LET'S LOOK AT: Lincoln City (Part Two)
Feature by Jaybee
Updated Friday, 10th September 2010
The latest in Barnet Mad's series on opponents' club histories
LET’S LOOK AT:
LINCON CITY (PART TWO)
On the resumption of fixtures following WWII, in season 1946/47, Lincoln finished 12th in Division 3 (North), but the following season, the Imps were champions, clinching the title with a win over Hartlepool. Manager, Bill Anderson had built a championship winning side for the princely sum of £2,000!!
Unfortunately, the Imps had not got over their tendency to ‘yo-yo’ between divisions and the following season they finished bottom of Division Two with just 28 points. Two top 5 finishes back in Division Three followed before the Imps again won the Division Three (North) title in 1952. Lincoln recorded their biggest ever win by defeating Crewe Alexandra, 11-1, Andy Graver, top scorer for the season with 36 goals, scoring six in this match.
This time, Lincoln were to remain in the Second Division for a much longer period. The club finished 15th in their first season back in the second tier, rarely rising above mid table, though in 1956, they finished 8th. In 1957/58, they looked doomed to relegation, but they won all their last six matches to escape by a point. However, in 1961 the Imps finished bottom with just 24 points and were relegated to the Third Division, which by this time was not split into two regional sections, a new, Fourth Division having been established in 1958.
Things went from bad to worse as the following season, Lincoln finished third from bottom of the Third Division and suffered their second consecutive relegation and found themselves in Division Four for the first time in 1962.
And things didn’t get much better. In the 1962/63 season, a feature of which was the long cold winter which saw many games postponed, the Imps finished third from bottom and had to seek re-election as they finished in the bottom four of the league. The following season saw a big improvement as Lincoln finished 11th. However, the next three seasons saw the club having to seek re-election each season, the club finishing bottom in 1967. In 1967/68, thankfully they improved to finish 13th. That season also saw the club record their record ever crowd, 23,196, against Derby County in a 4th round League Cup match. This record still stands today.
In 1971, the club had to seek re-election again and this prompted the appointment of anew manager, one Graham Taylor, a former player at the club. In his first season, the Imps missed out on promotion by just one point. In 1975, they missed out only on goal average, but the following year, Lincoln stormed to the Fourth Division championship, winning by six points. The following season, Taylor achieved a healthy 9th in the Third Division but then left the club for Watford, taking them to the First Division and eventually ending up as England manager.
In 1979, while Taylor was taking Watford to their second successive promotion, Lincoln finished bottom of the Third Division with just 25 points.
However, new manager, Colin Murphy took the Imps back to the Third Division in 1981 as the club finished as Fourth division runners up to Southend. The following season, Lincoln finished 4th in Division Three, only missing out on a second successive promotion by a point. In 1986, Murphy left the club and the club was relegated the following year back to the Fourth Division after finishing bottom of Division Three.
The following season, 1987/88, worse was to follow when Lincoln gained the unenviable record of being the first club to be automatically relegated from the league into the Conference after finishing bottom of Division Four. On the last day of the season, Lincoln lost at Swansea, while rivals Torquay and Burnley (how times have changed!) both won their matches.
Given the way that Lincoln have tended to ‘yo-yo’ from one division to another, it was no surprise that the Imps, back under the management of Colin Murphy, were promoted back to the football league at the first time of asking, finishing two points above runners up, Barnet.
In their first season back in the league, the Imps finished in 10th place. Following their return to the Football League, Lincoln became a steady club in the 4th tier (renamed Division 3 following the introduction of the Premiership in 1992) for a number of seasons only rarely threatening to make the play-offs.
However, in 1998 they finished 3rd and were promoted to Division 2 (the old Third Division, now League One). The club had been managed by John Beck but he was sacked two months before the end of the season and replaced by his assistant, Shane Westley. The Champions that season were Notts County, captained by one, Ian Hendon!! However, once again, their stay was short as they finished second from bottom in Division 2 the following season and were relegated.
On returning to Division 3, Lincoln’s performances slumped and by 2002, they finished 22nd, two places off of the bottom. However, former Barnet striker, Keith Alexander, in his second spell as Lincoln manager, took the club to the play-offs the following season, an achievement that, unfortunately for the Imps, they were to repeat over the next four seasons as Lincoln failed on each occasion to either win automatic promotion or to win the play-offs. Definitely, a case of ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’.
In 2007/08, the club finished 15th in the now renamed, League Two and in 2008/09, they finished 13th. Last season, under new manager, Chris Sutton, the Imps had another disappointing season finishing in 20th place in the table, just one place above Barnet. This season, the Imps’ fans will be hoping for a big improvement in their league placing come the end of the season.