Lincoln City chairman Bob Dorrian is determined to make the club’s exile from the Football League a brief one after admitting there were lessons to be learned from this season’s campaign.
Dorrian and the City board members were speaking to a packed out crowd at the Supporters’ Trust Suite at Sincil Bank where fans were invited to quiz the Imps hierarchy over a number of pressing issues.
In an evening of frank and candid exchanges an open Dorrian, who labelled the majority of this season’s squad as being “absolutely gutless”, revealed:
- The real reasons behind Chris Sutton’s departure from the club in September.
- Estimated losses of £400,000 for this financial year and a projected £80,000 loss next season.
- The club will go through next season without a training ground.
- The six transfer listed players are currently taking up 30% of the club’s playing budget and they will leave for nominal fees in the coming months.
- That both he and vice-chairman Chris Travers personally financed the move for striker Ben Hutchinson.
“We’re out of the Football League and we’re going to work really, really hard to get back into it. Steve Tilson’s got the chance now to build his own team and bring in new players,” said Dorrian.
“I think Steve Tilson had lots of bad luck, we lost Delroy Facey when we were picking up points on a regular basis.
“Circumstances conspired against Steve to quite a degree. You can call it bad luck, you can call it what you like. It’s been a disastrous season and I’m still traumatised.”
Earlier, Dorrian had credited former manager Chris Sutton for keeping Lincoln in League Two the season before last but admitted his ‘bombshell’ decision to leave after the Burton Albion game took him by surprise.
Explaining the reasons for Sutton’s departure, he said: “Chris found the fans at Lincoln were negative towards him and elements of people in the football club were also negative to him.
“I don’t think Chris liked criticism and people in all areas of the football club he accused of being negative.”
After confessing that Sutton spent all the budget and more in the first two months, the Imps supremo laid much of the blame on his transfer dealings.
He said: “We didn’t sit on Chris hard enough and we didn’t look at some of his deals. As a board we don’t know how those players are going to perform, on paper they looked good.”
Ironically the biggest cheer of the night came when one passionate fan condemned the signing of Drewe Broughton and a bullish Dorrian wholeheartedly replied: “I’ll agree with you that was bloody awful!”
Arguably, the main concerns among the 250 strong fans were the financial ramifications that come with life in non-league football. Supporters probed both Dorrian and vice-chairman Chris Travers on the running of the club that faces future in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
“At the moment, we are working to a budget that will lose us £80,000 next year. We are going to cut out our accommodation completely for players on contract and are going to stop appearance money.”
Dorrian admitted other cost cutting operations including the shock revelation that the club will work without a permanent training ground next term. “We are also going to mothball the training ground facilities next season and we are going to go through the season without a training ground. We will look to use the club’s 3G pitch and other facilities around the city,” he insisted.
City’s six transfer listed players were also the subject of much discussion with Dorrian revealing they will all leave for nominal fees between £30,000-£40,000.
Vice chairman Chris Travers was quick to brand the decision to personally finance the deal for Ben Hutchinson as one of his worst judgements on the board. The ex- Celtic forward was identified by Neil Lennon as a player who could score goals in League Two.
Hutchinson managed just four goals in 36 appearances for the Imps while picking up £1,000 a week in wages according to Dorrian.
On a much lighter note one supporter saw the brighter side of the Blue Square Premier and the fact that Crawley Town’s promotion means Lincoln City will not have to welcome Steve Evans to Sincil Bank next season.
Dorrian’s stark reply this time was, “There’s always a silver lining.”
The club hope to announce another fans’ evening with manager Steve Tilson and assistant Paul Brush in the near future.Tweet