Imps relegation spells trouble

On Saturday at 4:45pm Lincoln City Football Club were relegated from the football league.

Next year the Imps will be plying their trade in the Blue Square Bet premier league, or as football purists call it, ‘The Conference.’

The 3-0 defeat to Aldershot on May 7 in tandem with Barnet’s 1-0 victory at Underhill sent the Imps down with 47 points.

Over Christmas and the start of 2011 the Imps looked safe; goals from loan striker Ashley Grimes looked to have propelled Lincoln away from the relegation zone and within 7 points of the play-offs.

However, a run which saw City pick up 2 points from a possible 33 dragged them back into the relegation battle.

So what next for the Imps? A fire sale of players? The end of Steve Tilson?

Steve Tilson has already said that he wants to stay at Sincil Bank and that the squad will need a “complete rebuild”.

One definite consequence of the relegation will be to funding.

As the Imps are no longer in the football league, a different governing body will take over, meaning the money the club receives will drop dramatically.

The Imps’ youth development grant will halve from £180,000 to £90,000, parachute payments by the football league that totalled £430,000 this year will be halved to £215,000 for the next year, and then they will disappear, for good.

So relegation is going to have a harsh impact off the pitch, what are the consequences going to be like on the pitch then?

The question on everyone’s lips earlier in the season though was whether on loan striker Ashley Grimes will stay at the club.

The relegation looks set to make sure he will not, however strikers Scott Spencer and Drewe Broughton will most certainly be kept.

Club captain Delroy Facey may have been coerced into staying with the handing over of the captaincy, but that is yet to be seen.

Having the Grenadian international next season will only boost Imps’ chances Facey will be high on Steve Tilson’s list of priorities to keep.

Relegation to the conference is different to any other relegation though, bouncing back is a tall, tall order.

Grimsby, Darlington, Chester, Luton Town, Mansfield Town and Wrexham have all been relegated in the last three years and haven’t managed it — only Torquay have pulled off this feat.

This summer then is going to be an important one for the Imps, after a season which everyone involved with the club will want to forget.