By Gemma Bell
No … You’re probably not. In fact, your career of maybe 20 years has guaranteed its fair share of critics and abuse. You probably started out as a 16-year-old child who loved football but didn’t quite have the high standards to make it in the academy. What made you choose to ref? I don’t envy your job. In fact, just ask anyone in our local youth league… I won’t be chasing your job… I am diabolical. So, while I won’t agree with your decisions, I won’t berate you for them either. I will let your assessor give it to you and no doubt you will watch it back 20 times kicking yourself for your mistake. You are only human though remember!
Is Refereeing a dying trade left with poor quality? If so, what is it that’s killed it? Is it the pay? Is it not worth the average £300-£500 a game? Well that’s according to our trusty friend Google. Admittedly full-time premier league refs get a substantial amount more though a year’s wage will still never come close to, for example, Eden Hazards weekly wage. Is it the attraction of Sunday afternoons, at 18 years old, stopping Big Daz from the Dog and Bone ripping the head of Robbie the Ratchet from Shouldagone Pro FC? I doubt it very much. No referee goes out on a Sunday wanting to get abused, but it happens all too often. As a Grassroots Coach and Club Welfare Officer I pride myself on trying to support the brave Men, Women and youths who do a job I simply could not. Without them the game simply wouldn’t happen. They are equally as important to the game as the footballers.
There is no doubting that we need referee standards to improve. But that’s easy for us to say and not so easy to put into practice. Not when Tom and Tim from down your road are abusing the referee week in week out at the local u9s game. Let’s face it… nobody wants to put up with it. I take my hat off to anyone who pushes for promotion from their starting level 7. They have to be assessed and deemed competent to move up the ladder detailed below. Want to know more about the mammoth task of becoming a level 1 referee to stand in the centre at Sincil Bank? Head over to http://www.amateur-fa.com/referees/refereeing-support for more details.
Level Y - Youth Referee (qualified referees under 16 years old)
Level 7 - Junior County Referee
Level 6 –County Referee
Level 5 - Senior County Referee
Level 4 - Supply League Referee/Contributory League Assistant
Level 3 - Contributory League Referee/Panel League Assistant
Level 2 - Panel League Referee/Football League Assistant
Level 1 - Football League Referee
Select Group - FA Premier League Referee
· FIFA List - International Referee
By Martin Ryder
During October and November of 2018, L.I.S.A with funding from the FSF Fans for Diversity campaign teamed up with the Bangla Bantams of Bradford City. The idea conceived was based around a simple desire to send a positive message by football fans that our respective clubs should be a welcoming place for all. In recent years the diversity of supporters at Lincoln City has changed with more families and women attending matches. A wider fan base is still not something welcomed by a small vocal minority but it is welcomed by the vast majority and by the club itself. L.I.S.A was proactive last year in supporting the designated “Kick it Out” fixture and we will be doing the same in 2019.
In October a group of 17 L.I.S.A members were looked after with huge care and warmth by our friends the Bangla Bantams in Bradford. Despite obvious cultural differences a common interest of football and food resulted in close friendships being made by people who might never otherwise have come together. The return leg to Lincolnshire in November galvanised those friendships further and with the help and support of our football clubs, the FSF and Imp friends at the Royal Air Force an immensely powerful and positive message was created with a film of the project to follow soon.
In a negative media world football has certainly gained its detractors and yet it is something that can be incredibly positive for our community if enhanced and encouraged in the right way. By being proactive in welcoming people whoever they might be, our clubs benefit immensely - both financially and in connecting properly with the community. It is sad to say that small events of racism, sexism and homophobia still do exist in our stadiums but they are a tiny rogue element and as supporters it’s vital we play our part in educating and tackling them. While a few look to divide and categorise people for whatever reason our clubs and the huge majority in football won’t tolerate it.
L.I.S.A will look to be a positive force for all minority groups, whatever gender, race, religious belief or sexuality. We will look to offer help and support to fans of whatever background so please contact us with any concerns or ideas.
Email us at - firstname.lastname@example.org
By Martin Ryder
L.I.S.A are extremely humbled and proud to have been nominated for the FSF Fans for Diversity Award for 2018. This is the second year running that we have received a nomination and once again we look forward to attending the awards ceremony with five other fantastic groups from across the country. Our fellow nominees are AccessiBlues (Birmingham City), Apna Albion (West Brom), Proud Baggies (West Brom), Proud Lillywhites (Spurs) and Proud Valiants (Charlton).
As can be seen L.I.S.A are the only representatives in the category from League 2 as we join supporter groups representing clubs from London and the West Midlands. L.I.S.A has enjoyed a busy 2018 with diversity work, fan engagement, charity fundraising, academic liaison and in developing relationships with other supporter groups. We continue to work not only in encouraging diversity in support but also look to take the next step in brining fans from different backgrounds together. The FSF awards ceremony will be held at the Tower of London on Monday 3rd December.
We are presently half way through our fantastic FSF funded exchange project with the Bradford City Supporters Group the Bangla Bantams. Following a brilliant day in Bradford last month we are privileged to be hosting the Bangla Bantams here in Lincolnshire on Wednesday 14th November. We will be enjoying a lunch and stadium tour together at Sincil Bank as well as visiting Lincolnshire icons the Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The project is designed to bring supporters together from different backgrounds to promote diversity in support and community cohesion.
Particular thanks go to Dean Wagstaff of the RAF, Lincoln City Football Club, Humayun Islam of the Bangla Bantams and Anwar Uddin of the FSF for supporting the project and enabling it to happen. A short film is being produced of the project to highlight the great work of the FSF Fans for Diversity campaign in conjunction with Kick it Out. We will continue to work hard and celebrate the fact that the beautiful game really does have the power and ability to bring communities and people together.
By Martin Ryder
In modern times a standard interview question from an employer might be, what do you understand to mean by the word “diversity” and no we are not talking about the dance group! I do know of one occasion that an interviewee answered that question with – it’s when a farmer has hit hard times and they open a farm shop.
Football in the stands has traditionally been a male dominated affair for many years but with the changes in society, ever more diverse and inclusive, ever more multicultural, it’s probably not a bad business model for a club to want to engage with fans whoever they might be and wherever they are from. Diversity is simply about recognising that we are all different and that we might have our own different needs.
In the Fanzine of another club (to remain unnamed) I read the line, “we are all football supporters, gender is irrelevant”. Your initial thought might be it’s a fair point, we all wear red and white, pay our money and then go home. I wonder how that same man would feel however if his club shop only stocked women sized clothing or consider how a single female going to her first game alone might need some additional advice or support?
It’s not a one size fits all and while we all know that LCFC is a welcoming and safe place to be there are those new to football, those who might be from a different culture or with a need invisible to the rest of the crowd. Recently, L.I.S.A with support from the club and Imps in the Community invited the local Eastern European community to attend Sincil Bank. This wasn’t because they were any more deserving but because we wanted to ensure there were no barriers or concerns to hinder their attendance, we can apply the same question to people from any background.
We catered for 30 and 76 attended, 76 more potential Imps in what to our knowledge was the first event of its type. As families (despite living on the doorstep) excitedly took photographs within the stadium it was clear that a hugely positive event was unfolding. Five families were invited as guests to attend a game, those that missed out asked how they could buy tickets – a simple act of friendship and inclusivity was benefitting both our club and community, it has already resulted in additional ticket and merchandise sales and more will no doubt follow.
Our idea was importantly, a fan led initiative. This wasn’t some commercially motivated event, however commercially positive it might have been for the club, this was about a group of existing fans saying, hello, welcome, come and join us. Our group is one of a number trying to do our bit for the Imps, it’s just about looking for ways to make a positive difference rather than looking for negativity often disguised as “banter”. Who better to welcome new supporters than supporters themselves, something we repeated today at the Diversity Festival event we attended at Lincoln University.
Please don’t dismiss the importance of diversity it has the potential to fill a new stadium, bring people and communities together, break down barriers and enable the club to grow much more.
Diversity in support, diversity in the way we support, all the same and yet all different - no harm in that. UTMI
By Gemma Bell
I have had a busy few months after making a decision to take up a couple of roles at a new club. I chose this club based on their love and drive for female participation in all aspects of the game. Hykeham Town FC not only cater for boys but also girls from all walks of life. The club is only four years old but the people driving the club show no sign of stopping and its growth is fast-paced. This year was Hykeham Town Ladies FC’s debut season whom, at the time of writing, sit top of their table: East Midlands Women’s Regional League Division 1 North.
It has provided me with more opportunities to engage with The FA and their England DNA; the DNA is England’s coaching and playing philosophy. Engaging with it is eye-opening. In particular, I have loved my conversations with Pete Sturgess, The FA’s Lead for 5-11-year-olds, which is also known as The Foundation Phase. His inspirational messages ring true to my own coaching philosophy where I would rather coach in a way that develops my players than to win-at-all-costs. When I coach my players, I don’t place an emphasis on what the score line is going to be at the end of the game or what the win-loss record might be at the end of the season.
That is not what drives me to make the decisions I make as a coach. I coach because I hope that, in 10-15 years’ time, my players will have had the best opportunities to be the best player that they can be. This could be them playing on a Sunday in a local Sunday league with their friends, or playing for their national team. I want them to be confident, creative and have a passion for the game that nobody can take away from them. I want to develop warriors who have a hunger and desire to win games but, equally, have the resilience to face losses and use them to learn and improve.
With this DNA, The FA aim to nurture players who are creative and can master the ball. I mean let’s face it, we are all bored of watching the England men’s team play football that is far from that of our innovative competitors. Modern football is fast-paced, it is skilled and it is exciting to watch. The game of futsal is widely recognised in Spain and Brazil, for example, for its benefits to fast-paced and skilful football. In England, our national teams’ ever-improving style of football goes hand-in-hand with the growth of futsal provision, and that’s no coincidence!
Photo credit: Taken from Hertfordshire FA JODY CAUDWELL: COACHING THE WHY
So what does that mean for the everyday grassroots parent stood on the sidelines? Well, it means that if your child’s coach is following the England DNA, you will (or should!) hear far less commands from the sidelines about how to play the game. Through small-sided games and promoting player ownership in training, we aim to create players who are able to go out on a Saturday or Sunday and play without constant direction and interruption from the sidelines. The players we will create will make mistakes but they will also make fantastic decisions and will be constantly learning whilst they play. It means that, as a parent, you might not understand what the coach is trying to achieve most of the time but, if you go and ask them, I’m sure you’ll be fascinated by the answer.
People say this all of the time: if Messi was English, would he have been the player that he is today? “Pass, pass!”, “Stick it out!” or “Get rid!” have killed our ability to play football. I have watched numerous videos of Messi growing up from 5 years old all the way through to now and he initially looks selfish on the ball but that is precisely how ball mastery is achieved!!! It is confidence not selfishness; it’s actually due to how a child develops. As Messi carried on and on throughout his learning journey, he learnt when to pass the ball and when to dribble with it. Now look at him, wouldn't we all want a Messi on our team?
I urge you to go to your clubs and find out if they’re following The FA’s England DNA or, at least, an adapted version. If you want to find out more and engage with the programme yourself then you can join The FA’s Hive Learning Community.
I urge both parents and coaches to use Hive, if you aren’t already: https://t.co/Rvl4Wf0jaW.
Once you have signed up, you will need to create a profile and then use the ‘Search’ bar to locate the ‘England DNA Foundation Phase’. Here, you will be able to access the information, resources and discussion boards for young players aged 5-11.
We don't want boring football anymore, do we?
...SO, WHAT ABOUT OUR PRINCESSES?
I was given the opportunity to head to St George’s Park, The FA’s National Football Centre, to engage with a programme that I am absolutely certain will make a difference to many girls both here in Lincoln and across the nation. The FA and SSE have launched an initiative designed to inspire girls aged between 5 to 11 to be involved in football. SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centres aim to provide girls with regular opportunities to play football and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment.
#havefun #makefriends #lovefootball #ssewildcats
To find out more about Hykeham Town FC and the Hykeham Town SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centre, which is the only one in the City of Lincoln area, please visit our club’s website: http://www.hykehamtownfc.co.uk/
By Maria Horner
We are about to extend an invitation to our neighbours to come and see the wonder of Sincil Bank!
Families who live around the Sincil Bank area, and from the wider area in Lincoln and who happen to be from the Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Slovakian etc (what some will refer to as the ‘Eastern European’ community) are being invited to come and see for themselves the football club on their doorstep.
The idea is that while the children in the area may be football mad and may have been caught up in Cowley fever perhaps at school, their parents may be unsure about attending a football match here.
There may be reasons around being concerned as to the reception they may get (perhaps underpinned by unrelated negative experiences) or they could have views on football matches based on images and reports of what football is like in their country of origin – which may be very different from what football has become here in the U.K.
I don’t want those kids to miss out on what their mates at school might be experiencing when they follow Lincoln City FC. I would like to open a door and say welcome to those kids and their families in and around Sincil Bank, and the city generally. Don’t forget many of these children may have been born in our fabulous city, and if not, certainly their living memory will be all about Lincoln. They too are a potential new generation of Imps!
I realise we are selling out more matches, but not every match will be. If we can just say to the people living within throwing distance of the stadium – come and enjoy what’s on your doorstep – that can’t be a bad thing can it? So why a special event? While many of the children will speak English as their first language, their parents may not. It’s about building those bridges and ensuring they know that Sincil Bank is a brilliant place to be for families as well as all other supporters.
I’m passionate about including people, and maximising the enjoyment you get, that feeling when people come together with a shared interest – obviously in our case Lincoln City FC. It’s how L.I.S.A was born...
As an affiliate member of the Football Supporters Federation our aims also chime with the Kick it Out campaign. When the club nominated a fixture to be its ‘Kick it Out’ fixture, as many clubs do, of course I thought L.I.S.A should be doing something to promote the message.
On the 22nd March 2018 L.I.S.A, Imps in the Community, LCFC and the Lincolnshire Polish Society will open up the VIP suite and we hope many families from those communities come and find out about our brilliant club. They will have the chance to win tickets to the nominated Kick it Out match fixture on Tuesday 17th April against Wycombe. Funding is coming from the club and the Fans for Diversity fund (Football Supporters Federation & Kick it Out).
It’s not been done before, all we can do is open the door and say, “Come in, it’s great to be an Imp!”
By L.I.S.A Committee
This month sees the first birthday of L.I.S.A and what an interesting and eventful year it has been. The arrival of Spring (said while looking at the thawing snow outside!) sees a manic month for us, yes, partly our own fault but also partly down to fixture movement and windows of opportunity. Friday 16th sees our L.I.S.A Band Night event at Rustons and we are pleased to report its nearing a sell out with over 100 Imps attending. Monday 19th and our Cowley v Cowley panel show hits the Engine Shed with an anticipated crowd of 600 Imps attending, brilliant. Thursday 22nd and we are hosting Eastern European families at Sincil Bank in support of this years designated Kick it Out fixture against Wycombe in April - encouraging new fans, fingers crossed!
To achieve such a lot in a short space of time has required our own team to expand considerably as well as having outside help from many different people and organisations. It’s fair to say we could write a book on it all never mind just do a blog update! In being extremely grateful for the support of so many we are conscious that this is an expensive time to be an Imp (blame the Cowley’s for the Wembley expense). While we have tried to keep costs to a minimum we know that there are real financial pressures on people so thank you, thank you to all of you spending your hard-earned cash in support of our events.
We think it is safe to say that when we are old and grey (or older and greyer for some of us) we will have some great stories to share with the grandkids, the “do you remember when..” type thing. If we can raise money for brilliant causes, if we can bring new supporters and revenue to our football club, if we can bring people and groups together and put some real purpose behind #ImpsAsOne – well, those are aims that we are happy to be that bit greyer for! Tickets remain available for both Band Night and Cowley v Cowley, we hope you can join us, everyone welcome as always. Up the imps.
By Gemma Bell
Well I'll be damned... Chelsea are coming to Sincil Bank. The 'development' squad of my other club are coming here. I guess I'm one of those two team (insert crude word) ... and I should be of mixed emotions right? Wrong.
I'm fully backing Lincoln. I'm not afraid to say that and whilst I'm neither for nor against the boycott (of which none of us can speak about without weeks of debate) I would love to elaborate on my thoughts on why everyone up and down the country with a love for the game should be rooting for the Imps and it's really not boycott related.
Early on in the week Chelsea's senior team took on Arsenal in the League Cup losing 2-1. During the game Willian was injured and Conte only had Ross Barkley to bring to the field of play from a drab bench. He was a controversial signing, having saved 20mil in the January sales, bagging him for a sweet 15mil. So here he is centre of attention being shoved on to the pitch alongside some of the best players the Premier League has to offer. On he goes and whilst I wholeheartedly agree he is lacking in performance he needs time on the ball, game time! With that and guidance I think he may well be a fantastic player. Now maybe it's the grassroots in me or maybe it's that I'm a human being but I, a 31 year Chelsea supporter, almost broke my TV listening to Conte slam him after the game. He spoke like he was dealt a really bad hand having to play him. Like he had just been told Pete from division six Sunday side Red Lion was coming in as his new midfielder.
Now I have a real problem with the interview for one reason. Player development and duty of care. Imagine what that has done to Barkley! Imagine what his mind set is in the days after? So what does this have to do with Checkatrade? Well for starters we have a manager to be proud of. And if Conte at the top thinks that this is acceptable ,what happens lower down? I tweeted earlier this week about my disgust for Conte and admiration for Cowley. Would you ever hear Danny talk that way? No ... No way would the King of Sincil Bank allow that dark and detrimental mind set to creep it's way in. Danny and Nicky have their priorities straight and that priority of a good mind set is what makes Lincoln City FC great contenders to reach Wembley. It's what wins us games.
Not only could we reach Wembley but we could win . So let's be positive, just like Danny and Nicky. Let's go into the game with a positive mind set, get behind the team and sing loud and proud. #UTMI
By L.I.S.A Committee
First to say, we wish everyone a very happy new year and here’s hoping for another year as successful as the last for Lincoln City FC! It has been a busy start to 2018 as we put plans in place for various projects. We have just launched tickets for our latest L.I.S.A Spring Night event on Friday 16th March which is a sponsored event.
Late last year we were contacted by Bluebird Care who much to our delight and gratitude offered us help with sponsorship of a future event. We are immensely grateful that Bluebird Care have been so supportive of L.I.S.A and we are able to pass this goodwill and offer of support directly to fellow Imps for the forthcoming get together.
We expect ticket demand to be high (they are already selling) so please don’t miss out. This is a L.I.S.A event open to all, indeed we would like to invite new people to attend so please ask friends and family and spread the word, there will be a good mix of ladies and gents. We are thankful for being hosted by Ruston Sports and Social, the venue provides a dance floor for the more energetic amongst you! Punch the Monkey are a really popular Lincoln band so it promises to be a brilliant night on Grimsby Town Eve! The normal Lincoln City related theme will be apparent.
Tickets including a fish and chip basket meal are priced at just £6 (yes, that’s right, 6 quid!) for members and only £10 for those that aren’t. You are able to become a L.I.S.A member before the event to take advantage of the lower price and benefit from discount at future events if you wish - tickets are available on the events page, link below.
The club are being proactive in encouraging support and togetherness from all fans old and new. L.I.S.A will do all it can to support both this ideal and fellow supporters / fan groups for the common good of the club with joint projects already in discussion for the future.
Best wishes to you all and up the Imps
By Maria Horner
One of the joys of football is the build up to a game, the comparisons of recent performances, stats, historic rivalries and of course personalities.
In FGR’s Mark Cooper we have the perfect villain from a perfect villain castle - albeit one grown from parsnips in a forest of broccoli.
As with any clash between sides it’s the differences they exploit in order to goad, undermine and berate the ‘enemy’ to wage psychological warfare on the army; to take the emotional upper hand before battle on the field.
Like the pre-match boxing weigh-in, the preamble between football fans and the respective managers is exaggerated, a lot of pomp and ceremony and fist waving. It’s all part of the refined dance to ensure everything is set for the right amount of tension at kick off.
So FGR’s eco-vegan credentials which in the outside world are all very commendable and outwardly good (as long as no one is forced to eat a vegetable hot dog in a gluten free roll, unless of course you enjoy such fare - fair play) but it does give meat to the stew for the opposition cat calls.
So we had Mark Copper ‘the cad’,
flapping his cape in indignation, who hasn’t failed to delight Imps fans with his comments about the club and our princely Danny and Nicky ( both obviously the most newly eligible managers to grace the kingdom of football).
So the stage was set and the triumph of Rhead’s first goal set off our second weapon of mass destruction; the sound wall of noise from the Co-op stand hurtling towards Cooper’s lair. It was followed by the crushing bellows of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning (repeat to tune of Guantanamera) well surely that would be enough to force him to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West ? But no !! The beast was yet to deliver his final ‘yelp’as his winged monkey Doidge shot past our hero Vickers.
With the gasping giant vegetable monster yet to be slayed.... up arose our mighty friendly giant again, angered no doubt by the falling over army, he rose through the steaming blades of green to his seven foot magnificent grandeur, all manly thirty stone of him (Ok it’s for effect keep with me ...) and plunged the final dagger into the heart of the fearfully wide eyed mushroom that was FGR.
The villain, stopped in his tracks at the defeat, took his bony fingers and threw his kelp cape around his shoulders and slunk off, while the Cowley Princes and the people cheered and bells rang out in celebration and we hailed our knight in shining armour who is being waved off to fight in the fair kingdom of Norwich.
And as the curtain falls...that’s where it should end, there’s no reason to take any of this off-stage or outside the dressing room door or to the car park...