Lincoln City FC

The Lincoln City fanbase have been sharing tributes and memories of a devoted supporter who lost his life at the age of 47 after battling cancer.

Michael Waterfall worked at Lincoln County Hospital and was a lifelong fan of the Imps, following them home and away for a number of years.

He witnessed relegations, promotions, trips to Wembley, the true highs and lows of a football fan were etched in Michael’s memory.

Michael tragically lost his life on Thursday, April 29 after a short battle with cancer, at just 47-years-old.

In a post from Lincoln City’s Supporter Liaison Officers, Lindsey Warwick called Michael “a lifelong imp who always had time for a chat and a smile.”

Lindsey continued: “He will be truly missed by many. Our condolences and thoughts go out to his family and friends at this sad time.”

Michael was a much-loved figure at Sincil Bank.

Hannah Creedy commented in tribute of her co-worker Michael, saying: “I have known and worked with you for over 10 years and have never seen you without a smile on your face. I hope you are now at peace.”

Many more supporters joined in to share memories they have on the terraces and beyond with Michael, who was clearly an immensely popular figure among the Imps fanbase.

Amanda Clayson said: “RIP my friend and fellow Imp”, while Alan Long, one of the club’s Supporter Liaison Officers, said: “Huge Imps fan who will be missed by us all at Lincoln City FC. RIP Michael.”

Fran Miller commented: “Sincere condolences to family and friends. Always sorry to lose a fellow Imp.”

Lincoln City will be hoping to honour Michael with promotion to the Championship, as the 3rd placed Imps prepare for a huge match away at 2nd placed Peterborough United, knowing a draw will secure a play-off spot and a win will keep slight hopes of automatic promotion alive.

Over 1,400 Lincoln City fans renewed their season ticket for next year within 24 hours, a new club record.

The Imps’ renewal window for season tickets ahead of the 2021/22 campaign went on sale on Wednesday morning, and around 25% of season ticket holders renewed within the first day.

It is the most season tickets to be sold in one day in the club’s history, with more than 1,400 pledging their seat for next campaign.

Fans have had to watch Lincoln from home for the last year due to coronavirus lockdown meaning that stadiums must be empty for football matches.

The Imps’ following has never faltered during this period, consistently having among the highest numbers in League One for iFollow match passes, where EFL clubs broadcast their games live.

It is no doubt down to the loyal support of the club, but also the unbelievable achievements of the squad and manager Michael Appleton during this season.

Appleton has guided Lincoln City to 3rd place in League One, all but guaranteeing a play-off spot and even having an outside chance of automatic promotion to the Championship.

If they do pull off the unthinkable, it would be the first time since 1960 that the Imps would play in the second tier of English football.

A spokesperson for the club said: “We have been blown away by our supporters once again following the release of season memberships yesterday morning.

“To have around 25% renew within the first 24 hours is incredible and we are really grateful for their support.

“The fans have backed us in huge numbers via iFollow all season and we look forward to welcoming them back in person at LNER Stadium ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.”

Lincoln’s crucial match with second-placed Peterborough United will take place at 3pm on Saturday, May 1, with victory leaving the Imps just five points behind Posh with a game in hand.

Peterborough will be promoted from League One with a draw, and would become the second side to win promotion after playing Lincoln, following Hull whose fate was sealed after a 2-1 victory against Appleton’s Imps last weekend.

Grimsby Town have been relegated from the English Football League with two games to spare, after a 3-2 defeat away to Exeter City on Tuesday.

The Mariners have been in and around the League Two relegation zone for the majority of the season, and their fate was sealed after the club’s 22nd league defeat of the season.

A dramatic game at St James Park saw Grimsby fall behind, go ahead, have a man sent off, and then concede an 89th minute winner to confirm relegation to the Vanarama National League.

It ends a run of five seasons in the EFL, having only managed to reach as high as 15th in the table all season in what was a turbulent campaign.

In December 2020, then manager Ian Holloway resigned via Twitter following rumours of a potential takeover at the club, as well as the links the current owner has with a convicted fraudster.

He was replaced by Paul Hurst, back for his second spell in charge, but he could not steer Grimsby to safety.

In January, they became the first club in the football league to be fined for breaching COVID-19 guidelines, after cancelling fixtures that could have gone ahead.

Tensions boiled over on April 10, when forward Stefan Payne was sent off for headhunting his own team mate, Filipe Morais, during a 1-0 defeat at Bradford City.

All this culminated in disappointing results on the pitch and now means the Mariners will play non-league football next season.

Elsewhere in Lincolnshire, Lincoln City tightened their grip on a League One play-off place with a 1-0 victory away at Shrewsbury Town.

Jorge Grant’s 16th goal of the season was enough to earn the Imps all three points, and leave Michael Appleton’s men needing just one point from their final three matches to confirm a spot in the play-offs.

It marked an incredible record for the Imps, who secured a 13th away league win of the season, a club record in the EFL.

Incredibly, Lincoln could still finish inside the top two and secure automatic promotion, but to do that they would have to win all three of their remaining games, including a crunch match with second placed Peterborough United this weekend, and hope Posh lose both of their matches too.

Scunthorpe United look set to remain in League Two after Grimsby’s relegation, as despite losing 4-0 to Newport County on Tuesday, the Iron find themselves six points clear of the drop zone with two games to go.

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