Iron and Imps hope to exert the Lincs effect

Three years ago, Lincolnshire boasted four Football League representatives. Following Grimsby Town’s relegation from League Two in May, that number is now just two. Boston United were first to fall back in 2007 and the Pilgrims have since endured a turbulent period, including two enforced demotions for financial reasons.

However, Boston celebrated promotion back to the Blue Square North this summer and Grimsby now sit just a division above them. There were nearly two more Lincolnshire clubs swapping divisions in the Football League.

If Boston are on the way back and Grimsby are looking to start afresh, then the situations at both Scunthorpe United and Lincoln City also reflect a need to rebuild.

When the new Championship season kicks off in August, Scunthorpe will again be playing at the same level for only the second time in six years. The Iron secured their divisional status just two games from the end of last season and manager Nigel Adkins is busily trying to restructure his team on a tight budget.

Influential players have either already left Glanford Park or are on the cusp of leaving for pastures new. The departures of striker Paul Hayes to Championship rivals Barnsley and midfielder Grant McCann to Gary Johnson’s Peterborough will hit Scunthorpe hard, but it is their 22-year-old goal machine Gary Hooper whose seemingly imminent absence will be most keenly felt.

Highly-rated striker Hooper appears to be on the verge of a move up the east coast to Middlesbrough. If he completes the switch to ‘Boro, Gordon Strachan’s side will gain the services of a 30-goal Championship striker and the Iron will have lost the man responsible for almost half of their goals last season.

Adkins has already moved to replace Hooper and Hayes by signing a pair of strikers who impressed in League Two last season, Rochdale’s Chris Dagnall and Accrington Stanley’s Bobby Grant. This is the reality for a club the size of Scunthorpe as they aim to emulate successes such as the 2-1 victory over champions Newcastle United last October.

30 miles down the A15, the departure of Scunthorpe’s H-bombs will mean very little to one half of the SAS partnership that fired Blackburn Rovers to the Premiership title in 1995. Chris Sutton has a job to do.

Sutton arrived at Lincoln in September last year, thrown in at the deep end of the Football League with no managerial experience to call upon. The former Chelsea striker appears to be slowly adapting to life in the hotseat, though, and began to craft a quietly impressive side through astute temporary signings.

The challenge for Sutton now is to hit the ground running in his first full campaign in charge, an aim made more difficult by the outstanding loanee striker Davide Somma’s return to parent club Leeds United. A series of bargain buys, such as Barnet’s Albert Jarrett and Torquay’s Moustapha Carayol, have since arrived at Sincil Bank following good performances against Sutton’s side last season.

In truth, many Football League managers will be shopping on the cheap this summer but perhaps none more so than Adkins and Sutton. For Scunthorpe and Lincoln, mid-table mediocrity in their respective leagues may be marked a real success.

The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.


  1. Ricey
    July 1, 2010

    Good article.

    The problem with Sutton and Lincoln is that he’s already lost the confidence of a lot of the fans. Come October and Lincoln haven’t started well, I expect the fans to turn on him. He certainly has a very very difficult job next season.

  2. DB
    July 1, 2010

    Cheers, I must admit I’ll be keeping a close eye on Lincoln this season. Went to see them twice at the end of last season (Cheltenham and Aldershot away). They lost both times but looked bright in possession and the fans seemed happy enough. Having said that, it was the end of the season and I think they just fancied a party.

    Somma was obviously their key man towards the end of the season and Sutton will have to work miracles to get anyone as good as him on loan again.

    I hope they fare a lot better this season.


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