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
Former professional footballer Anwar Uddin is someone who knows his way around the game. Beginning his football career at West Ham United he went on to play for teams to include Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol Rovers and Dagenham & Redbridge. Anwar became the first British Asian to captain a football league team and it was at the Daggers that he captained them to victory in the 2010 League 2 Play off final at Wembley.
With his professional playing days now behind him Anwar Uddin remains immersed in the football world and works as Diversity and Campaigns Manager for the Football Supporters Federation. His noble mission is to help bring football to all irrespective of gender, disability, race, faith or sexual orientation. The FSF is an organisation backed by no less than half a million members, which along with Anwar’s dedication and hard work is thankfully enabling him to make a real difference.
During the summer Anwar became aware (via L.I.S.A member Gemma Bell) of our existence and a few weeks later we met up. It was much to our surprise on that day that we learnt from Anwar that L.I.S.A was the first group encouraging ladies supporting a male football team to be set up in England and Wales. Our unique existence and subsequent support of the FSF and Anwar helped greatly in many aspects of our development. From our first event to the funding for this website, the help of the FSF has been invaluable. Although L.I.S.A is still very much a youngster just this week Anwar reflected and updated us on how L.I.S.A was becoming known to people outside of our fine county;
“My role as lead on the FSF Fans for Diversity campaign in partnership with Kick it Out gets me all over the country working with clubs from the very top to the lower levels of the pyramid. Clubs are always looking at new and exciting ways to stand out and be more inclusive. It’s been so refreshing for me to use L.I.S.A as a great example of best practice which has made the group the envy of the football league. So many clubs have said they would love their very own L.I.S.A which I would encourage”.
The words of Anwar are incredibly uplifting for a new group such as ours but we are conscious that we are just one small cog in the Lincoln machine and certainly no more valuable nor important than any other. While we are excited about our future we respect the fact that for many years supporters and supporter groups have been working hard for our club through thick and thin. Many of the people who paid out £5 to become a L.I.S.A members are indeed themselves lifelong Imps.
Our clubs phenomenal support which may well now be the envy of League 2 is all the better because of groups such as the 617 Squadron. When combined with the years of fund raising efforts by the Red Imps Community Trust and indeed the efforts of individual fans we have many assets however different that we should be proud of. With the Junior Imps scheme being widely admired and the fantastic efforts of the Imps in the Community charity the club is far more than a match day experience. In response to what makes groups such as those at Lincoln work, Anwar said;
“The magic in anything in my opinion is the people within and the individuals that drive any group.”
It seems apt to consider the excellent work of lifelong Imp Gary Hutchinson which can be more recently found in a new magazine. If we and our club are to be a real success maybe the answer is in the magazines title.
Long may Lincoln City flourish and long may L.I.S.A exist and add it’s support to a City United.
By Maria Horner and Karen
I used to hate football. It’s a strong word ‘hate’. I’m from a family of girls, and being small and of a slight build (I was then!) sport did not come naturally and was not encouraged. I saw football as boring and pointless. It all seemed a big fuss about things which didn’t matter to me. My exposure to football was avoiding ‘Grandstand’ on a Saturday and seeing TV news coverage of the trouble caused by ‘fans’ before and after matches; shouting, aggression, spitting, chair throwing – it confirmed I was right that it was something to be avoided.
Lets skip through the following twenty eight years (I’m just trying to keep my age down rather than rounding myself up to 48 !): a job involving broadcasting the football results (I once amended a score switching the teams around because it sounded better because I didn’t realise the home team score went first, Michael Hortin put me right with an early phone call on a Sunday morning !). It also meant I followed the highs of Keith Alexander’s side and the trials and tribulations off the pitch through John Beck, John Reames and the supporters buying the club out of financial ruin.
The fact I bore a son (I know gender stereotyping!) lead me to buying my first tickets to see a live game. He was about six or seven, I thought it would be a good thing for him to support his local team if he was going to support football. It was freezing, grey and lonely and even I could tell the Imps did not play well. We tried a couple more times and in the end I settled on sending him to the holiday club’s at the ground instead.
My life underwent significant change, the new man in my life loves football and the new teenager in my house had someone to ‘talk football’ with. As a means of flexing his emerging independence the teenager was off to Sincil Bank with his mates at the start of the Cowley zeitgeist. I was quite happy to go along to the odd match ‘to show willing’.....
So what? My change of heart has been documented (The early Facebook phase of L.I.S.A). I realised I fell in love when we hosted York in the FA Trophy. For me it’s brought me closer to the two most important people in my life. The values being celebrated and embedded in our club excite me. I have great optimism for what the club can achieve for itself, the supporters and for our wider community. But what has made a real difference and brings me constant joy are your stories, thoughts and the difference being an Imp makes to you.... I asked Karen to share her story and I think you’ll agree she’s made a sound choice....
"I've supported Lincoln City for as long as I can remember. My dad took me to the matches when I was a little kid and he sat me on the wall on the halfway line. I was there through the Graham Taylor years, through the highs and the real lows. Now I'm half a century old and I'm taking my son, who is now 13. My husband has also supported Lincoln all his life and with his son we now go as a family.
Last season, like so many supporters, I knew we had something special going on with Danny and Nicky at the helm, they had captured my heart and he hearts of other supporters. I just wanted to go to every match. Unfortunately this wasn't possible as I worked shifts and worked two weekends in four. After we lifted the trophy after beating Macclesfield in April this year, I decided then that I needed a Monday to Friday job so I could see my beloved team at the weekends.
So my out of season mission began. Whilst Danny was searching for players to compliment his amazing team I was searching for that job that would allow me to share the Football league with them. Fortunately I found one within the same company. I didn't hesitate to leave a department that I had worked in for 32 years and set off on another career path, I needed to do this to see my team, some say I'm crazy, I just think I'm making changes to be able to have some quality family time following a team we love. I am loving my weekends now, Saturday supporting Lincoln City and Sunday with the U14s team me and my husband run.. to say our household love football is a bit of an understatement."
If you want to share your thoughts on anything Imp related please email firstname.lastname@example.org
A meeting of the L.I.S.A committee is taking place this Friday evening where amongst other things we will be discussing and finalising plans for the Inaugural Members General Meeting (Wednesday 20th September - members only, free event) and L.I.S.A Autumn Night (Friday 20th October). We continue to be amazed by the increasing number of official L.I.S.A members and are thankful for both your support and that of the club and beyond.
To be able to provide additional benefits to official members you will see that a members page has been created on the website. You will be unable to access this until you have received an invite via your email address provided to us. We will also be contacting the few members who have not provided an email. You will be able to create your own password and your email address will remain your account name. This page will enable you to purchase discounted event tickets and have priority access. We hope that all official members will have access in good time for our next ticketed event on 20th October.
We have already secured the services of local musician and superb singer Ant MacAndrew for the L.I.S.A Autumn Night. Ant who also produces his own material (available on ITunes) is sure to raise the roof and create a party atmosphere for those attending. As soon as we have finalised plans for the upcoming events we will of course let you know. You can see Ant in action on the YouTube link below. Thank you for your support