All roads lead to Wembley

Sincil Bank

As winter rolls around again and the smell of bonfire night still clings in the air a new kind of fireworks are about to be going off in the coming months, yes it’s that time of the year again for the FA cup first round clashes to be fought around the country. And this time round its top of the league 2 table Lincoln City facing off against 15th placed league two side Northampton, with the two teams having met back in August where Lincoln made off with a 1-0 victory.

Following last year’s unfortunate first round fixture where Lincoln lost 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon the Imps are looking to hopefully re-create their fairy tale story of the 2016-17 season. A season in which they defied the odds to become the first non-league side to reach the FA cup quarter finals in over 100 years, where they were finally stopped losing to Premier League side Arsenal 5-0after a very defensively strong first half in which the Imps only conceded in the 45th minute.

With the coupling of the Imps’ historic cup run and promotion to League two, attendance at Sincil bank tripled during the months of the tournament, starting out with just over 3,500 fans at their first round game to roughly 9,500 fans at their fourth round replay match against championship side Brighton and Hove Albion where they won 3-1. After beating Burnley 1-0 a trip to the Emirates was on the cards and, although losing the match, the Imps gained just over £1million in prize money and TV broadcast fees.

Lincoln manager Danny Cowley said before their match against AFC Wimbledon that the money they received after the previous season’s FA cup run was “a game changer for a club of our size and the main aim is to use last year as a legacy moving forward”. He also said that the money went towards a new training ground as the team was having to “train at a school one or two days a week and train at an army barracks the other two days.”

And so even though the 2017-18 fa cup run wasn’t the dream perhaps many fans hoped for as with most teams in football, there is always a period of settling in to new things, such as Lincolns promotion to league two the same year.

But, with this recent history, the Imps looking as though they’ve settled down into the league judging by their current form and what some could call, a comfortable first round cup tie, could this seasons FA cup tournament be another fairy tale for the Imps? Only time will tell.