Pre-Season kicks off with LCFC v LCFC

Leicester City have announced that the first game of their pre-season programme takes them to Sincil Bank to face Conference side Lincoln City on Saturday 4th August…

This fixture reminds us of previous trips to Sincil Bank… this article was written in 2006…

It has become my annual ritual to go to one of City’s pre-match friendlies away from home, not more, not less. More than one is getting a bit mad, there are other things to do with the Summer, but none is a bit lazy.

This is simply to catch up with my football friends that I don’t otherwise see; have a beer in a town we don’t normally visit; watch the new players and the new kit in action and generally have a relaxing evening and a laugh.

What this exercise should never ever be, is an attempt to find an indication of how well City are going to do when the proper season kicks in. You might as well try and read the tea leaves in the bottom of your cup as try and read a pre-season friendly. If anything, the worse we are pre-season the better the campaign that follows.

So on Monday 24th July, a mere two weeks after Italy lifted the World Cup in Berlin, we headed for Lincoln on an unbelievably hot evening. Most people go to Lincoln to visit the magnificent cathedral, the world’s tallest building from 1300 to 1549 and described by Victorian writer John Ruskin as “..the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles.” Not us though, we just had a look out of the car window as we drove past it in search of the considerably more modest Sincil Bank. We’d come to see a combination of Leicester City’s first team and fringe players taking on League Two’s Lincoln City, rather than one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe…

 

The last time I visited the home of Lincoln City was in 1988. It was a summer of great expectation for City fans – after David Pleat had taken over in January a poor team had undergone a transformation. Pleat’s side played some fantastic football and it was promotion form all the way through to May when we beat Middlesbrough, one of the best sides in the division, at Ayresome Park.

We were expecting 1988-89 to bring promotion and City’s performance at Lincoln suggested that things were on course with a 4-1 win thanks to goals from Peter Weir, Mike Newell (2) and Paul Reid.

Sadly this proved to be a false dawn, City struggled their way through 1988-89 and finished 15th.

We saw the game from two different vantage points, after being told that there was no segregation we opted to stand on the home terrace. Just before half time a large group of locals surrounded us and told us we had been ‘sussed’ as the wrong LCFC. This didn’t require the detection skills of Hercule Poirot as we had enthusiastically applauded our goals, but they looked in no mood for debate. This was no ‘Friendly’ as far as they were concerned. The Lincs constabulary plucked us from danger and gave us a free upgrade putting us in the Main Stand seats.

Back in 2006 the bunch of kids away to our left in Lincoln shirts aren’t quite as threatening, but things are getting embarrassing. The beers we had in the George & Dragon are beginning to wear off and we are 3-0 down, with the League Two side rampant and threatening to add to the score.

Of course it doesn’t MATTER. When Rab Douglas handed Lincoln an 18th minute lead, parrying a long range shot up and over his head turning round just in time to see the ball trickling apologetically over the line, most of the 300 City fans laughed and applauded – not something that would have happened in a serious game. By the third, however, the laughter had dried up.

City’s barnstorming second half comeback brought a blush-saving 3-3 draw, with notable contributions from O’Grady, Hammond and Dodds, but I’m afraid you’ll get no predictions for the forthcoming season from me. I thought Dennis Wise looked like a great signing after a 2-1 win at Northampton in 2001…

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