Words: Josh Millar
Images: Offside Sports Photography / Camera Sport
Lincoln City are on the march to Milton Keynes this weekend, and they’re looking to take nearly 6000 fans on their trip to the Home Counties.
No mean feat, especially when you consider that it would beat the average attendance of all but five of their fellow League Two clubs.
Lincoln are on the up, and media manager Terry Hibbard is loving being part of the journey. He tells us what the 5k at MK campaign means, what Lincoln means to the people of the city, and how the club is reconnecting with them.
“The campaign was initially to try and get 5000 away fans to watch the match at MK Dons. And they set the bar a little bit higher, but in fairness, the fans have jumped on it, and we're now just under five and a half thousand now, so we've absolutely smashed it. It looks like we might get to within around 100 fans of 6000 people making it, which is astounding.”
“Before the FA Cup match at Everton, they said it would be the biggest away allocation at Goodison Park since Chelsea had gone there for the quarterfinal, and we took 5,481 to Liverpool. We’re not quite at that level yet, but to take nearly that many to a League Two match is magnificent.”
“I'm a Sheffield Wednesday fan by birth, so I'm used to seeing big big big crowds, I've been to Premier League games with Wednesday. But the one thing that has astounded me since the day I walked through the door is that Lincoln back their side like no others.
"Especially in this division, the support is tremendous. They travel in numbers, and they respond to the players, the manager... there’s a real connection between the fans and the players and the club, which is unlike no others in my experience.”
“The manager can stand at the sidelines and, this happened on Saturday, and it does happen, the manager will stand at sideline and physically ask for more from the fans, and they just do it, they do it, they're just so supportive all the time, yeah, it’s inspiring it really is.”
“The support is everything. In the promotion year from the National League, the crowds got bigger and bigger and bigger. The football has caught the imagination of the fans, and likewise, I think the support of the fans has stuck with the team and there supporting the club as well, and there's no doubt their support drives everyone forward.”
“The FA cup run in 2017 was around the time of a transition in that people started believing again. You will always have the die-hards, the people that have been around for years and years and years. But around the FA cup run more people started coming, and then people started to believe, and it wasn’t just about the FA Cup it was more they started to see the bigger picture.
"I think people got a genuine sense that something was building and they've been taken along this journey, and this ride and they're a huge part of it. The analogy that’s been used by the manager for quite some time is that the fans are on the train with us.”
“When Danny and Nicky first sat down to meet at Lincoln City, they looked out the window and saw a load of children playing football on the astro outside. They were all in Man United, Liverpool, or Real Madrid shirts. Danny said ‘I want all the kids in Lincoln to be wearing Lincoln City shirts when they play football.’ And that’s what he’s done, he’s reconnected the football club to the city, and he’s made the people of the city fall in love with football again.”
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