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
By Gemma Bell
So I was walking through Sincil Bank on my way to the Carlisle game, I started to soak up the atmosphere and suddenly I became very aware of a great female presence. I could see mothers and children, boyfriends and girlfriends, daughters, groups of women and all I thought was WOW!
I have been all over the country to games, I have been to cup finals, league games, non-league games and internationals but I cannot recall seeing such a high ratio of female support. I sat in the ground that day and looked around. The ladies were cheering and singing. They were engrossed in the passion and the buzz that live football creates. So many little girls were wearing the red and white of the "Cowley Army". Imagine my shock at half time when I found myself in a queue for the ladies toilets! Not only that but the whole queue was talking about player ratings and who was performing! I am so used to being in the minority it was absolutely refreshing.
When L.I.S.A first started I conducted a survey via Survey Monkey. It covered fan responses from Non-league up to the Premiership and no less than 73% felt that their club would benefit from having a female fan support network. Despite this, when I went on to look at participation I found only 11% of the group actually played the game! So why the huge dip if female attendance is on the up? Why isn’t participation following the trend? Back in March the FA released details of its development plan for females in football. Its aim is to double participation by 2020. Details of this is plan can be found here:
What I wanted to know was what did key people at the club think? Had they noticed the increase? And if that increase was solely club related had they noticed an increase in other areas? First, I spoke with David Fox, newly appointed to lead the development centre. Dave has a wealth of experience in countries around the world. He too has noticed the increase in female spectators however this hasn’t yet reflected in the development centre itself. The Development Centre now offers under 7 to under 12 girls development. More information on this can be sought by contacting Dave at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave has a keen passion to progress female participation and we eagerly await his plans to progress female opportunities at the club. Secondly I spoke with the man himself, Danny Cowley. Following the Luton game I was able to discuss his perceptions, Danny too, like myself, is keen to get more females into the game.
“In terms of kids and females, if you looked at other clubs and on a percentage scale we’d be much higher” Danny said. “It’s great we have such a diverse supporter base”.
Danny went on to say “We definitely need a women’s team and female development teams right the way through the ages”.
Sending that message he also confirmed that he encourages his own daughter who has just turned eight to play. “She has just turned eight but could play up a year”, he beamed with pride. Danny describes himself as a big advocate for females in football and so I look forward to the club bringing this ethos to life.
Ok, geek time maybe, but we thought it would be interesting to share some L.I.S.A stats with you. So, did you know:
L.I.S.A has over 120 official paid up members (ladies and gents), way more than we ever imagined!
L.I.S.A has over 900 Facebook members. These consist of 826 women and 82 men
L.I.S.A has 22 members living in London, 2 more than in Sleaford!
48% of L.I.S.A members are aged between 25 and 54 years of age
In the last 60 days, the L.I.S.A Facebook page has averaged 8 posts and 152 reactions per day
The L.I.S.A website has had over 5,500 page views since its launch in July
L.I.S.A has already raised £176 for the Imps in the Community Charity
L.I.S.A member Paula Barlow enjoyed a great day as a VIP thanks to our latest Curves competition. More members competitions will be coming up later in the season, so why not sign up as an official member to take advantage! Thanks again to Curves for their continued support of both L.I.S.A and Lincoln City Football Club.
By Gemma Bell
So we go up against the Cods, the ball is in play and one of the Cods enters the penalty area and strikes his own player... YOUR the referee, do you..
a) Send off the blue and restart the game with a drop ball from where the ball was when the incident took place
b) Send off the Cod and restart the game with a penalty kick
c) Send off the Cod and give an indirect free kick from where the incident took place
What would you do? What is the law of the game? Last week I sat in a room for a Mid Lincolnshire course with 99 men and Michael Brader who is the referee development officer for the Lincolnshire FA was asking just that. I have had his permission to use this example. Luckily for me I am not phased and smashed all the answers except one, can't get them all right can we !?
I have got to say I absolutely loved the course but the FA are looking for some more female (and male) refs. Michael is passionate and a joy to work with. Most men in the room learnt a lot in a short time so I imagine the full course is very insightful (this was a mid Lincs youth football evening) and he is keen to hear from you TODAY! Drop Michael an email at:
100 people on the course and I was the only female... do I get nervous? YES! Do I carry on? YES! Why? Because I genuinely love the game and I am learning more every day. Would I recommend becoming more than a fan of football? HELL YES!
By Gemma Bell
Firstly .... that statement is WRONG. I know it's wrong because a little while ago I spent the night, following the Lionesses defeat to the Netherlands, reading sexist comments.
Now I'm not going to argue that the women's game is on the same level as the men's ... not because women couldn't be that good ... let's face it males have a much better facilitated game than women. Look at what happened to Lincoln City Ladies and more recently the Notts County Ladies! As for the Lionesses, sadly they didn't seem to show up. If you watched them you will know they are usually a fast placed play kinda bunch. Karen Carney is a fast paced player who is always super busy. She didn't get much game time and her presence was missed. Anyway ... so here I am in my tent in the middle of a field reading comments on a banter page (not our club’s thank goodness) and it's always a swift reminder of how football is often seen as a 'mans' sport.
One post read; 'The women's team were played off the park'. And then... 'not that I watched it'. Ha ! Didn't watch but is adamant we were 'sh*te'. Another said, "women should stick to washing the pots". I'd like to thank all the IMPS that don't think like that. I also want to thank the other lads who got on the old Facebook banter wagon and stuck up for the ladies. I think it is that attitude and how often, it's more than just banter that puts women off or makes them uncomfortable. Not me I'll give as good as I get but I think if I had just discovered my love for the game, that attitude might have a massive part to play in staying away. I love a good bit of ‘banter’ but it’s not to everyone’s taste. I love reading our banter page and the playful comments between the people on it.
I've met the lovely team at L.I.S.A and I know they agree that the men at Lincoln City FC have been welcoming. The club is very fortunate to have such a family feel amongst its supporters. However; what Maria and the other L.I.S.A's realised is that being female entering into a male dominated hobby can be a bit nerve wrecking or like stepping into another world! It’s often just the unknown and they try to take the fear away. They encourage women to give it a go and many men support them in that. It’s about getting our whole community behind the club. So many fans, including new ladies who nervously stepped into the stands of Sincil Bank love the energy and drive of the 617, the other fans, players and managers. Everyone at the club should be proud that the club is miles ahead of others by having a support group like L.I.S.A.
By Gemma Bell
I remember being young, only 6 or 7, I came downstairs that Sunday night to hear my Dad cheering at the TV. His cheers were so loud he'd woken me. He had already watched the game that day but he was watching it back on a well known programme. I remember looking at him and thinking wow this must be special! I never saw my Dad excited like that about anything! He would tell me stories about being at the ground and the atmosphere and those were the stories that sparked a buzz inside me. You see he would have liked a boy. He is a real man's man my Dad. I guess it didn't take me long to work this out and become a football fanatic eager to spend time with him.
I was 8 when my Dad took me to my first game. I remember getting on the train with the 'lads' and thinking I was the bee's knees. They were all chatting about the transfer window and I was listening intently. I remember walking out into the stadium and being in ore of the massive pitch in front of me. The feeling is really hard to describe. From the buzz as people filter out the pub and into the ground to the flashing screens of adverts it really all creates something rather special. As the fans started to sing I knew there and then this was the sport for me. This was going to be a huge part of my life.
Fast forward 10 years and by that time I was a barmaid. The Saturday shift was always fun. The lads always had something to say about me being female when I joined in football chit chat. Don't worry I soon shot them down and dazzled them with my ability to understand the offside rule. I didn't even need to use the purse in a shop analogy! Impressive eh!! By that time I'd spent 10 years listening to sexist comments on how girls shouldn't like football and how being offside is being outside of the kitchen. I don't mind the banter to be fair. I'm fortunate to have an extremely broad sense of humour.
Fast forward another 12 years and here I am. Now I'm a single parent of two boys, one who has played for Arsenal soccer school and a three year old who is training comfortably with 5 year olds. Not bad for a girl who surly doesn't know the offside rule eh! Oh and I'm a football coach, level one trained by the FA. You'd think in this day and age people wouldn't bat an eyelid right! Wrong... just last weekend I took my boys ( yes that's right, I have a boys team ) to a tournament and one of the boys playing for another team asked if I was manager. When I said yes he laughed, he laughed and told me I couldn't be because I'm a girl! I can see his dad now reading this in disgust at me being away from my sandwich making duties.
When I heard what the guys at LISA were up to I knew it merged both my passions... football and encouraging females into the sport. Men and women are not the same, we have different needs but that doesn't mean we have to have different interests. And what better interest than the IMPS! That's the exact reason I fully support LISA ... we have a place in football us women, we can understand the offside rule and if your really, really lucky - we'll even bring a picnic basket 😉
Maria Horner describes her personal experience and what was behind the LISA idea to the Football Supporters Federation:
"It started with a kiss, sort of. Like falling in love; the pain in your heart and a dull ache in your stomach when you know it’s real. Lincoln City lost to York in the FA Trophy semi-final, a rare defeat late last season, but it was the moment I realised I properly cared about my club. I analysed what it was I’d fallen for and hesitantly posted on Facebook. Suddenly a raft of like-minded women responded.
It took me by surprise. My partner, Martin, encouraged me to create a Facebook group, just to see what happened. LISA was born that Monday night in March. Within a week we had 800 people on the group. Women love their club and want to talk about it.That’s all it was, an additional alternative space where female fans could share their thoughts, feelings and joy.
Quickly it shaped itself into a place for all kinds of random love for Lincoln City FC; selfies with the team (who caught a Cowley?), Imps beach towels abroad, red and white themed summer plants, celebrations of our fabulous season. Did we ride the tidal wave of the club’s success in the National League and FA Cup? the excitement and joy? Yep, we loved every minute! Are we all ‘bandwagon jumpers’ and not real fans’? Nope. Try that line with our member who’s been an Imp for 57 years.
But we are more than a page, we’ve made a difference – already. Women who had not been to see a live match before felt they could try it, other’s who hadn’t attended alone before had the confidence to do so. Female supporters are connecting with each other, friendships are building online and it’s transferring to the ground on match day. The ‘feel’ of the group is overwhelmingly positive. They say they enjoy the lack of hostility and swearing found on other sites; not because it’s banned but it’s the way it’s evolved. It’s not Pollyanna either. It can be risqué or cheeky, but it’s inclusive, and funny.
So what are we for? LISA is here to create a space to encourage more women to actively support Lincoln City Football Club and to shape it into an even more positive experience. We’ll do this by sharing our thoughts, ideas and experiences with each other and more widely by linking with other organisations to enhance our aims. Although we are Lady Imps, we welcome members of any gender, and men encouraging women to the game can only be helpful.
If you support our aims we want you with us. We are part of the football community, we don’t seek to separate ourselves, by seating or otherwise, we want to join in celebrating Lincoln City FC, on and off the pitch. If more women enjoy that experience and feel part of their club, they will spend their money and bring their families and friends.
The football experience can be enhanced for everyone without taking away the aspects which many fans enjoy; lively goal celebrations, a chant with jocular not hateful swearing.
It’s not about sanitising the sport but encouraging variety in how fans enjoy their football. It could be providing travel options for women travelling alone to away games, mum’s discussing child friendly alternative lyrics to the chants, or just saying what we think about the match without fear of being ridiculed by a keyboard warrior who’s supported football for three hundred years and who set the exam on the offside rule.
Lincoln City FC has been hugely supportive from the start when we were just a few posts on Facebook. In less than four months we’ve had a ‘Meet LISA night’ (no yawning formalities) we are on twitter @ladyimps, we have a committee and a membership scheme and a badge beautifully designed by a member. We couldn’t have achieved this without Anwar Uddin, head of the Football Supporters' Federation and Kick it Out's Fans for Diversity campaign.
It’s provided LISA with a solid foundation and a website! It also made possible our first ‘official’ LISA Night social. For £5 a head the LCFC Travis Perkins suite was filled to capacity with balloons and more than 120 people served with fizz and ‘tapas’. Pride of place was our Vanarama League Trophy and player Sean Long kicked off the celebrations. Singer Ellie-Mae and musician Jack Cook were fabulous. Our ‘voice of football’, BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s commentator Michael Hortin interviewed his regular match summariser Steve Thomson.
Steve’s experience as a former player and manager for both Lincoln City and Sheffield United provided delight with his unvarnished tales of football characters. Our own LISA comedian Gina Overton served wry wit about what women witness at football including “the crevice of doom”! But the highlight was the room waving and swaying while more than ninety women sang Sweet Caroline! Da Da Da! Good times never seemed so good!"
Well, after a long wait LISA Night came and went and thankfully it seems it was a great success. Combining full time day jobs with our love for Lincoln City is undoubtedly hard work but certainly worthwhile and incredibly rewarding. On our other media streams we have expressed our sincere thanks to all involved who gave their precious time for absolutely nothing, we repeat it here, THANK YOU. It was brilliant to see so many Imps both ladies and gents enjoying themselves, albeit we didn't foresee Alan Long's chair dancing receiving over 5,500 Facebook views!
I think for most of us Sunday was a recovery day, but not for our amazing Heidi - having slaved away with the club staff in the kitchen all day she was back to work for 9am on Sunday morning! So now we look to the future and as our profile grows it will no doubt get busier! For all our members that joined up officially in recent days we will be arranging a relaxed get together, an inaugural meeting shall we say. Our next committee meeting is less than 2 weeks away when we can get our heads together to plan for our next event(s). Last week we had a meeting with the fantastic charity, Imps in the Community, there is so much we can do for the benefit of the community and our club. It's been a steep learning curve but an exciting journey in our short history. Fingers crossed we are headed in the right direction.
Many of you will know that last season Curves of Lincoln - fitness for ladies, kindly offered LISA to be the joint Man of the match sponsor at last seasons home fixture against Bromley. This was at no cost to the group and also offered a competition where the lucky LISA winner enjoyed a VIP match day experience. Maria was very fortunate to present the Man of the Match to Alex Woodyard with Karen Dixon from Curves. We are delighted to announce that Curves of Lincoln's support and promotion of LISA will now continue into the new season with joint sponsorship at future games as follows:
Saturday 2nd September 2017
Lincoln City v Luton
Saturday 27th January 2018
Lincoln City v Newport
Saturday 7th April 2018
Lincoln City v Wycombe
Man of the match sponsor
We are immensely thankful to Curves for their continued support of both LISA and our beloved Lincoln City Football Club.
Up the Imps - the new season is almost here !!! ❤️⚪️🔴