On Saturday Lincoln City secured a return to the Football League with a 2-1 against Macclesfield Town in front of over 10,000 fans. So, what is next for a club that has made the city proud once again?
There were joyous scenes across the city as jubilant fans celebrated an end to the club’s six-year exile in the National League. Their title win caps off a marvellous season in which they faced Premier League giants Arsenal in the FA Cup Quarter Final and reached the last four of the FA Trophy.
However, despite securing the title, there are still two more games to play in the league. A 100-point finish is still within reach, with trips to Maidstone on Tuesday and Southport on Saturday.
The Southport trip will be particularly poignant for fans, as it was Haig Road that hosted their first match in the fifth tier, and it will host the last as well. Some 2,000 fans are expected to travel as the Imps bid a ‘fond’ farewell to the non-league scene.
After that, expect a short spell of celebrations. The FA Cup run alone prompted talk of an open-top bus parade, and with the league title also in the bag, that has been confirmed. The date that has been provisionally mentioned is Tuesday May 2nd, and Lincoln may well come to a stand-still as the City salutes its footballing heroes.
— Lincoln City FC (@LincolnCity_FC) April 22, 2017
The club’s board will be meeting on Monday to discuss the future direction of the club too. As well as success on the pitch, much has been achieved off it. The balance sheet has never looked as healthy and City are expected to have a competitive budget for the coming season.
There will be much talk of fresh training facilities as chairman Bob Dorrian and the board look to match the lofty ambitions of the highly-rated management duo.
Once the celebrations die down it will be up to manager Danny Cowley and brother Nicky to sort out the retained list. It is likely some of the players who enjoyed such a wonderful day yesterday will not be kept at the club, such is the harsh world of professional sports.
The reality of returning to the Football League becomes finalised on June 21st, which is the day the fixtures are announced for the new season. Fans will be filling their calendars with matches against local rivals Grimsby Town and Notts County, as well as a mouth-watering trip to 1988 FA Cup winners Coventry City.
After that there will be new players coming in too; high priority will be a striker which is perhaps one of the areas the team has looked under strength this season. Strong rumours link Peterborough loan player Lee Angol with a permanent move. July 1st is the official opening of the transfer window, and as well as adding to his ranks, Danny will be trying to keep his key players at the club.
Then it is on to the weekend of August 5th, and the beginning of the 2017/18 season, where we start all over again. It is almost six years since Lincoln lost their league status to Aldershot, but in just over two months they will, at long last, be able to re-join football’s elite.