Lincoln United's Paul Grimes

Paul Grimes has returned to Lincoln United for a fourth spell on the pitch, but this time it is different.

He also takes the mantel of assistant manager among the new management team installed at Ashby Avenue.

Grimes has enjoyed three playing spells in the white of Lincoln. First under now director of football Dave Frecklington, then under current vice-chair Sam Wilkinson, before featuring in three games last season for Chris Funnell‘s side.

Speaking to The Linc about his new role, he said: “It’s my first taste of management at Lincoln United and it’s a privilege to be asked, and for people I know, and have a lot of respect for, to put that trust in you. I understand the club, I understand what the club want, what it means to be a Lincoln United player.

“We wouldn’t have just gone anywhere as a management team, we needed that sense of understanding the club before any interviews took place. It means a lot, we’re proud and feel privileged to be a part of something here.”

Grimes moves to Ashby Avenue from Winterton Rangers, where he, new United manager Scott Hellewell and coach Jon Taylor secured two promotions across a six-year stint.

Lincoln United management team Scott Hellewell, Paul Grimes and Jon Taylor
Lincoln United’s new management team Scott Hellewell (C), Paul Grimes (R) and Jon Taylor (L). Credit: Lincoln United FC

He said: “We are definitely a trio in terms of decision making, in terms of how we plan, and we do have our own roles within that. There’s no blueprint for management and management teams, what suits one will not suit another, and we’ve found a way for us that it works.

“I think importantly, we all add value. We are definitely a team and we each have our individual value to that team. We trust each other absolutely, we have that freedom to say what we want without fear of upsetting each other.”

Not Shying Away From Promotion Ambition:

Grimes said the new management team will not “shy away” from declaring that promotion is the aim for the season.

He said: “What the club wants is for us to get to step four, but then kick on again and not just be in step four struggling. I think we know not only what it takes to get out of step five, but also what it takes to be successful when you do get to step four.”

Echoing the sentiments of manager Hellewell, he said the club’s ambition was part of the trio’s decision to move to the Sun-hat Villas & Resorts Stadium.

Lincoln United's Ashby Avenue
Lincoln United reached the Isuzu FA Vase semi-finals for the first time last season. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

He said: “Ultimately, our message to the players will be, promotion. We should be looking at getting out of this league in the next year. If it happens, great, if it doesn’t happen, then questions should be asked. We are not shying away from that aspect of football.”

He added: “That’s part of the reason why we came to Lincoln, because we relish that and we’ve got a fire in our belly. A club like Lincoln shouldn’t be [in step five], and there should be questions asked if we’re not ultimately successful in getting it to where it should be.”

Knowing the Club is a “Head Start”:

Grimes is in a somewhat unique position for a new assistant gaffer, knowing the club that the new management trio has come into already. He believes that his experience will give the team a head start, but remains keen to ensure they make their own, fresh judgements.

“I think it’s given us a head start. But, I think it’s a different kettle of fish sharing a changing room with a set of players, and sharing a pitch with them. It gives us a starting point of knowing what’s what. That has been valuable, but on the flip side of that, we have to now go and make our own judgements and see the bigger picture around the club.” he said.

Lincoln United
Lincoln United enjoyed a memorable season last time out. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

Grimes played in Lincoln’s Isuzu FA Vase quarter-final win over Deal Town as a part of his short third stint at the club.

He provided an assessment of the previous season, concluding: “Genuinely, I think the club was very unlucky, they missed out on Wembley through a kick of a ball, they missed out on the play-off final through one performance. So, they came very close.”

Learning Lessons From Winterton Relegation:

Hellewell, Grimes and Taylor took North Lincolnshire outfit Winterton Rangers from step six to step four, before relegation back into step five last term.

The Whites’ new assistant boss said: “We’re better managers for having that experience. It’s a negative experience ultimately, because we didn’t quite do enough to stay up, but I think you learn far more when it’s difficult and challenging. You have to find new ways to get outcomes.”

With the new management team in place, work has become to prepare Lincoln United for another promotion push next season.

Feature Image Credit: Ed Mayes Photography