Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Mind of an Imp Guide to Lincoln Citys pre season games

A couple of days ago Lincoln City released their pre season schedule. As normal, most of the matches are away from home at fairly local locations. I had the pleasure of visiting all but one of them in the last few seasons so i thought i would give you my views and pass on what knowledge i have of the clubs we will face and the grounds that they play at. Bare in mind a couple of these visits were a season or two ago so it may well be worth rechecking public transport time tables etc.
As has happened in other recent seasons, two dates see the Lincoln squad split in two with two games arranged on the same night. This means that everybody gets more minutes under their belts and eliminates the need for endless substitutions. In addition to these away matches we have the Lincolnshire cup final at Sincil Bank (Its our turn for the bye to the final this year) A game with Championship Leicester City and an unnamed opponent at home on the community day.*stop press its against Gainsborough Trinity*

  18th July Worksop Town/ Grantham Town both away

The first matches of the pre season campaign see the squad take on two sides that will be competing in the Evo Stick Premier division next season.(which is two leagues below City)

With Worksop being a mere 7 miles from  Mind of an Imp HQ its a safe bet that we will end up there. Despite its locally i have only visited the ground once before and that was during the season just gone because it was free. Worksop play at their old Sandy Lane ground but are now tenants to the grounds owners Worksop Parramore FC. Incidentally the ground was opened against the Imps in 1992.
The ground is decent enough with plenty of covering in case the great British summer weather takes a turn for the worse. There is a two storey clubhouse in the corner of the ground but the nearby pubs may be a better bet for a pre match drink. They had a decent enough club shop selling the normal old tat ie old programmes and stuff (so Lee will be on cloud nine). As for food i would head into town after the match to the excellent Topkapi kebab house. Trust me its worth it just for the spicy potatoes.
On the pitch Worksop had a disappointing time of it last time after all the hype following their return to the town after three seasons in exile. They have a couple of ex Imp connections at the moment as they are led by former Lincoln coach and caretaker manager Simon Clarke. On the field former Imps Owain Warlow plyed his trade for the Tigers last season. Admission for league matches was £10 which is a tad steep for that division but they did have rent to play i suppose. Strangely enough they attracted larger crowds when they were ground sharing at Retford United.

Worksop Town website.

The other game that evening sees the Imps take on Evo stick south champions Grantham Town. Again only one visit for me to this one a couple of seasons ago and i wasn't too impressed. The ground is on the outskirts of town and is basically an athletics stadium with one main stand and not alot else bar a small covered standing area on the opposite side to the main stand. Grantham had a great season last time out winning the Evo stick south division. Again they had a former Imp on there books in the form of Lincoln's joint most expensive player Tony Battersby.

21st July Eastwood Town  

This for me the the highpoint of the pre season. I have always enjoyed away days in Nottingham and they are sadly missed since Notts County and the Imps went there separate ways. Last pre season we had a jolly  good drinking session in our beloved county city before the pre season match at Ilkeston so i am delighted to see that we are heading back to Nottingham.

This has a jolly boys day on the train written all over it. I have had a look at it and come up with a cunning plan pre game. As for after the game,well anything can happen so its best not to plan anything.

7.03 train from Retford to Worksop
Cup of tea at Worksop station
7.38 train from Worksop to Nottingham
8.45 arrive Nottingham
9.00 Eight/ten item breakfast at Debenhams in Nottingham
9.45-1.30 Drinks in Nottingham city centre.
1.30 Bus out to Eastwood followed by drinks.
2.15 enter ground and drinks in clubhouse.

If arriving by train the best way to head out to Eastwood is to take a stroll to the Broadmarsh bus station. and get the free city bus link to Nottingham victoria centre (it leaves from the last bay every ten minutes or so) From Victoria you need to get a bus to Eastwood. You need to alight at the Man in Space pub. I was here a couple of years ago and the pub was open but i have heard that the pub has now shut. Heres my blog from my last visit to Eastwood to give you more of an idea of what to expect.

Newark Town/Skegness United
Seated area at Newark Town FC

The second double header of the pre season sees Lincoln take a short trip to Collingham to face CML side Newark Town. As you would expect for a step seven club the ground is pretty basic with just a railed off pitch and a small covered stand next to the clubhouse. The clubhouse is decent enough and on our last visit they were serving hot beef rolls upstairs. The only downside about the clubhouse is the framed Boston United shirt they have hanging on one of the walls. Collingham is a quick 5 minutes drive from Newark Town centre and i can recommend that you call in at the Bodrum Kebab house on Castle gate. You wont be dissapointed. Here is a blog a wrote from Newark a couple of months ago.
Newark Town clubhouse

As for Skegness United,well i am afraid that i can't tell you anything about the ground or the club as i have never been there. I have been past the ground of Skegness Town before but thats about it. Looking at pictures of the ground on the internet the ground looks very basic. Sorry i can't be of much use on this one. 

Skegness United Website

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