Saturday, 26 June 2010

New "Mind of an Imp" sponsorship deal

Lets be honest £25 isn't what it use to be. It will last maybe a couple of hours on an "up the field old boys FC" Reunion (4-5 hours if you have a reputation for being skilled at getting "the last round in" and being the last one to place money in the quiz machine). Or you could waste it all on world cup stickers and like myself end up with a pile of swaps and still be nowhere near finishing the sodding thing. It will however get you a lime green Steaua Bucharest away shirt from sports direct in Lincoln and yes i am tempted but then again who wouldn't be?

However beer and dodgy Eastern European football shirts aside I have decided, for once, to invest £25 of sponsorship into what I am sure all readers of this blog will agree is a very worthy cause.
Ladies and Gentleman it gives me great pleasure to announce the sponsorship of Wilbur the Guinea pig.


Wilbur lives at Cavy corner in Doncaster. It is a centre that looks after Guineas that haven't had a great start in life and cannot be re-homed. If you to want to join me in helping with their fantastic work then just follow the link at the bottom of this blog entry.

Friday, 25 June 2010

I'm in!

Well i am now officially paid up for the Imps 2010/11 league campaign. £266 quid for 23 games of gut wrenching action and drama

The Imps new home kit is launched next Thursday so i may well be going over to Lincoln again next week to purchase it if it is any good. What with tickets on sale for the Celtic and Norwich pre season games and maybe the Leeds match in the Carling cup Sincil Bank could be quite busy. Though by Lincoln's standards 'quite busy' means about 4 waiting in line. There were a couple of people in the queue before me on Friday and i took the below picture of these little fellows getting their season tickets as i was coming out of the office! Pig army,Pig army Pig army!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Lets all cheer up

Ok so England's World cup campiagn hasn't got off to the start we wanted but here's some sporting reasons to be cheerfull!

1) We still have one game to get it right.
2) Nottinghamshire CCC are top of BOTH the 4 day Championship and our twenty20 group.
3) We could all be Grimsby Town fans.
4) Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team broke a 12 game losing streak last night.
5) The Riverhounds won 3-1 last night.
6) We have two British Drivers at the top of the F1 drivers championship
7) We hold the Ashes.
8) Wimbledon starts Monday so we will be seeing more of Jelena Jankovic for the next two weeks!


Oh I nearly forgot, We could all be Scotland fans!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Worrying times

Its not been a great 2010 for the Pittsburgh sports nation. The Steelers didn't make the playoffs and have had a difficult off season. We managed to trade our best receiver to the Jets (a team we are due to face in the 2010 season!) in return for a 5th round draft pick. Then we had the big Ben issues and to top all this off, the owners have shown no leadership, hid behind their desk and left the head coach to face the press while they released a short statement on the matter. They are more than likely to be busy coming up with more ways to ruin the great merchandise the club produce by adding tacky four leaf Clovers to some items again.
Then we have the Penguins, whose quest to defend the Stanley cup and reach a third final on the trot went up in smoke when they produced two woeful displays in the last two games in the series and lost to Montreal in the quarter finals. But i do feel we can expect great things from them next year.
The Hounds appear to be having a decent USA Cup run and hopefully can show some more consistency in the league and finish nearer the top than the bottom but it would seem to be a rebuilding season.
My main reason for this blog is the state of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball side.

We have just had our 12th (yep TWELFTH) straight loss to go 23-44 and slump to the bottom of the division. We got off to a decent start and have scored some good wins, the 2-0 win over the Phillys for example. We have one of the smallest budgets in MLB and it's starting to show. The coach is getting shit, the owner is getting shit and it all looks quite grim.
Is ok saying the owner should sell up but who is going to buy? Nobody is buying sports clubs at the moment. If Liverpool FC one of the biggest clubs in the world can't find a buyer why should the Pirates? Its ok blaming the coach but he can only work with what he's got.
What we need is for people to stop knocking them and support them through this sticky patch. If crowds rise then that's more money to go into the team. At least the owner answers fan's questions on the monthly web cam chats. Its easy when you have a winning team but it takes some balls when you know your side is struggling and you know you are going to get a load of shit from the fans. The Rooneys of this world could/should learn alot from this.
Come on Pirates lets turn this around and hopefully a few of the people who wear Yankees and Red Sox caps in western PA will be wearing pirates ones! (well we can hope!)

Friday, 18 June 2010

First week of the season

Well the great Gods of fixture lists and cup draws have certainly given the Imps a mixed start to the season. Both our two opening matches are away but the venues are at the opposite ends of the footballing spectrum.
First the good news. In the Carling cup City have drawn one of the plum ties away at Championship side Leeds united.

Elland Road

I am really looking forward to my trip to Leeds. Its the nearest football league ground to me I have not been to and I know quite a few Leeds fans, so the banter leading up to the tie will be fun. The odds are that we will get beat but with the recent upturn in Leeds' fortunes a decent crowd can be expected; with maybe up to 2,000 Imps in attendance. City should get a decent payday as each club gets 40% of the gate money.

From Yorkshire's best football league stadium to the worst. The Imps will start their league campaign away at Rotherham United.
Well that should read the Imps will start there campaign away at a soulless athletics stadium on the outskirts of Sheffield as Rotherham not longer play in their home city. Its not far from Sheffield to Rotherham but the home fans are drifting away. Rotherham got to the playoff final last year but averaged less at home than sides that struggled like Lincoln and Grimsby. No side has been docked as many points in the league over the past 4 years than Rotherham and it remains to be seen if they can afford their current side or if they are yet again bending the rules. You would have thought that they would have learned their lesson but with this lot you can never be too sure. When they got booted out of the home ground the league granted them 5 seasons to move back to Rotherham in a new stadium. We are on season 3 now and not a brick has been laid. I was hoping they would win the playoff final so we wouldn't have to go there but alas they blew it so here we are.

My main gripe with them is the way away fans are treated. I am sure that for Athletics the Don Valley is fantastic but for football its dreadful. As you can see from these pics i took in the 2007/08 season, the view is one of the worst you will ever get. I could just about stomach this if they didn't charge you £18 quid for the privilege of sitting in it. £10 would be a much fairer price and if they did charge that i am sure their home gate would rise. The plus points are that we get to go in August and not a cold wet night in December and you have the Meadowhall shopping centre nearby so you can get some decent beer and snap without too much trouble

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Images of a season.

Over the past season i attended 80 live match's from the Premiership to the Doncaster senior league. When the Imps are away its good sometimes to go and watch some non league football for a fraction of the cost. In this post i have found some pictures out of different grounds that have been visited. I hope you enjoy them.
The first set is from the FA Cup. Lincolns early season away games matched when most of the early rounds of the FA Cup were being played. Over 900 teams enter the FA cup and before the Imps enter in round one six rounds have already been played. The big sides in the Championship and Premiership join the party in the 3rd round, A stage Lincoln made this year for the 1st time since 1999.
The FA cup
Extra preliminary round.

We start the Journey in inner city Nottingham to watch Rainworth Miners Welfare out play Radford fc from start to finish.

Premliinary Round
Rainworth progress again this time beating Heater st Johns 3-1

I watched Retford United take on Lincoln United in the first qualifying round. It finsihed 1-1 on the day but Lincoln took the replay 2-1

For the 2nd Qualifiying round it was back to the outskirts of Nottingham to watch Eastwood beat Corby Twon 2-1. Corbys fans were some of the best i encounted on my travels this season.

I watched Lincoln United host Frickley in the 3rd Qualfying round. It finished 1-1 but United won the replay on penalties to go through.

1ST Round Proper AFC Telford v Lincoln City (1-3)

2nd Round Proper Northwich Victoria v Lincoln City 1-3

3rd Round Proper Bolton 4-0 Lincoln city

The season started with Lincoln Citys pre season tour to Germany to play FC Celle.
It was a great couple of days away even though we lost. On the way to Celle we checked out Werder Bremans stadium and tucked into some great tasteing German Beer. Very very good times.The then Lincoln manager Peter Jackson took time to chat to us and Lincolns cheif Exc baught us at least three rounds of beer in the ground. We were four of about eight Lincoln fans in the ground.
Werder Breman stadium

FC Celle fc stadium

Crusaders 1-0 Colraine.
I took a few days of work to travel to Northern Ireland to watch the Irish cup holders beat Colaraine. Belfast is a great city don't let the media bias put you off Belfast is everything Dublin is,But better.

Berwick Rangers 2-2 East Stiringshire
A great weekend away with the Retford Imps. Beer,Pizza,football what can be better? oh and Lincoln beat Bournemouth as well!

In the 2009/10 season Gainsborough Trinity were Lincolnshires top ranked Non-league club. I saw them four times through out the season. It was another poor year for the blues. Lets hope its better next time around

Home town sides
couple of pics from Retford Town (Top) and Retford United.

Sutton Town fc

Harworth CI

The dugouts at Newark Town fc

The Main stand at Goole Town (Goole 0-3 Lincoln in pre season)

Main Stand at Shirebrook Town

Long Eaton United fc

Burton Albion 1-0 Lincoln
We went one down in the first min and thats how it stayed.

Grimsby Town 2-2 Lincoln City
Possibly the most important Lincolnshire derby in our history 2-2 was our best league result of the season.

Every picture tells a story. This is Relegated Grimsby,s

Darlington 1-1 Lincoln City
A goal 5 minutes into injury time rescued a point for on a Freezing cold night away at rock bottom Darlington. Darlington built a 25,000 all seater stadium with Premiership football in mind in the early 2000,s. They now average about 2,000 and slipped out of the football league this season,which is a shame as its a great little club that were sold a dream that they couldn't live up to by an ex owner

Chesterfield 2-1 Lincoln City
Last ever visit to Saltergate as Chesterfirld have a new ground for next season. For me this is one of the last old school football grounds and in a way i will miss it.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

London Calling

The Imps have added a further three away pre season matches all in the London area. I haven't been to any of these grounds so I could be tempted to take one of them in.

The games are as follows

10th July Staines Town (Blue square south)
17th July Walton Casuals (Ryman Premier league)
20th July Bishop Stortford (Blue square south)

Although i always like to go to new grounds i can't help thinking the club are wasting money traveling all the way down to London to play these matches when we have plenty of local non-league clubs at similar levels we could be playing and would give us as good a work out. Gainsborough, Eastwood, Boston, and Alfreton Town are all in the blue square north which is the same as the blue square south. The Ryman league is the southern equivalent to the Unibond league of which there are plenty of options locally.
Retford has good train connections with London so when i get over this hangover i will check it out. Once in London we can use the Tube or we could even catch a famous red London bus;

Although after some research, it seems all of these teams aren't in Central London, seems i may have to take to the streets of London a little more than I anticipated!