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Monday, 25 February 2013

Lincoln City 0-0 Barrow



Last Sunday about half an hour after i had got back from the Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest Ladies FA Cup tie i received a text. It simply read "Holdsworth has gone! " Instead of making a start to writing up the game i had just seen i headed over to Twitter to get more news and reaction. I think its pretty safe to say that not many Imps were sorry to see the back of 'Reg' so much for getting a blog post up on time for once (I will get my act together for the start of the WSL season though).

 My own reaction was one along the lines of "Here we go again" not one of joy or sorrow but more one of anger, as once again Lincoln City were on the hunt for yet another new manager. The new man will be the 6th person in the Imps hot seat since the start of the 2007/08 season (not including caretaker managers).
This picture pretty much sums up the club at the moment.

My own thoughts on David Holdsworth? In his defence he had an incredibly tough job on his hands when he walked through the door at Sincil Bank and was dealt a very poor hand by the previous manager.  A lot of dross had to be shown the door last season and although it wasn't pretty he did keep us up. After the chaos that was left by Steve Tilson, a high percentage of Imps would have taken staying above the relegation zone at the end of the season. Ok it was a bit 'squeaky bum' at times but safe we were. The main criticism of DH last season (and his time at Mansfield) was the amount of signings that were made. It felt as if we were making a new signing pretty much every week. Probably the highpoint of Holdsworth's side last season was the 2-2 draw at champions to be Fleetwood Town in front of the TV cameras. The low point would be the dreadful defeat at Ryman League Carshalton Athletic in the FA Trophy after a horrible 0-0 draw at Sincil Bank.

This time around though the tinkering hasn't been on the scale of last season. After a mixed start the Imps picked up and went on a ten match unbeaten run, which included a win away at League One side Walsall in the FA Cup. During this time the team pretty much picked itself and DH only really started to make changes for the FA Trophy game at Tamworth. After the defeat at Mansfield the rot started to set in. A big part of the Imps unbeaten run was down to the defensive midfield pairing of Mo Fofana and Gary Mills, especially big Mo. With these two out it exposed our defensive problems and inexperience at the back. Scoring goals hasn't been a problem for City but our failure to keep clean sheets has been a real problem. After playing out of his skin at Mansfield, keeper Paul Farman committed some real howlers and was rightly replaced with David Preece and although we looked slightly better, we were still leaking goals. All throughout January it was hoped that DH would bring in a defender but instead we signed a striker, a keeper and a couple of midfielders on loan. Pretty much anything but a defender. City parted company with Josh Gowling early in the season and looking back now, the failure to replace him could well have cost David Holdsworth his job.

And what about David Holdsworth? As i said earlier he had a pretty crappy hand dealt to him when he walked through the door. He did well in my opinion to shift all the crap Tilson had lumbered us with, and last year did what he had to do. We were dreadful at times last year, but then again pretty much every side that drops out the League has an awful first year, and its a very painful adjustment. Sometimes he didn't help himself though with his bizarre post match interview style and team selection, which sometimes alienated himself from the fans. I always felt he had the club at heart and was doing his best to turn around five years of failure and he certainly said the right things, but without the tools from the board being provided to do the job, he was always fighting a losing battle. I can think of much worse City managers during my years watching the club. Steve Wicks, Alan Buckley, and Steve Tilson were all far worse that David Holdsworth (in my view anyway). Personally i have nothing against him and for what its worth i would have let him see out the season. Whether or not i would have given him another contract next season is a totally different thing however.

So what next? It sounds strange but in a way i am almost past caring. In the last 5 years we have chopping and changed the manager and the players and to what end? The problems at the club run much much deeper than the manager. 

So which way do we go in the search for a new gaffer? We could try a former player or somebody with emotional links to the club, but we went down that road with John Schofield. Or we could get a rookie manager looking for his first break in the game, a bit like Chris Sutton. Or maybe a manager with a proven track record in the division with a promotion or two on his CV. Somebody like Peter Jackson or Steve Tilson you mean? Hmm. I know lets get somebody who knows this division and can find the odd gem here and there, another David Holdsworth.

As normal plenty of names have been linked with the job and we have had the normal line form the board about them being very impressed with the quality of applicants etc. Personally i am still impressed that people are crazy enough to want the job but there you go.
New management team?

One of the names in the frame for the job is Imps legend Grant Brown who is the caretaker manager for the games against Barrow and Mansfield. If the Barrow game was his pitch for the job then it didn't go very well. I am not for one moment blaming Grant as he has no magic wand, but the Imps were dreadful. If anything Barrow should have won as they had much better chances. Well i will rephrase that, they actually created chances. Something the boys in red and white failed to do all game.  The Imps keeper Paul Farman won the man of the match award. That pretty much tells you all you need to know.
One of the few brightspots of the day.

Cheer up Imps fans. Still plenty of football to enjoy this season. 14 games to go is it? Two points from the drop zone? What could possibly go wrong?



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