January 13, 2022 3.00 pm

Mixed reaction from fans to potential new Lincoln City stadium

Approved by the city council as part of Western Growth Corridor

Lincoln City supporters appear to have a mixed view of the potential new community stadium, part of the Western Growth Corridor plans which were approved by councillors on Wednesday.

The plans for a 3,200 home development at a site north of Skellingthorpe Road, including a shopping centre, primary, school and leisure facilities, include a potential new stadium for Lincoln City Football Club. Proposals were passed by 16 votes in favour to 11 votes against on Wednesday, January 12 and the city council’s decision will now be passed to the Secretary of State.

The development of the stadium is in ‘phase 4D’ of the plans and will take three years to complete. The total approximate time to complete the whole development is 22 to 23 years, so any move for the Imps won’t be for a long while yet, but The Lincolnite asked fans whether they would welcome a move or prefer to stay at the LNER Stadium.

The question may also be asked to Imps’ chairman Clive Nates and chief executive Liam Scully on Thursday night (January 13) during the virtual fans forum, which will be streamed live on the club’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Some believe it could be a good move for the club financially and bring in more income, while others want to stay at Sincil Bank for the long-term. There are also concerns about the effect it would have on travel for home and away fans, as well as the impact on local pubs in and around the Sincil Bank area of the city.

The club is fully focused on the here and the now and progressing under manager Michael Appleton. There are also plans, made by The Red Imps Community Trust, to develop and increase the size of the iconic Stacey West Stand, with fans helping fundraise towards it.

A club spokesperson said: “We continue to evaluate all options but must keep in mind that any new stadium would be in phase four which could be tens of years away.”

Lincoln City’s LNER Stadium. | Photo: The Lincolnite

The voice of the fans

Andy Townsend: “By the time a new ground even makes it to the drawing board, myself and many other Imps fans will be pushing up the daises. Having said that, if it does come off it needs to be a proper ground, and not a soulless bowl.

“A ground that generates money seven days a week, and that the football club and supporters can be proud to call home. Meanwhile, I’ll be haunting whatever gets built on Sincil Bank.”

Roz ‘Simpson’ Firth said: “Prefer the Bank, it’s our home and our memories, plus visiting all the new stadiums I feel the fans seem less connected to the play and players, it’s more arena than football field. They’re soulless… Sincil Bank is a family.”

Simon Munton said: “Prefer to redevelop Sincil Bank unless we build a ground like Rotherham’s which has good acoustics. Every other new ground I have been to is soulless, for example Scunny, Chesterfield, Chester and ‘Darlo’.”

Si Tomlinson said: “Catch 22 for the club. We need to get more income out of the stadium on non match days and a new stadium does that. I can’t think of a single stadium I’ve been to with Lincoln where the new stadium has the same ‘atmosphere’ as the old stadium, but they have still been better stadiums (even Donny’s stadium is better than Belle Vue for fans). It will be what it will be but I don’t think anything will come of it in the next five years.”

Rob Beezley said: “Sincil Bank is the heart of the city and is easy for commuting. I’ve been to too many grounds where you have to have a map of England to find it! Develop Sincil Bank, I”m not interested in the Western Corridor.”

Ryan Burwell-Gray said: “The stadium has to be designed with the fans for the fans. A multi purpose place for the club to generate more money than just on match days is key to our growth.”

Sharon Smith said: “I think a move to a new purpose built stadium would be great with modern day facilities that can be utilised for other events which could also provide an income stream for the club.”

Andrew Phillip Chapman said: “My heart says stay at Sincil Bank, it’s a special thing that we have been there so long. My brain says move, we need modern facilities and possible other revenue streams. If we move the match day experience has to be key though, before and during the match.”

A look at how the expanded Stacey West Stand will look. | Photo: Lincoln City FC

Josh Weaver said: “I’d be happy to move as there will be more money to be made. It would be sad to see Sincil Bank turn into houses though. The main thing for me is that I don’t want the new stadium to be a stupid boring bowl like Donny. Some differences in the stands would be nice, maybe with a corner or two still open. Full complete bowls are boring and have no character.”

Emma-Lou Stirlz said: “Stay at the heart of Sincil Bank, give our ground redevelopment. Moving out of town will lose all the true meaning of Sincil Bank.”

Peter Bogg said: “[Stay at] Sincil Bank. You move the stadium, you will close four to five pubs in the centre.”

Carolyn Angel said: “To move would enhance the club financially. It’s fine to be emotional about Sincil Bank, but the club needs to evolve if it wants to succeed.”

Richard Armstrong said: “Move. Sincil Bank is tiny, can’t expand to a decent size, no car parks of decent size which are fit for purpose. Copy Milton Keynes’ (MK Dons) model – superb modern stadium, lots of food outlets, easy access and good toilets.”

Mark Williams said: “Stay and redevelop the Sincil Bank as a move away would have serious impact on businesses and further degenerate that area of Lincoln. Out of town grounds generally don’t work. Lincoln as a strong community club needs to be part of the community in the heart of the city.”

Luke Winter: “The best option would be to buy as much land around Sincil Bank as possible with a view to turning it into parking and other facilities for non match day events. The astro and play zone would be a good start. Could build out the back of St Andrews stand and still have parking space. Big club shop and conference suites would be a good start.”

Steve Donner said: “Stay and develop the ground, it’s possible with some proper planning. Key points would be – proper park and ride service to allow for people to get to the game, a shuttle bus could operate from the field near the South Common if able to buy/lease, better flow of footpaths and access around the stadium easily done with council support and could help restore a little pride into stadium radius houses/streets, full length stand from the Selenity with suites underneath to allow directors’ boxes etc.

“All achievable with the right planning. Different scale, but look at Liverpool, Real (Madrid), Barca, all developing in quietly packed locations. It’s an interesting debate.”

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