I couldn’t believe it, I’d just scored against a Premier League side!
Director : Sam Ashoo
Cast : The players, staff and fans of Lincoln City Football Club
It is not often that someone will review a film that they were involved in making, but that is exactly what is happening here. I won’t claim to have played a major part in the making of this documentary, but I am proud to have done so.
Reviewing Lincoln City’s incredible 2016/17 season, I (as well as one other person) was involved in fact checking and stat collecting for my friend Sam, who produced this DVD from scratch in-between his day job at Liverpool FC. Sam’s efforts in putting this together were intense and passionate, not leaving anything to chance.
I’ve reviewed a few documentaries for this site, so I figure why not do one of something that I am passionate about? For some kind of perspective, I had a season ticket at Lincoln City from 2001 to 2014, only stopping because I moved out of Lincoln and combined with certain things going on in my personal life, I couldn’t justify the cost of travel, especially after initially trying to keep a run going of more than 425 matches attended in a row between 2005 – 2013.
I’ll stop there and get on with the review, but if you are interested in my thoughts on the football club, I have a blog that I occasionally update…..https://theimpska.wordpress.com and a Youtube channel.
Following on from relegation to England’s fifth tier in 2011, the Imps struggled at that level for the next five seasons, but the hiring of Danny and Nicky Cowley from Braintree Town turned the club around. After teasing a promotion push in the first half of the 2015/16 season, the Cowley brothers made that teasing an accomplishable vision as the Imps raced to the top of the league, albeit after a stuttering start.
The stuttering start improved, but the Imps were well behind league leaders Forest Green Rovers ahead of a mid-November visit, and that game turned out to be the turning point of a season in which the club became the first non-league side to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in more than 100 years, taking four higher-league scalps along the way.
This documentary follows the story of the season, featuring the majority of the goals from the League and FA Cup campaigns, all with thoughts of the management, players and fans throughout.
So, what makes this documentary different to other football reviews?
Well for me it obviously has a different feel because I support the club involved. I used to collect season review documentaries and they are very hit and miss. I’ve got reviews from clubs such as Hartlepool United, Leyton Orient, Rochdale, Yeovil Town and countless others, and some throughout my collection only show home games, some only show goals scored by the team in question, whereas others are completely random. Northampton Town’s ones are particularly disjointed as they show their own footage for home games, but have taken highlights of away games from local news reports, Sky Sports, etc. Season review documentaries like these never tell a true story of a season, even if they did well.
One such example of a poor season review was the 2002/3 version of Lincoln City. It was a memorable season for the Imps as the cash-strapped relegation favourites ended up making it to the Playoff final, but the review only showed highlights from seventeen games from a forty-nine game season. Only one of the games they showed was a defeat and that was the Playoff Final. It was a poor effort to say the least, so this review was a bit of fresh air.
It is hard to put into words just how this production makes me feel, especially as I was at some of the games that are featured (I now live more than 200 miles from Lincoln in Salisbury so I don’t get the chance to go on a regular basis any more), and thankfully a lot of games towards the end of the season were featured on TV, but to see them put into a documentary is great, and the inclusion of the opinion of the fans is what sets this documentary apart from most others.
I’ve seen plenty in which it is simply just the players and management who get their say, but whether it is the fans in the stand, or Imps staff stalwart John Vickers on the verge of tears when he talks about the relegation in 2011, you get the true passion that people feel for the club, and how something that only occupies a small section of what is one of England’s smallest cities can bring so many people from different walks of life together.
Unfortunately it doesn’t show all of the games from the season for a variety of reasons, but I’m pretty confident in saying that 90% of the matches from the 2016/17 are featured (a few league games, two FA Cup games and the majority of the FA Trophy games are missing), and this, combined with regular interviews with players, managers and fans truly portrays how the season played out. If a non-Lincoln fan was to watch this then it would give a true reflection on the year.
I feel like I am somewhat cheating by giving it the approved stamp given that I was involved in it, but why not? It’s a documentary that I am fully approving of, and I would have done even if I hadn’t.
As a former avid collector of season reviews, this is definitely one of the better efforts, which is remarkable given that it is about a team that hasn’t released a season review documentary in fourteen years.
If you’re into football then give this a watch.