How badly do you want a League Cup tie at the Bank next August? Manchester United at home in the second round? A dream perhaps, but football is all about dreams, isn’t it?
Allow me to ask you a question: how important has Callum Howe been to Lincoln City this season?
Impossible to quantify, you might say, and you would be right. But do we have a stronger team with him than without? Is the squad stronger for having him there?
Recent reports suggest he is forming a very important central defensive partnership with Luke Waterfall. How important is that, in the grand scheme of things? Well, consider Moore and Charlton, Hansen and Lawrenson, even Peake and Thompson on a more parochial level. Bill Shankly believed the cornerstone to team building was to get that partnership right; everything else could be built around them. Shankly spouted some rubbish in his time, but he was dead right about that.
The relevance to us is that we are starting to build a very impressive pair of centre backs, and we would not have had that without the original Crowdfunder: Moyses Mission. The £20,000+ raised enabled us to sign Callum Howe, has been the catalyst for that solid pairing, and means we are undoubtedly in a better position than we would have been without it. Solid, tangible evidence that the effort that went into that original fundraising campaign has paid real dividends on the pitch, where it matters most. The fans can make a real difference.
So what? It’s in the past.
We are seventh in the National League, six points off the top with a (home) game in hand. A win over Bromley on Saturday could well take us into the play-off places with a game in hand. Great, our job is done, isn’t it?
On the contrary, it has only just started.
In my opinion we have the best squad for 7 or 8 years. There is a sense of direction and commitment that is night and day compared to 12 months ago, and many fans are starting to realise that this season may well be our best chance of regaining our League place. I have seen nothing to fear from any of the other teams, but the vagaries of a long football season are upon us already. We have lost several important players so far – Callum Howe, Matt Sparrow, ‘Lethal’ Liam Hearn and the influential Craig Stanley have all missed a lot of match time – and we are sure to lose a few more before the season is out.
So let us change our mindset.
We are outside the play-offs, and that is not where we want to be. We must not be satisfied. It isn’t good enough.
The players and management are doing everything they can to get us there, but they need us to help them. We need a few more players without question, to build strength in depth, but we need money that isn’t there. We can go to every game we can and pay our money at the gate, and perhaps try to take that cynical friend with us. In fact, I would say we have an obligation to do so if we are real fans. But we need more.
Terry Hawkridge would be a great signing for starters. But we need more.
Jesus, will these demands ever cease?
Well, that depends on how fed up you are of going to Southport and Welling. An away game against Boreham Wood on a freezing Tuesday night, anyone? And that home game against Altrincham always brings in a good gate, doesn’t it? Exciting stuff.
Or would you sooner be welcoming Portsmouth, Notts County, Northampton and Carlisle? A trip to Oxford, perhaps? We were bored with that at one time, but what would you give to see those days return? How badly do you want a League Cup tie at the Bank next August? Manchester United at home in the second round? A dream perhaps, but football is all about dreams, isn’t it?
Well, you now have an opportunity to decide. How much does it mean to you?
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