickers 6.27
13. Sam Habergham 6.20
14. Josh Ginnelly 6.18
15. Matt Green 5.91
16. Paul Farman 5.90
17. Elliott Whitehouse 5.85
18. Matt Rhead 5.68
Individual ratings by match:
Luton: Alex Woodyard 7.89
Stevenage: Sean Raggett 8.41
Forest Green: Harry Anderson 8.07
Mansfield: Rob Dickie 7.63
Notts County: Michael Bostwick 7.07
Barnet: Ollie Palmer 7.60
Grimsby: Harry Anderson 7.00
So where does that leave us regarding the current player of the season standings?
1. Sean Raggett 7.61
2. Alex Woodyard 7.47
3. Luke Waterfall 7.31
Home player of the season:
1. Luke Waterfall 7.65
2. Sean Raggett 7.60
3. Alex Woodyard 7.56
Away player of the season:
1. Sean Raggett 7.62
2. Alex Woodyard 7.33
3. Josh Vickers 7.07
August Player Ratings: Why Sean Raggett Is In Serious Danger
Average Player Ratings v Luton Town (h)
Average Player Ratings v Stevenage (a)
Average Player Ratings v Forest Green Rovers (a)
Average Player Ratings v Mansfield Town (h)
Average Player Ratings v Notts County (a)
Average Player Ratings v Barnet (h)
Average Player Ratings v Grimsby Town (a)
? Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) October 12, 2017