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Lincoln City F.C.

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The Imps

Ground Capacity

National League, 13th

Sincil Bank

Lincoln, United Kingdom

Sincil Bank

Bob Dorrian

Danny Cowley

National League


Lincoln City F.C. httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaen004Lin

Full name
Lincoln City Football Club


Lincoln City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Lincoln, Lincolnshire. The club participates in the National League, the fifth tier of English football.


The club plays at the 10,312-capacity Sincil Bank, and are nicknamed the Imps after the legend of the Lincoln Imp. They have also been known as the Red Imps. Traditionally they play in red and white striped shirts with black shorts and red and white socks. Their most recent championship win was the Football Conference, in the 1987–88 season. This season saw the club set an all-time record attendance for a Conference match, attracting 9,432 spectators in a 2–0 win against Wycombe Wanderers, on 2 May 1988, the last game of the season (this record has since been broken by Oxford United). The game also decided the championship, as beforehand Lincoln had not occupied the top spot at any point in the season.

The club's highest-ever position is fifth in the Second Division in 1901–02. They have not been higher than the third tier since 1960–61, and they hold the record for the most seasons in the Football League without reaching the top tier (104), and the most demotions from the League (five, in 1908, 1911, 1920, 1987 and 2011 – though in all but the last case, they returned to the League the following season).

After reaching the last 16 in the FA Cup three times, Lincoln managed to win and progress to the quarter finals on the fourth attempt, when on 18 February 2017 Lincoln became the first non-Football League side since Queens Park Rangers in 1914 to reach the Quarter Finals, scoring a 1–0 victory over the Premier League's Burnley. Their best performance in the League Cup came in 1967–68, when they reached the fourth round before losing 0–3 at home to Derby County in a replay.

Lincoln have reached the play-offs of the Third Division/League Two in five consecutive seasons, from 2002–03 to 2006–07, losing in the final twice (2002–03 and 2004–05) and the semi-finals three times. This failure to succeed in five consecutive play-off competitions is also a record.

Early years

Having formed officially as an amateur association in 1884 after the disbanding of Lincoln Rovers (formerly Lincoln Recreation), football in the city of Lincoln had been prominent since the 1860s (although not strictly connected to the modern day club). The first game Lincoln played as an amateur team at the John O'Gaunts Ground, a ground that wealthy local brewer Robert Dawber provided and rented out to the club, was an emphatic 9–1 victory over local rivals Sleaford, on 4 October 1884. George Hallam set two records for the club that day. He scored the first ever goal for the club, and also the first ever hat-trick. Their first competitive game at home also ended in an emphatic manner, beating Boston Excelsior 11–0, with Edwin Teesdale scoring four goals. It was at this time, before the club gained entry into the Football League and professional status, that the County Cup was their main priority. They won it for the first time in the 1886–87 season with a 2–0 replay victory over neighbours Grimsby Town F.C., after the initial match had finished 2–2.

Lincoln soon helped to form what was then the Second Division in 1892–93 season, as an increasing number of clubs wished to join the Football League. Their first game in the Football League was a 4–2 away defeat to Sheffield United on 3 September 1892. Their first home game was also against Sheffield United, this time, however, Lincoln won 1–0. The first game at Sincil Bank in 1895, after moving from the John O'Gaunts Ground due to Dawber's death, was a 0–0 friendly draw with local rivals, Gainsborough Trinity. The first competitive fixture at the ground was against Arsenal, the game ended 1–1.

In January 1907 The Imps knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup after a replay. Managed by David Calderhead, two late goals salvaged a home draw in the first leg. In the replay in London, an injury time goal by Norrie Fairgray took Lincoln through. Chelsea returned at the end of the season to poach Calderhead to become their manager.

Up until the 1920s Lincoln spent most of their time swinging between the Second Division and the more localised leagues, the Midland and also the Central league. After then, however, in the 1921–22 season, Lincoln, along with several other clubs from the Central and Midland leagues, founded the Third Division (North). The newly founded league and the Second Division would take turns in becoming Lincoln's home up until the early 1960s where they would drop a further division to the Fourth Division in the 1962–63 season.

Formed in 1884 as an amateur association, Lincoln turned professional in the 1891–92 season. Originally they played at the John O'Gaunts ground. However, in 1895 they moved to their current ground, Sincil Bank. Their championship honours include three Division 3 (North) championships in 1931–32, 1947–48 and 1951–52, a Division 4 (now League Two) championship in 1975–76 (when they were managed by future England manager Graham Taylor).

It was the 1975–76 season where the club broke the record for most points for a whole season when 2 instead of 3 points were awarded for a win with 74 points in total (this was and still is the record amount of points achieved under the 2-point system); the record of winning the most games (32) and losing the fewest (4), was also set. City also become the first club in nearly a decade to score over 100 league goals (111 in total). They also won 21 out of 23 home league games in this season (the other 2 were drawn) and also won 11 games away from home, another impressive bout from the club. It was the season where, Graham Taylor recalls, "teams were petrified of coming to Sincil Bank".

1980s and 1990s

In 1982 and again in 1983, Lincoln narrowly missed out on promotion to the Second Division. In 1985, Lincoln were the opposition at Bradford City when the Bradford City stadium fire claimed the lives of 56 spectators – two of them, Bill Stacey and Jim West, were Lincoln fans, and subsequently these fans had the Stacey West stand named after them.

Lincoln were relegated on the last day of the following season, and the year after that they became the first team to suffer automatic relegation from the Football League. This was a dramatic decline for a club who had almost reached the Second Division four years earlier and has been linked to the trauma arising from the disaster. This marked the fourth occasion on which Lincoln were demoted from the Football League, a record that still stands. They regained their Football League place automatically via promotion as champions of the Conference (beforehand it was done by re-election) at the first attempt with a long ball game devised by eccentric manager Colin Murphy and held on to it until the end of season 2010–11. On 8 September 1990, Lincoln were the opposition when David Longhurst suffered a fatal heart attack during the first half of a game against York City at Bootham Crescent. The game was abandoned at halftime.

Financial difficulties & Play-off attempts

With Lincoln entering administration at the end of the 2001–02 season, Alan Buckley was relieved of his duties as manager on financial grounds with Keith Alexander placed in charge of all football matters. On 3 May 2002 Lincoln successfully petitioned to go into administration but the financial crisis would leave the first team squad bereft of players as the day saw five senior players – Jason Barnett, Grant Brown, David Cameron, Steve Holmes and Justin Walker – released at the end of their contracts with a sixth, Lee Thorpe, departing for Leyton Orient. A hectic day finished with confirmation of Alexander's official appointment as team manager.

In 2002–03, Alexander was given the task of keeping the team in the football league, he proved the many pundits and fans who believed that Lincoln would be relegated and sent out of business due to financial irregularities wrong. With a team made up of cheap ex-non-league players and the lower paid members of the previous season's squad he managed to take them to the play-off final which they lost 5–2 to Bournemouth. The team were rewarded with a civil reception in Lincoln, and an open-top bus ride through Lincoln, an event usually preserved for the winners of such competitions, but was awarded to the team because of the massive achievement.

In 2003–04 Alexander again confounded the critics by coaching the Imps to another play-off position, this time losing to eventual winners Huddersfield Town in the semi-finals. Alexander, one of the very few black managers in the Football League, had a very serious brain injury (a cerebral aneurysm) halfway through the season, but made a full recovery. In the 2004–05 season they again qualified for the play-offs, for a third year running, and in the semi-finals Lincoln beat Macclesfield Town 2–1 on aggregate over two legs but lost in the final against Southend United 2–0 after extra time.

In the 2005–06 season Lincoln City lost narrowly to then Premier League side Fulham in the second round of the 2005–06 League Cup, taking the match to extra-time before the London side won 5–4 in the final minute. In the league, Lincoln again reached the play-offs after many fans and critics believed that they would finish in the mid-table after losing many of their first team regulars from the previous three campaigns. In January both Alexander and former Assistant Manager, Gary Simpson, were put on gardening leave by the board. Alexander was soon after reinstated, however, Simpson did not return. Shortly after, over a disagreement with other board members over the way the club was being run and certain personnel, two prominent board members, Ray Trew and Keith Roe departed from the club. Lincoln brushed this saga to the side though, and finished 7th in League 2 after only losing 3 games since the new year. Lincoln were to face local neighbours Grimsby Town in the play-offs, a side they had beaten 5–0 at Sincil Bank earlier in the season. However, once again it was not to be, as Lincoln lost 3–1 on aggregate to become the first team ever to lose four consecutive play-off competitions.

After speculation that he would take up the vacant managerial role at Peterborough United, Keith Alexander left his position as manager of Lincoln City by mutual consent on 24 May 2006 stating that he could take the club no further, and shortly after on 15 June John Schofield was appointed his successor, with John Deehan as Director of Football. When John Deehan was the Director of Football, the club enjoyed a close link with Premier League outfit Aston Villa. As well as Villa hosting a behind closed-doors friendly with City earlier in the 2006–07 season, Paul Green, a promising youngster, made a permanent move to the club, whilst goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik featured several times on the substitute bench during his loan spell at City. Deehan also brought in Ryan Amoo, a youth player who he worked with at Villa, who has since left the club since his contract expired. For the fifth year in a row, under a different manager, however, Lincoln City reached the League Two play-offs after finishing 5th in the league (the highest position that they have qualified for the play-offs in). Once again, however, they lost, this time to Bristol Rovers in the semi-finals courtesy of a 2–1 defeat away and a 3–5 defeat at home. The failure to succeed in five successive Play-off competitions is a record for any club.

Demise and relegation from the Football League

The team started the 2007–08 campaign poorly, managing just two wins before a winless streak that lasted from 25 August to 24 November. During this winless streak the Managerial team of John Schofield and John Deehan were sacked, and replaced with former Huddersfield Town manager Peter Jackson. Jackson quickly earned the nickname "Lord of the Imps" due to his shared name with Peter Jackson the director who made the Lord of the Rings films. Jackson parted company with the club on 2 September 2009 due to poor home form in the previous season and a poor start to the 2009/10 season.

On 28 September 2009, the Lincoln hotseat was handed to former Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers, Celtic and England striker Chris Sutton. His assistant was named as Ian Pearce, another former Premier League player. The club had been managed by coach Simon Clark following the sacking of Peter Jackson and his assistant Iffy Onuora. It was announced that Sutton would take the reins from Clark on 30 September. Sutton led Lincoln City to the Third round of the FA Cup, after beating Northwich Victoria in a second round game televised live on ITV1. City were drawn with Premier League side Bolton Wanderers in the third round. The tie was played on 2 January 2010 at the Reebok Stadium, with Lincoln losing the game 4–0 and crashing out respectfully to the Premier League side. League form improved in January, with the team profiting from new loan and permanent signings. Loan signing Davide Somma became an instant hero, scoring 9 goals in his 14 games on loan and ending up being Lincoln's top goalscorer for the season.

Sutton resigned in September 2010, citing personal reasons. However, he later revealed it was due to disagreements over spending with the club's board. On 15 October, the Imps hired Steve Tilson as the club's new manager. Under new management, things looked up for the Imps and by Christmas, Tilson's side were 11th. The good run ended abruptly, and Lincoln started to slip down the table. After a run of nine losses and a draw in the final ten games, Lincoln City were relegated from League Two on the last day of the end of the 2010–2011 season. They needed a win in their final game against Aldershot Town to survive, but lost 3–0. With relegation rivals Barnet winning their final game, Lincoln finished 23rd and were relegated. Almost 8,000 supporters watched the game.

Conference Premier

Lincoln City have played in the Conference Premier since the season 2011–12. Following relegation, Tilson released all but three members of the squad, telling them they had no future at Sincil Bank. By early October, Lincoln were one point above relegation zone and the management were coming under-fire after a run of one win in four; Tilson was sacked as manager on 10 October 2011 following a 4–0 defeat at Tamworth. Following the duo's sacking, Grant Brown was put in temporary charge.

Brown remained in charge for four games, winning the first but none of the subsequent three, before former Mansfield Town manager David Holdsworth was confirmed as manager. Holdsworth managed the Imps to safety but only by 8 points; furthermore, Lincoln lost to Isthmian League outfit Carshalton Athletic in the FA Trophy and suffered an earliest FA Cup exit since 1924–25.

Lincoln were one game away from facing Liverpool in the FA Cup third round the following season, but were denied by a second round replay defeat to Mansfield Town. On 17 February 2013, David Holdsworth left the club by mutual consent following twelve games without a win. On 27 February 2013, Gary Simpson, a former assistant of Keith Alexander during his time at the club, was appointed manager until the end of the season. Safety was secured on the final day with a 5–1 away win against Hyde.

After a good start to the 2013–14 season, Lincoln went on a run of just two wins in seventeen games saw the Imps embroiled in relegation trouble once more. From the start of February to the end of the season, Lincoln lost just three games, and finished 14th in the league, their best placing since relegation. Gary Simpson was placed on gardening leave on 3 November 2014. Assistant manager Chris Moyses was placed in temporary charge and then appointed permanently on 8 December 2014. Lincoln finished 15th that season. 2015–16 would prove to be largely a season of mid-table stability, eventually culminating in a 13th place finish. Just before the season ended, Moyses announced that he would leave the club in order to focus on his business interests outside of football, and was subsequently replaced by Braintree Town manager Danny Cowley.

2016–17 FA Cup

In the 2016–17 FA Cup, Lincoln beat EFL Championship side Ipswich Town, in a replay, after progressing past Guiseley, Altrincham and Oldham, before defeating Championship leaders Brighton and Hove Albion at Sincil Bank to make the fifth round of the FA cup for the first time since the end of the Victorian era. On 18 February, Lincoln went on to beat top flight side Burnley 1–0 to historically go through to the FA Cup quarter final, the first time a non-league club had progressed to the last eight since 1914. In the quarter finals, they were defeated 5-0 at Arsenal.


The club have played at Sincil Bank since 1895. Previously, Lincoln City had played at the nearby John O'Gaunts ground since the club's 1884 inception. Sincil Bank has an overall capacity of 10,120 and is colloquially known to fans as "The Bank". It is overlooked by Lincoln Cathedral. Former Lincoln City chairman John Reames re-purchased the ground from the local council in 2000 at a cost of £175,000. The club had sold it in 1982 for £225,000 to fend off the threat of eviction, arranging a 125-year lease.

Sincil Bank hosted England's 2–0 win over Scotland in the Victory Shield on 28 November 2008. Martin Peters paraded the FIFA World Cup Trophy at the ground in March 2010 as part of its global tour. FA WSL club Lincoln Ladies played home games at Sincil Bank in their 2011 season. The Ladies' club had previously hosted Arsenal Ladies there in an FA Women's Cup semi-final in March 2008.


The Lincoln City mascot is called Poacher The Imp, after the old song 'The Lincolnshire Poacher'. He has been portrayed by Gary Hutchinson since he was first introduced to Imps fans in July 1999. In 2003, Poacher finished 12th in the Mascot Grand National, representing his best finish. However following claims that the event at Huntingdon allows professional athletes to compete in the guise of mascots, Poacher has decided to boycott the event in the future. Gary retired as Poacher after 16 seasons, with his last match being a FA Cup first round game at home against Plymouth Argyle on 9 November 2013. Poacher has been largely inactive in recent times although he has made some brief re-apprarances during the 2016/17 season, most notably at the Ipswich Town replay at Sincil Bank.


Lincoln City are one of three professional football clubs playing inside Lincolnshire. Football clubs in Lincoln's geographical region include Scunthorpe United and Grimsby Town.

Other local rivalries include Gainsborough Trinity and Boston United – both former league clubs who like Lincoln and, until their 2016 promotion, Grimsby Town have slipped out of the Football League.

Peterborough United, Mansfield Town and York City are all clubs who have had some sort of local rivalry with The Imps in the past. The two other clubs in the City of Lincoln, Lincoln United and Lincoln Moorlands Railway are further down the footballing pyramid and are not considered rivals.


The club's first logo was very simple in design, with the letters 'L.C.F.C.' inscribed on the historic city's heraldic shield, and a ribbon displaying the club's number directly below it. In 2001 this was changed to a similar design with the club's Imp mascot and nickname added, and then again in 2014 to a simpler design, depicting only a red-and-white version of the Imp and a banner with the club name underneath. This second change was made to mark the club's 130th anniversary.


Traditionally, and currently, the colours and design of the Lincoln City strip have been a red and white striped shirt along with black shorts and red socks. This varied in the late 1960s and early 70s, the club opted to field a predominantly red strip with white shorts, and also in the 2000–01 season where the shirt was quartered red and white with white shorts. Their away kit has never retained any single pattern or design, and has varied vastly throughout the seasons, but is currently Lincoln green in colour.

Since 2015 the club's kits have been manufacture by Errea. Previous manufacturers have included Umbro (1973–78, 2007–11), Adidas (1978–83), Lowfields (1983–85), Osca (1985–87), Spall (1987–90), Matchwinner (1990–94), Admiral (1994–97), Super League (1997–99), Avec Sportswear (1999–2001), Imps Sport (2001–04), Lincoln City Collection (2004–06), Uhlsport (2006–07), and Nike (2011–15). Their current shirt sponsors are Bishop Grosseteste University. Previous sponsosrs have included J.Arthur Bowers (1982), F&T Tyres (1983–89), Wheel Horse (1989–90), Pickfords (1990–91), Findalls (1991–92), Lincolnshire Echo (1992–98), Alstom (1998–2003), Siemens (2003–04), The Community Solutions Group (2004–06), Starglaze (2006–10), GoCar (2010–11), and TSM (2011–13).

First team

As of 11 March 2017.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.


  • Division 3 (North)
  • Winners (3): 1931–32, 1947–48, 1951–52
  • Runners-up (3): 1927–28, 1930–31, 1936–37
  • League Two
  • Winners (1): 1975–761
  • Runners-up (1): 1980–811
  • Play-off finalists (2): 2002–032, 2004–05
  • Football Conference
  • Winners (1): 1987–88
  • Midland League / Central League
  • Winners (4): 1889–90, 1908–09, 1911–125, 1920–21
  • Cup

  • Football League Trophy
  • (Northern Section) Finalists (1): 2000–01
  • Conference Championship Shield
  • Winners (1): 1987–88
  • Football League Group Trophy

    · Finalists (1) 1982/83


  • Lincolnshire Senior Cup
  • Winners (38): 1886–87, 1890–91, 1891–92, 1893–94, 1907–08, 1909–10, 1911–12, 1913–14, 1914–15, 1919–20, 1921–22, 1923–24, 1925–26, 1926–27, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1945–46, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1950–51, 1955–56 (Shared), 1961–62, 1963–64 (Shared), 1965–66 (Shared), 1966–67, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1974–75, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1984–85, 1990–91, 1997–98, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2009–10, 2013–14,
  • Runners-up (32): 1892–93, 1894–95, 1896–97, 1900–01, 1902–03, 1903–04, 1908–09, 1912–13, 1920–21, 1922–23, 1925–26, 1927–28, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1932–33, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1946–47, 1949–50, 1951–52, 1954–55, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1985–86, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2014–15
  • Pontin's Reserve League Cup
  • Winners (1): 2006–07
  • Fred Green Memorial Trophy6
  • Winners (1): 2006–07
  • John Reames Memorial Trophy
  • Winners (1): 2013–14
  • Midland League
  • Runners-up (1): 1932–33
  • Third-placed (1): 1928–29
  • Highest finishes

  • Highest league finish
  • 5th in Football League Division Two (second tier): 1901–024
  • FA Cup
  • Quarter-finalists (1): 2016–17
  • League Cup
  • 4th round (1): 1967–68
  • FA Trophy
  • Semi-finalists (1): 2016–17
  • Notes:

    1 Then known as Division 4 2 Then known as Division 3 3 This final has not been officially recognised in the current Football League Trophy records, and consequently the club have not been credited as runners-up in the history books of this competition. This is due to the fact that in between the abandonment of the Texaco Cup/Anglo-Scottish Cup and the arrival of the current competition, this was the competition that took place (the Football League Group Trophy) but has not been considered an "official" replacement/transition between the trophies 4 Then known as Division 2 5 Central League 6 Competition contested every year from 2007 against local rivals, Lincoln United


    7 Division 2 from 1892–1992; Division 1 from 1992–2004 8 Division 3 from 1892–1992; Division 2 from 1992–2004 9 Division 4 from 1892–1992; Division 3 from 1992–2004 10 Football Conference from 1979–2014
  • Record league attendance: 5 March 1949 v. Grimsby Town – 23,146
  • Record cup attendance: 15 November 1967 v. Derby County – 23,196
  • Record transfer fee paid: Dean Walling – £75,000 to Carlisle United, 1997, Tony Battersby – £75,000 to Bury, 1998
  • Record transfer fee received: Jack Hobbs – >£750,0002 from Liverpool, 2005
  • Record league victory: 11–1 v. Crewe Alexandra (Home), The Football League, 29 September 1951
  • Record cup victory: 0–13 v. Peterborough United (Away), FA Cup, 12 October 1895
  • Player records

  • Record appearances: Grant Brown – 469
  • Record goal scorer: Andy Graver – 143 (1950–55, 1958–61)
  • Record goals in one season: Allan Hall – 45 (1931–32)
  • Youngest player: Shane Nicholson – 16 years and 112 days v. Charlton Athletic, 23 September 1986, League Cup
  • Oldest player: Albert Iremonger – 42 years and 312 days v. Doncaster Rovers, 23 April 1927, Football League
  • References

    Lincoln City F.C. Wikipedia

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