Just what is "walking football"? L.I.S.A Secretary Jackie Atkins had never played football before but after only 2 sessions she is hooked! Exercise, fun and friendships - Here's another example of why football is much more than just a game and all thanks to the fab charity - Imps in the Community;
By Jackie Atkins
What were you doing on 4th October 2017? Don’t remember? No, neither do I, but it seems I ‘liked’ a post on L.I.S.A Facebook page asking if anyone was interested in ladies walking football sessions and the next thing I knew - I was signing up!
I have watched football for many years with hubby Keith; and about 8 months ago got hooked into the IMPvasion and discovered that I really enjoyed attending live matches (especially at lower league level where there is far less theatrics than in the Premier League!). However, that being said - I have never played a game so what on earth was I doing writing a comment in response to Katrina Hall’s post of 4th November advertising the start of Ladies Walking Football; that went something along the lines of “Going to give it a go”!!
Too late - the deed was done and not one to renege on my commitments - on 25th November I arrived at Sincil Bank donned in jogging bottoms and several warm layers (it was a VERY cold morning) - and 5 keen but clearly nervous ladies walked onto the astro turf in readiness for our first kick about.
None of us knew anything about the rules and regulations of walking football - we were all newcomers and all (I found out) - equally anxious and excited about what we were undertaking. We started by acquainting ourselves with the rules. We were happy with the line stating there was no off side rule; that sliding was not allowed and that no running was permitted - but what constitutes running? Apparently, as long as one foot remains on the ground - it's not running.
We started by getting to grips with passing the ball using the side of our foot and dribbling around a cone. Once ‘perfected’ we moved on to passing the ball to another person with the aim of them taking a shot at goal - easier said than done. Our first attempts were not the best, but as with all new undertakings - we gradually got more confident in what we were doing and even managed to knock all the cones in the goal mouth down. By now, we were chatting and laughing together and thoroughly enjoying the experience - new friendships were being formed and initial anxieties were dispelled.
It was then that our boys arrived for the game against Port Vale. The Cowley's were their usual charming selves and happily signed autographs and chatted to fans. I’m sure they also noticed our little kick about going on and were perhaps eyeing up their next signings :-)
Katrina (our very able coach) produced the dreaded bibs and we split into two teams for our first ‘game’. You would think that a group of women who had just met would be friendly and polite - NO - we were committed to winning and our ‘walking’ became distinctly faster as the game progressed (and I actually think some of us might have broken into a jog……….).
At the end of the session, we agreed that we had thoroughly enjoyed it and were definitely returning the following week. We did, along with another 5 ladies (doubling the first session attendance) which is amazing. Once again we warmed up, practiced our passing skills and had a game - much more challenging than the first week and more competitive but still as enjoyable.
Most of the ladies attending are on the L.I.S.A Facebook page so have been brought together through this group - how fabulous is that! Would we have found ourselves playing walking footie had it not been for L.I.S.A - probably not. We are still looking for more ladies to join us - it is a fun way to get some exercise and make new friends. All ages are welcome. First session is free, so there’s nothing to lose. Who knows - we might one day even find ourselves picking up a trophy of our own :-)
The smiles say it all, why not join them :-)
By Gemma Bell
Well it's certainly my life! Take the last two months of my life... football madness! Trips to Sincil Bank, my under 10's in several games, home and away, then a 'quick' trip to the Banks Stadium for a Women's World Cup qualifier. Most recently I went to a mid-week friendly to watch none other than Lee Beevers back in action for Gainsborough Trinity on a cold Tuesday night at The Sun Hat Villas Stadium, and that's just games!
Step away from games and I still have one night a week as a minimum for session planning and then another night training with my grassroots team. More recently I have started to coach at an advanced player development centre for boys and now I have been tasked with setting up a girls centre and much more. So here I am now, I find myself both back in the classroom and back on a pitch. As I start to undertake the next level of my coaching journey, it's posed the question;
Why do we coach the way we coach?
As with everything it's a philosophy ingrained in us from the start. What I'm learning about myself on this course is that I already had a coaching philosophy before I stepped out into my first session as coaching lead. It's an extension of my beliefs in all aspects of life, mistakes will be made, I’m confident of that but be confident, that is one of the best ways to learn. By discovering your own path to a positive outcome you become independent and that is what I wish for my players.
So why am I telling you this? Well, have you ever looked at the grassroots game and thought; 'Why is the coach playing player x there, they can't play there?'
Yep! Me too, but now I know why. If I played all my players in positions that only work with their strengths am I really encouraging their development?, or is it perhaps the case that am I stopping their development in their weaker areas? I question myself, am I creating an environment that allows players to try, fail and try again with confidence? You see that's what I want, I don't want to spoon feed them instructions so they just rely on my commands, that style is very much “old school coaching” and has limited creativity and has ultimately resulted in a lack of flair in the English game.
So, how do we bring it back and just how can parents at grassroots help?
I encourage you to ask your child's coach more questions about why they do what they do and receive that information with an open mind. Remember they are working with the FA on new approaches to coaching and your understanding of that is invaluable. Command style alone is limiting style and finesse that we need so urgently back in the English game.
I say let's grab the opportunity for change and grow greatness from grassroots. Football is life!
By L.I.S.A Committee
On Monday 4th December we travel to London for the 2017 Football Supporters Federation Awards. L.I.S.A has been nominated for the Fans for Diversity award and is the sole representative in the category from the lower 2 divisions of the football league. It goes without saying that it is a huge privilege for us to be able to attend and we go with great pride in representing a supporters group from Lincoln City FC. When the awards night takes place the focus of the media will inevitably be on the award winners but whoever the award winner might be there is huge value in our inclusion. Our nomination and attendance provide us with an opportunity to meet with other groups keen to encourage a diverse mix of people through the turnstiles. Although the groups themselves represent different communities we are sure that we can learn from our collective experiences. Our fellow nominees are;
Encouraging and representing the interests of LGBT supporters are two London based Premier League groups namely the Proud Lilywhites (Spurs) and Proud and Palace (Crystal Palace). Just this weekend some of you may have noticed the rainbow corner flags at Sincil Bank in support of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, raising awareness and tackling homophobia in the game.
Hailing from the West Midlands are two Championship groups encouraging supporters from ethnic minorities and all parts of their communities; namely Blues 4 All (Birmingham City) and Punjabi Wolves Supporters (Wolverhampton Wanderers). It is hugely important that clubs work towards better reflecting their local areas and last year Bradford City’s Bangla Bantams deservedly received the award for their ground-breaking efforts in West Yorkshire.
Last but not least, the Fans Supporting Foodbanks group are doing great work in Merseyside involving the fans of both Everton and Liverpool FC. As their name suggests this group are using the medium of football to encourage fans to help less privileged people in their communities put food on their tables, yet another fantastic cause.
Despite the differences in these groups they, like L.I.S.A, have a joint aim in that they seek to use the enjoyment of football to bring people and communities together. Whether it be to tackle the issues of homophobia, racism, sexism or inequality they are incredibly important causes and we support and congratulate them all. In promoting tolerance, inclusion and respect we look to maximise support for our club. It will only be by recognising the importance of these traits and in working together that we can ensure our football family embraces everyone. Up the Imps.
Yesterday (Saturday 18th) saw a full house at Sincil Bank and what a magnificent sight it was. In a predominantly rural county, gatherings of nearly 10,000 people are a relative rarity and yet here in our fair city we are getting close to 9000 or more every other week. There will be people reading this who probably have an interest in football (even if only a small one) but for whatever reason they are simply unable or perhaps just not motivated enough to make it to games. In 2017 and although not completely eradicated, problems at football are increasingly rare. For 99.9% of people attending, men women and families, games at Lincoln City are for good, decent, honest folk. If you are thinking about it but are unsure in attending a game just message or email us we are here to help and support you along with a huge family of Imps.
In considering the amazing scenes on Saturday it’s fantastic to see people from every imaginable background come together as one; the phrase ‘We are all imps aren’t we!’ springs to mind! The community of Lincoln City is something to celebrate as it grows and evolves for the benefit of the club. When L.I.S.A was formed back in March it looked to encourage more women to games, not to change what was there, just to add to it. It was not done on the basis that women were any more or less deserving but because quite simply it was clear that the diversity of our thriving city wasn’t being properly reflected in our stadium. Some people may think that this isn’t an issue and they are right, it is not an issue, it is actually an opportunity and the club are clearly embracing it.
The concept of L.I.S.A isn’t complicated, it is as simple as bringing people together, not just women but also men and families and it even goes beyond that. One lady recently wrote how her son who is disabled had found enjoyment and enhanced support for the Imps in a safe and friendly environment through L.I.S.A and its events, and he isn’t the only one. When you consider why we do it and why we give up our time the reasons are clear, just this one example makes it incredibly worthwhile. Diversity is not something to be wary of, it doesn’t take away from the great efforts of others that have done good things for many years. The invention of L.I.S.A was to encourage ladies but of course in turn this encourages families. It encourages women bringing other women, women bringing men, men bringing women and a wonderful bonus of now becoming a place to enhance the experience of and encourage fans with disabilities.
It is a difficult path to walk in trying to make our beautiful game more inclusive. There are many examples of groups for fan minorities that are doing great but often difficult work in tackling historic and engrained prejudices. In that context we have been extremely fortunate, not without challenges as we educate our intentions, but we have been welcomed by most, especially by the club. We are now two weeks or so away from the bonkers notion that we are attending a national football awards ceremony held by the FSF in London. We are incredibly proud of the women and men of Lincolnshire and beyond who have helped and supported us. In ‘Stuart Little’ style we head for the capital from sleepy Lincolnshire with no expectation other than to make new friends and be educated further.
In our regular L.I.S.A and day job juggling act we are busy in preparing for a joint Junior Imps / L.I.S.A event for Christmas and a Spring L.I.S.A Night event is already in the planning, more news when we have it. There are other things on the horizon working with the club and other organisations that are on the drawing board but are incredibly exciting, just too early and in planning for us to give firm details yet. In signing off, just to say thank you as always for your support. Just like Lincoln City FC, it means everything to us.
By L.I.S.A Committee
It’s time to reflect on recent events and although it is never plain sailing in our world we have many things to be thankful for. Back on Friday 20th October we held our L.I.S.A Autumn Night event and over 90 Imps were fed and watered plus entertained with a little trivia and by the talented singer Ant MacAndrew. The feedback from the night has been overwhelmingly positive and judging by the strength of singing and enthusiastic dancing on display it was a great success. Seeing so many Imps coming together, enjoying themselves and making new friends makes these nights so worthwhile. The greatest asset of this group are its members both ladies and gents and these events really show that, thank you to everyone who attended, we will just have to do it all again!
In other news the club recently announced the first four Supporter Liaison Officers (SLO’s) and they included L.I.S.A committee members Lindsey Warwick and Heidi Langham. Lindsey is the designated SLO representing females attending the match (whether they are L.I.S.A members or not) but of course she is there to assist all supporters. Heidi has taken on a role unrelated to her L.I.S.A work in being the SLO for those who are disabled or who have disabilities, a subject very close to her heart and us on the committee for that matter. It’s fair to say that both Lindsey and Heidi are incredibly honoured and proud to take on these roles as we are of them and we wish them well. There are two further SLO’s yet to be chosen but we are sure that when all six are in place that the diversity of the club will be well represented.
Yesterday (Tuesday 31st) we received some completely unexpected but brilliant news that L.I.S.A has been nominated for the FSF Fans for Diversity award. We were contacted by FSF campaign manager Anwar Uddin who broke the good news with an awards ceremony due to take place in the capital on 4th December. L.I.S.A is one of six nominated groups and of course we are extremely thankful and excited to have received a nomination for such a prestigious award. We are sure that the other five groups are all extremely deserving and we wish them all the very best and congratulate them on their achievements. The other groups nominated are Punjabi Wolves Supporters, Blue’s 4 all (Birmingham City), Proud Lilywhites (Spurs), Fans Supporting foodbanks (Merseyside) and Proud and Palace (Crystal Palace).
It’s easy to imagine that most of these ideas start out life as a discussion in a living room or in a pub and in our case we have certainly come a long way since that day and in an incredibly short space of time. Our connections to the FSF really make us feel part of a much bigger football family and of course it provides us with opportunities to make new friends at other clubs attended by supporters with just as much pride. There is so much we can do to support Lincoln City and its supporters and our journey has only just begun. When we consider what is possible and what the future might hold we only have to remember, we are imps....
By Maria Horner
Like I’m sure for most of you; life has been a million miles an hour and the past six months has passed in a blur, albeit with significant football highlights, including L.I.S.A.
While it feels we are still into the new school term and early in the football season as I write this I’m aware we are racing towards Christmas and 2018! Like Lincoln City FC, the board, the Cowley’s and the team; L.I.S.A has made a solid start with lots to build on and look forward to. I promised an update on the members’ forum/ meeting we had on 20th September. I know I’ll get red writing on my late homework!!
As our events get underway your committee stands with bated breath...... but on a mid-week school night around forty of you came and supported L.I.S.A. I know more of you would have attended but life is a juggling act. So I’d like to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU for all your support and to summarise and update you.
We had the sad news and started the evening with a toast to Edna Staniland who passed away last month. Edna was an active L.I.S.A supporter who rocked it to ‘Sweet Caroline’ at our social in July. Many of us only knew her for a short time but she had a big positive impact on us. We’ll miss you Edna x
Edna, like you, helped us achieve the following in just six months;
Almost 1,000 Facebook members
154 paid members sporting L.I.S.A badges with our logo designed by our very own L.I.S.A, Jane Chamberlain
We have an active committee of seven people, Maria Horner (founder/ Chair), Lindsey Warwick (Vice –Chair), Jackie Atkins (Secretary), Gemma Jones (Treasurer), Jenny Wray (Social media/ Membership), Heidi Langham (Social magician) and Martin Ryder (Website) – although we all do a bit of everything.
We have (Martin has) built this website from scratch and there is an area for members only access and also the facility to purchase membership and event tickets online. We are on twitter (@Ladyimps) and Facebook, our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve hosted four events at the Travis Perkins suite at the club. Thanks to Ian McCallum and his team who have been brilliantly supportive and without their financial and general support we would not be where we are. We had the first meet and greet in April, the social in July, the members meeting in September and the October social. More to come ...
We raised £56 for the 617 Crowdfunder at the social in July.
L.I.S.A supported the Imps in the Community Summer Festival of Sport in August and raised £76.50 for them. As a committee we have decided that we will actively fundraise for Imps in the Community and all the fabulous work they do – we also gave them £100 (50% of raffle takings at the July social). We have forged good links with the Red Imps Community Trust.
L.I.S.A is an affiliated member of the Football Supporters Federation. All supporters groups from league clubs are invited to join as long as the group is constituted (we are) and works with the ethos and values of the Federation. The FSF’s Diversity and Campaigns Manager, Anwar Uddin, has been brilliant. Not only encouraging the development of L.I.S.A but offering financial support to get us up and running. The FSF and the Kick it Out campaign also subsidised the L.I.S.A social in July so we could keep ticket prices low. We look forward to future links with both organisations.
Lincoln City FC itself offered a warm welcome to L.I.S.A, when Alan Long met us for the first time in April. We couldn’t have wished for a better start to our relationship with the club. We were delighted to have the new CEO of Lincoln City FC, Liam Scully at the event in September. It was a great opportunity for members to hear from him. He discussed his busy start and hopes for the future, taking the club forward. There is a lot to do, it can’t all happen at once and there is an element of having to work with what we’ve got in terms of structure; for now. He is listening to supporters about their experiences and I’m sure you’ll agree positive change is happening fast. The loos are also under review!
Alan Long, now in his official role as Supporters Liaison Officer also entertained us with a few behind the scenes stories from last season.
You saved the best till last... we got a brilliant discussion going involving the whole room about what you like, what you want to happen and other ideas for taking L.I.S.A and the club forward.
You mentioned the age of members – some are members with teenage daughters and want to be L.I.S.A’s together – membership is now 14+ (under 18’s at social nights must be accompanied by an responsible adult member). We discussed encouraging girls football, transport to away games, L.I.S.A posters. Your ideas on the suggestion sheets included;
Family events - We are planning a joint Christmas event with Junior Imps on December 3rd, details soon. We are approaching the club about a family picnic event in the early summer ... watch this space, we decided against a firework display (too complex for us right now)
Award ceremony/ L.I.S.A sponsoring a player’s kit or Man of the Match - L.I.S.A has been lucky to have jointly sponsored a match and match ball thanks to Curves who invited us to join in their day – two lucky L.I.S.A winners have enjoyed a VIP match day experience hosted by Karen and Stigs Dixon. Hopefully another one will happen in the New Year.
L.I.S.A merchandise - We are seriously looking at what will be popular and cost effective as we get started.. You mentioned L.I.S.A seat pads, t-shirts, we’ve had a Facebook poll – and you want hoodies, car stickers and mugs – I really want to design some pretty/sexy/ comfortable match day ‘lucky’ pants!
Promote L.I.S.A with posters, a calendar with players and L.I.S.A champions around the ground - We have discussed having a L.I.S.A meet n greet at the ground - watch this space for a small step start by the club. You suggested the L.I.S.A logo on Poacher and dialogue and contact with visiting female away supporters (great idea!).
Review facilities for those with disabilities - It’s an issue the club were already examining and of course the issue recently made news headlines. The club are taking this seriously and I’m sure there will be improvements soon.
Loos! - Big issue! The club are looking to refurbish the loos to have decent hand driers, locks and sanitary bins. We might be able to do more to add a bit of style! The flushing issue may be a significant engineering problem.
Refreshments - You want good food and a variety of drinks (served in our seats might be a hope too far unless Deliveroo get in on the act!). The Fanzone was eagerly awaited. It looks amazing. It’s a work in progress and I think we’ve seen some great ideas already
Social events - You suggested dancing, a party, a ball! A social event for the more traditional supporter, Gary Hutchinson to host a quiz night (ace idea is Gary’s up for it?)- you talked about bringing a variety of fans together.
You mentioned bidding for the Lincoln City Knight .. See below ..
Women only sports events - Imps in the Community are developing some events geared specifically towards engaging women in active sport. Gemma Bell on our group is also keen to get us active, and into grassroots football in all kinds of roles – there are opportunities we can signpost you to.
Away travel and L.I.S.A / Juniors away coach - We are aware some people would like the security of knowing they have a seat on a more ‘family friendly’ coach, or who want to meet people via L.I.S.A to arrange to travel together. Our understanding is there is a ‘family friendly’ coach – we can look at the issue of communicating details about travel arrangements.
More variety in the Match Day Programme to encourage children to read and also use it to promote L.I.S.A
Stadium Tours for grass roots teams - love this idea for wider audience too..
A L.I.S.A chant! – over to you ....suggestions please
And since our gathering ... L.I.S.A member Adele Would brought our Knight home. Adele was on a two woman mission with Jan Hope to raise money to take to the auction of the city’s knights to bid for the Lincoln City Knight. She approached L.I.S.A to raise money at our meeting in September, of course we said... Yes!
Jan also walked miles with buckets for cash at Sunday football matches, there was a crowdfunder online – fans also donated to the bucket collection at the Barnet match. Adele then persuaded local businesses to pledge money for the bid....and on that rare warm night in our Cathedral ....Adele waved our card 313 and secured our hero for £6000. He officially arrived ‘home’ last weekend and we know he’ll be an attraction for the club in the future.
L.I.S.A has hit the news headlines – early on when we were new and our existence was questioned for apparent sexism and being divisive. We’ve promoted the group in the local news sites and on BBC Lincolnshire. We want women to feel comfortable celebrating Lincoln City however they choose; 617 styleeee, knitting and cheering, and everything in between. We have never wanted or asked for L.I.S.A segregated seating, but we do want to celebrate lifelong female supporters and also hold out a welcoming hand to new ones ... there’s room for every style of supporter... and our Facebook pages show the brilliant variety you bring..
We know from the FSF that clubs around the country are interested in what we are doing. We can show what can be achieved by working together and hopefully encourage other women supporters to become visible in their club community.
So where now?...
I don’t want to forget our core reason for starting our group... supporting you to support our club. We’ll continue to drive the group forward but we can also support YOU to help YOUR ideas happen. Adele Would’s Knight campaign was a great example .. If you want something to happen, and we can help, we will. If you have an event idea or a ‘thing’ you want to see, please get in touch. We can’t promise to achieve them all, but great ideas often have a way of making themselves happen......look what we started six months ago....
By Gemma Bell
When my son was six years old he decided he wanted to play football. That was music to my ears in being a massive football lover and I was so excited to take him to his first training session. I can honestly say that after four seasons at St Helens I have only missed four of his games! At the end of the under 8's season we lost our manager after his daughter was signed to Sheffield United but I took the plunge and was more than happy to step up. During his under nine season I undertook my FA level one coaching badge and I am so pleased to say that I fell in love with coaching, I am ready to take on my level two!
My intention in coaching is to go all the way towards hopefully a UEFA B qualification. The FA are very supportive of females in football and the love and passion that I have for the game is able to flourish under their care. I am part of a female mentoring scheme with the Lincolnshire FA and so the support is there if you too if you wanted to get into coaching. With that in mind I am pleased to announce that a female only level one course is now available.
The things I get out of football and coaching a team are extremely rewarding. It is like having 10 more sons, they bring me such pride and joy and I will always support anyone wanting to coach male or female. If you would like more information or want to book onto the course please contact: email@example.com
If you would like a chat or more information about becoming a female football coach I will be at the L.I.S.A Night event on 20th October at Sincil Bank. Further information is also shown below.
As we celebrate the achievements of Adele and the return of the Lincoln City Knight to Sincil Bank our attention now turns to the L.I.S.A Autumn Night event on Friday 20th October. Tickets are presently on sale to members but will be on general sale on our events page from Wednesday 4th October. Guest tickets are priced at £10 to include a hot meal, live music and a little football trivia and fun.
All our L.I.S.A Night events welcome both men and women, indeed many couples are attending which is great to see. You don’t need to be a member to attend our events albeit members receive a discounted ticket price for their £5 seasons subscription.
Would you like a night out in a safe, fun and friendly environment?
Would you like to introduce your partner to Lincoln City?
Would you like to make new football friends beyond the confines of social media?
Would you like to meet other Imps who might also go to games on their own?
L.I.S.A social events are great value (we don’t make any profit) and fingers crossed encourage and enhance the experience of supporters old and new. It would be fantastic if you could join us, thank you 😊
L.I.S.A member Adele Would has spearheaded a campaign to ensure the return of the Lincoln City Knight back to Sincil Bank. Assisted by fellow member Jan Hope, fund raising efforts including a crowd funding page, bucket collections and commercial support aided the effort to return the Knight to what surely must be it's rightful home.
In an exciting auction held in the majesty of Lincoln Cathedral the funds acquired successfully bid the Knight home as over 800 people watched the Lincolnite Facebook live feed with messages of support and City chants in text. In raising £6000 to acquire the unique sculpture, Adele used her persuasive skills to unite Lincoln City fans and local businesses in a true community effort. With great help from Jan and assistance from Maria Horner and Lindsey Warwick in bucket collections it transpired that impossible was yet again only an opinion.
Huge thanks go to the following businesses for their support:
Lincoln Towbar Specialists
SRP Hire Services
Curves of Lincoln
EPS - Electrical Property Services
Blue Cube Telecom
Webbs of Lincoln
Today saw the funeral of much loved and cherished L.I.S.A member Edna Staniland. We write as a committee from the perspective of people that only had the privilege of meeting Edna a few times but for those who knew her they will know exactly what we mean when we can honestly say that she has had a wonderful and lasting positive impact upon us all.
Edna will be missed for her lovely smile, for her warmth, kindness and fun loving spirit. Her passion for both Lincoln City and L.I.S.A was there for all to see. We are sure that this will be a very difficult time for all her family and friends and our thoughts are with you. We are sure that you are all extremely proud, what a lady to have known!
In every song we sing, on every chair we dance on, you are most definitely with us. In some ways you might have left us but in most ways you never will.
To quote your own choice of words Edna, this indeed will be your sunrise xxxx