By Gemma Bell
On a cold and frosty Saturday just a few sleeps from Christmas where else would any manager take her under 10's, Accrington Stanley at home of course, we went for the match day experience! A stadium tour, a spot of food and of course some top coaching with Shane Ring. Shane is as coach who has a philosophy close to mine so it was nice to see my lads in his capable hands and just watch them. David Fox, who heads up development, drafted Shane in from a local grassroots club. His style of coaching is standard of David’s development for all ethos.
I have to say days with my football sons are special but this was only made exceptionally special by the guest appearance of one man. A man who's opinion is truly valued by myself and more importantly my 9 year old. Keen for him to experience the atmosphere of Sincil Bank and using our teams match day experience as bait he took my season ticket and headed for The Millers to meet a friend who happens to be a season ticket holder next to my seat.
A couple of pints later he was escorted to the ground and shown his seat. Looking around it’s clear things have changed at the Bank since he was last there. The last time was March 3rd 2004 in a clash against Mansfield where he remembers very little because of a free bar. He does remember we won and that the ground was a lot less occupied than it is these days, he sat soaking up the atmosphere.
As I looked across the pitch at my boys all out kitted up emotions were high, but standing at the railings of a packed out CoOp stand was a proud Dad and Grandad with his phone out filming his grandson carrying the flag across the pitch in front of over 7500 fans. It’s hard not to feel the club’s passion radiate out in that moment.
By the time we joined the parents and my Dad it was kick off. It’s been a few years since my father and I enjoyed live football together having previously travelled the country together following our Premiership love. Eager to get his take on it I quizzed how he was feeling. “ fair play to Lincoln they have made it a real family club I can’t believe how many families are here “ spot on I’d say... Lincoln is the most family orientated club I have come across along my travels.
I pointed over to upper 7 and the stand was up and rocking . He couldn’t believe the ability and to say they had some struggles in upper 7 on Saturday this tells me a lot. These vocal groups are one of the most important things about match day whether you sing or you don’t, they replaced the old school firms. We have come on a long way from the terraces and that honour that came with being a top firm now comes with being the loudest and most rocking organised vocal group. The 617 are a major part of the match day experience and I feel that while it has become a hot spot for the selfie takers looking to post that picture on social media, we need them. A proud moment I’m sure, that people from all over the ground look to be a part of what the 617 bring, but we must remember that if we step into upper 7 we have a job to do. We have to embrace what the upper 7 is, a vocal area for the loud and bouncy.
So would my Dad come back? Well time will tell. He enjoyed the atmosphere and even some of the football. He wasn’t impressed by the food but he was impressed by the family feel that the club have strived to create. All in all a winning day.