A tale of two clubs

Football fans are constantly fed the analogy that the game is an emotional rollercoaster; unpredictable and packed full of radical ups and downs.

And there won’t be many around the country who can verify that quite as much as the the Sincil Bank faithful recently. Lincoln City dropped out of the Football League last season and are finding the rigours of non-league football tough in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Lincoln Ladies manager Rod Wilson says the club can still improve despite finishing 4th in the WSL. Photo: Mikey Mumford

But just as the old proverb goes there is a silver lining in every dark cloud and Lincoln’s Lady Imps have proved they are more than capable of lifting the current haze presiding over Lincolnshire.

On the weekend of Saturday, September 10th, Steve Tilson’s men’s side lost their fifth game of the season at home to Kettering Town. Fast forward 24 hours and Lincoln Ladies were preparing to face Arsenal (the women’s team of course) in the semi-final of the Women’s Continental Cup.

Forget the 3-1 defeat that followed, it was still a poignant day for everyone connected with the club and those who made the journey south to Borehamwood. For it marked the end of the Lady Imps first season in the FA Women’s Super League – their first as a top-flight football club.

Sixteen years after the club was founded in 1995, Lincoln Ladies Football Club are official regarded as the 4th best team in the land. Under the stewardship of long serving manager Rod Wilson, only league winners Arsenal, Birmingham and Everton are held in higher esteem based on their maiden WSL campaign.

And Wilson believes there is still room for improvement and insists the team cannot afford to rest on their laurels despite the close season.

Wilson said: “The team should push on from here. To catch [league champions] Arsenal, we still need perhaps two or three more players bringing into the squad. I’m sure all of the teams will be better because of this year and you can’t afford to stand still.

“When I first came to the club we were in a relegation battle. [In the] second season we came fourth, and then we were in a position to challenge for the championship. This has got to be what happens now really.

The team’s rise in stature over the last few years has been aided by a number of high-profile signings. To be one of the best teams in the country, Wilson needed the club’s backing to bring in some high-profile names.

Sophie Bradley, Jess Clarke and Casey Stoney all boast international experience after representing England at the World Cup in Germany this summer. They were brought in by Wilson to play alongside already establishes stars including Sue Smith and together Wilson says the club’s style of play can increase local support.

“We need tomake people realise that we have got these superb international players playing for little Lincoln. It’s great that we do have these players, but we need to
use it more to get people to the games”.

The season might be over for the Lady Imps but as they look forward to next year, the rise of team in 2011 certainly played a huge part in putting ‘little’ Lincoln back on the footballing map.

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