In May 2017 just as the dust was settling on arguably the greatest season in the history of Lincoln City with a return to the Football League as National League Champions and a record breaking run into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, a new initiative was in its embryonic stage as the first gathering of former players took place with the aim of forming a Lincoln City Former Players Association.
At that stage we had little idea of where we were going or what we wanted to achieve. We had contacted other Former Players Associations and seen what they had done. It quickly became apparent that a smaller steering committee was required to work together with the club to progress the willingness into something tangible.
We discussed golf days, football matches against other FPAs, charity events and other fund raising ideas. These ideas are still being developed and more information on their progress will be forthcoming over the next few months.
One of the ideas we discussed was about getting former players back to Sincil Bank as guests of the club and integrating them back into the Lincoln City family. The support the club has given in this area has been excellent.
Chris Elkington, the FPA Acting Secretary, tracks down Former Players and invites them to attend a home game. My role as Match Day Host is to make the Former Players feel welcome, have a few photographs taken and meet the fans in the Fan Zone, where a lively Q&A session usually makes our guests feel at home. We visit the Travis Perkins Suite , go to the Executive Boxes and have a chat to whoever wants to chat to us, sign autographs, have selfies taken and generally enter into the family atmosphere of Sincil Bank. We go pitchside at halftime and Alan Long introduces our guests to the crowd.
So far we have seen Paul Smith, Trevor Swinburne, Matt Carmichael, Dave Smith, Warren Ward, Paul Mayo, Gavin Gordon, John Kennedy, Phil Neale, Lee Philpott, Paul Miller, Phil Hubbard, Alan Pilgrim, Ron Harbertson, John Schofield and Tony Lormor as guests, with many other famous faces already pencilled in, including Ben Dixon and Darren Huckerby coming to Saturdays game against Coventry City. Without exception every former player has told me how much they have enjoyed their day back at Sincil Bank.
The FPA is still in its infancy and we will be holding the official launch before the home game on December 16th against Accrington Stanley, where you will have the opportunity to see many stars from yesterday grace the hallowed turf of Sincil Bank once more.