Lincoln United management team Scott Hellewell, Paul Grimes and Jon Taylor

The new management team took the reins at Lincoln United less than a week ago, but manager Scott Hellewell already has his eyes on delivering the club their sought-after promotion into step four.

He joined The Whites alongside assistant manager Paul Grimes and coach Jon Taylor. The trio most recently spent six years at Winteron Rangers.

Speaking for the first time as Lincoln United manager, exclusively to The Linc, he said: “The conversations we have had is that the club are desperate to get back to step four. I think everyone is on board with that, I think all the players are aware of that, and I think although they did do well in the cup competitions last season, they’d probably swap it all to be in step four this season.

“We’ll want to be competitive in the FA competitions, but the league is the main one. Obviously, if you can have good cup runs as well, winning breeds confidence. But, the league is the priority. I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to win the Vase, like I said to the players, getting to the semi-final is probably a once in a lifetime achievement.”

Lincoln United – A Club of Ambition:

After a rollercoaster season, The Whites’ remain ambitious. They finished second in the league and fell short in the play-offs, went one penalty kick away from Wembley in the FA Vase, and won a first-ever Lincolnshire FA County Senior Trophy.

Lincoln United win Lincolnshire FA County Senior Trophy
Lincoln United lifted the County Senior Cup in Boston last season. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography/Lincolnshire FA

On the management team’s attraction to the vacant roles, Hellewell said: “The ambition was the main pull. We wouldn’t want to leave Winterton to go to a team where they weren’t striving to be better and go up the leagues. “They made it pretty clear that they wanted us, and we made it pretty clear that we wanted to come here, so it seems like a really good fit.”

“I think there is a pressure, but I think it’s something that hopefully we will grasp with two hands. We knew what we were coming into, it’s not like we’ve joined a team who are happy to have a season of consolidation. We knew what we needed to do from the first conversations that we had.”

“We know what it takes, but obviously we are going into a different league with a bit of an unknown.” – Scott Hellewell on promotion into step four

He added: “As a management team, that’s where we want to be. I think that was the one big pull towards Lincoln. Since I’ve been playing football, knowing non-league football, Lincoln was always a step four or even a step three team. I think last season was the lowest they’ve been for a long while, and the ambitions of the club, and the people behind the scenes, was a massive pull for us to join the club and hopefully get back up to step four.”

A management team:

Hellewell takes over from Chris Funnell, who left his role as manager after defeat in the play-off semi-finals to Skegness Town. His assistant, Grimes, has played at Ashby Avenue on and off throughout his career, including in the FA Vase quarter-final victory over Deal Town last season. Taylor, who has family ties to the club, completes the trio as a coach.

Lincoln United's Paul Grimes
New assistant manager Paul Grimes is expected to continue playing for The Whites. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

The new Lincoln gaffer said: “I think without one of us, it wouldn’t work. The success we have had is because all three of us are together.

“Paul will hopefully continue playing… even though he’s 39, he’s still very, very fit. Paul’s very good with his football and tactical knowledge, he speaks well, and Jon’s more of a coach, doing the warm-ups and taking part in training. We all bring something to the table.”

Successes at Winterton Rangers:

At Winterton, the management trio managed two promotions in six years, securing a place in step four last season.

Hellewell said: “We got to step four last season. If I’m honest, I think the jump up was probably a bit more than we were expecting. Even though we ended up getting relegated, which is not ideal, it didn’t really feel like a relegation because the expectations were that we were going into that league to basically get relegated.”

Winterton were a club punching above their weight by reaching step four of the non-league pyramid, proving the successes that the management trio had. Rangers’ relegation last season puts them back into the same tier as Lincoln.

Summer recruitment:

The summer is set to see a number of ins and outs at the Sun-hat Villas & Resorts Stadium. Hellewell confirmed that a “few” players have left the club, while work to find replacements is already underway.

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: “We’ve been on with recruitment straight away, even before we got the job. Before we left Winterton there were a few conversations had with some of the players in terms of asking if they’ll be willing to come with us wherever we go.

“We are happy with the squad we’ve got, so we won’t be making massive overall changes, but we would like to bring some of our own in, we would like to give some of the youngsters a chance that are already at the club.”

The new manager believes there is a togetherness in the group he has inherited, providing the foundations for the up-coming season of what he described as a “good squad”.

The former Winterton Rangers boss said: “There are a few players that we would like to bring with us [from Winterton]. Whether or not they come, we’re not 100% sure. We’ve had a couple of conversations with them, it’s more now talking money and things like that.”

The off-season will be a time for rest and recover after a long season at Ashby Avenue, but a lot of work is set to be done before the start of the 2024/25 campaign.

Feature Image Credit: Lincoln United FC

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