Lincoln G Force Of The Fab 50`s
....... and Graver, Garvie, Finch, Whittle and Wright set up Fortress Sincil with attack deamed the best form of defence. Those were the days when the W formation put the WOW factor into football.
Everyone regards the Imps as a little team who dwell in the shadows of the bottom rung of the football league. By and large that has been the case with location, managers and investment blamed in equal measure. Indeed bar Anderson, Parkes, and Taylor we have had little to shout about.
Well here is a surprise for many; The Mighty Imps are the 27th most consistent side in football league History. And that includes those 20 who currently dwell within the golden arenas that come with the Franchise of greed! Having played 126 teams on our travels we are even undefeated to one of them, the mighty Aston Villa. In true Imp fashion we have never beaten them competitively either, both games ending in draws, though a great friendly result not that long ago saw Stefan Oakes in all his glory. Blackburn historically are our biggest regular scalp with 9 wins one draw and 4 defeats.
We hold our own against Manchester United too with 11 wins 4 draws and 13 defeats, scoring 40 and conceding 46. Our worst Bogey side is Bolton Wanderers who have beaten us in all 7 fixtures. We have also failed to beat Chelsea in 6, just the 1 draw, and Middlesbrough one draw and one defeat. Of course a 0-3 defeat away at Stamford Bridge in the Cup some time soon would be perfectly acceptable, bringing with it a million quid.
Our 50`s record
1951-52 DIV3N 1st 69pts
1952-53 DIV2 15th 39pts
1953-54 DIV2 16th 37pts
1954-55 DIV2 16th 36pts
1955-56 DIV2 8th 46pts
1956-57 DIV2 18th 34pts
1957-58 DIV2 20th 31pts
1958-59 DIV2 19th 29pts
1959-60 DIV2 13th 39pts
And the Sudden shocking demise
1960-61 DIV2 22nd 24pts Rel
1961-62 DIV3 22nd 35pts Rel
1962-63 DIV4 22nd 35pts Re-election
We Imps you see have always been an attacking side who wear our hearts on their sleeves. Forget this fashion for 4-5-1, 2 -3-5 was the way to play in the famous red and white stripes in the 50's heyday. Granted we`ve also been a few quid and a couple short of the finished article but we more than held our own playing with pride and pomp and splendour. This was never more so than the nineteen fifties when an average of 16,500 topped by an FA Cup record attendance of 23,027 v Preston North End, January 30th 1954; worshipped heroes like the 2 G`s of Andy Graver and Johnny Garvie. In those days they were proud to wear the shirt before going into predominantly manual labour after their careers had finished. The shirt was a bit like a modern day ruby shirt with the red and white stripes extending to the arms and collar. A white sew on badge complete with the red City crest embossed with a white Imp finished off the smart top.
Here is a look back at some of those 50`s heroes - the front 5 in our W for WOW formation.
Andy Graver a centre forward born to score.
Andy, the gentle giant and gentleman still lives in Lincoln and still regularly attends Sincil Bank, started at Newcastle who describe him as one player that escaped the net. Andy was a youngster when he played against Man City in his one and only game for United, but signed for Lincoln City and his career really took off. Lincoln paid only £5,000 for the striker who scored 6 goals in one game against Crewe. Three hatricks in the 51/52 season of 36 goals and 24 in 53/54 ensures he gets into the 20 plus club twice. In 51/52 the Imps managed 121 goals in a season as we stormed our way back into Division 2 , winning the Division 3 (North) title.
Alas we took the gold when Leicester City paid £27,600 for him, and threw in a player called Eric Littler for good measure making the double deal £29,500. Then mysteriously after scoring in his first two games; Andy failed to sparkle alongside Arthur Rowley. Graver, who had knocked in 107 goals in 172 games for Lincoln before signing for Leicester, then came back to notch another 37. The returning hero came helped Lincoln produce the most dramatic escape from relegation in League history (during the 1957-58 season). Second from bottom with only 19 points from 36 games, we won ourlast six games in April 1958 and escaped relegation by one point. Graver ended his playing days at Skegness Town
Record of the Greatest Living Imp.
Highest league scorer in clubs history
144 Between 1950 and 1961.
2 entries in 20 goals club 1951/52 35 aps 36goals & 1953/54 40Aps 24 goals
In 1951/52 season got 6 in one game v Crewe 11-1, 29 September 1951 (Div 3 North)
Matched by Frank Keetley in 1931-32 V Halifax (9-1)
3 hat tricks in a season
DOUG WRIGHT (29.04.1917 - 12/92) right half and Captain An England international, winning one cap in 1939 against Norway he got a serious leg injury in world war two. Bill Andersson took a gamble giving us a classy leader who led by example. Man Utd had Duncan Edwards we had Dougie. He was an artist in the Hoddle mould mixed with the instincts and determination of Paul Scholes. His timing in the tackle, ball control and tactical genius ensured he ran the show supported by probably the finest group of footballers Lincoln folk have ever seen. (1948/49-1954/55 233 aps goals 2)
JOHNNY GARVIE (16/10/27 -1/96) The other half of the 2 G`s, a right half that tormented defences like a toreador . Quick, powerful, strong, a creator as well as taker of great goals the bow legged pace merchant topped the Imps scoring charts 2 out of 5 seasons. (50/51-55/56 184 aps 78 goals). See full JG profile HERE
Roy Finch (07.04.1922).
The welsh wing wizard would weave his spell before delivering the sort of service the 2 G`s thrived on. He could turn inside switch from left foot to right and score a few too, netting 14 in one season and even scoring a Christmas day hatrick. (1948/49-1958/59 275 aps 56 goals)
ERNIE WHITTLE (25/11/25 - 8/5/98) the small, stocky, dark and dashing ladies man was a two footed inside forward. He never made it into the 20 goals club although he did manage 19 in 51/52. Is part of the exclusive 3 hatricks club, with 4 timer against Stockport, (49/50-53/54 Aps 145 Goals 62)
Ernies full tribute is here HERE