What a difference a season makes
A year ago a lot of City fans were feeling disappointed about the surrender at Charlton and our relegation for the first time in 50 years to the third tier of English football.
By TONY SPRINGALL, NCISA
A year ago a lot of City fans were feeling disappointed about the surrender at Charlton and our relegation for the first time in 50 years to the third tier of English football. Couple that to the national humiliation of our record 1-7 home defeat to Colchester United at the start of the season and people must have wondered where this club was heading to!
Thankfully our new board took decisive action, no drawn out recruitment process this time, and Lambert was appointed in quick order. After a short settling in period, Lambert soon had the team on a winning run of games. The team stormed up the table in 2003/04 fashion, overtaking teams in the playoff places and then overtaking Leeds in top spot. What a shock that must have been for the Leeds United fans who might have thought their team was invincible up to and including the Manchester United FA Cup game.
Thanks must also go to the players and the management team for our mainly entertaining promotion this season. Furthermore it has been pleasing to see the new management team create a tremendous team spirit which has seen City win many matches this season that would have resulted in a defeat last season.
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In addition it has been good to see young players, such as Chris Martin, Spillane and Smith who have been developed through our Academy establish themselves as regulars in the first squad. Without doubt the season at Luton has helped Chris Martin and Spillane's development.
While writing about loan players, I wonder if any of our older fans, like me, were reminded of Big Dunc (Forbes) while watching the last Lincoln match on the Football League show as Stephens (on loan) dribbled from defence to attack? Moreover we have had some other players emerge this season and hopefully they will go on to establish themselves as regulars in our squad.
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As for our fans, yet again they deserve credit for the way they have stayed loyal to our club despite being in League One while the support of Ipswich struggled to reach 20,000 for many of their home games. In addition the away support has been fantastic this season and on many an occasion has out-sung the home support which, I should imagine, has helped lift our players. Let's hope for a repeat next season.
With reference to next season, we already know that Lambert has indicated his desire to sign seven or eight new players this summer and there is talk of a budget that should make us competitive with the top end of the Championship. It makes me wonder if part of the funding will come from the sale of some of the land Chairman Bowkett (stated at the club's last annual general meeting) was hoping to negotiate this year. If a sale is concluded, we shouldn't be surprised if the �2.5m bank loan related to the land purchase is also repaid.
Furthermore may I take this opportunity to thank Gary Doherty for his service to the club and wish him all the best for the future.
I hope you enjoy the summer and let's hope for another successful season.