Lincoln City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. The team compete in EFL League One, the third tier of the English football league system.
Nicknamed the “Imps” after the legend of the Lincoln Imp, they have played at 10,120-capacity Sincil Bank since their move from John O’Gaunts in 1895.
- Full name: Lincoln City Football Club
- Nickname: The Imps
- Founded: 1884
Lincoln City FC History
Football in the city of Lincoln had been prominent since the 1860s although not strictly connected to the modern day club. After the disbanding of Lincoln Rovers (formerly Lincoln Recreation) in 1884, Lincoln City FC was formed as an amateur football association, and the first game Lincoln played was an emphatic 9–1 victory over local rivals Sleaford, on 4 October 1884. Originally they played at the John O’Gaunts ground, provided by wealthy local brewer Robert Dawber.
Lincoln turned professional in the 1891–92 season, and soon helped to form what was then the Second Division in 1892–93 season, as an increasing number of clubs wished to join the Football League. Their first game in the Football League was a 4–2 away defeat to Sheffield United on 3 September 1892. Their first home game was also against Sheffield United, this time, however, Lincoln won 1–0. Due to Dawber’s death in 1895, Lincoln moved from the John O’Gaunts Ground to Sincil Bank.
They failed re-election to the Football League in 1908. They won immediate re-election after winning the next year’s Midland League, and would repeat this feat after failing re-election again in 1911 and 1920. Founder members of the Football League Third Division North in 1921, they won promotion as champions in 1931–32, but were relegated two seasons later. Crowned Third Division North champions again in 1947–48, they were relegated the next year, but would remain in the second tier for nine seasons after again winning the Third Division North title in 1951–52. Two successive relegations left them in the Fourth Division by 1962, where they would remain until Graham Taylor’s title winning campaign of 1975–76. The next would oscillate between the Third and Fourth division for the next 10 years, missing out on promotion to the Second Division in 1982 and 1983.
Lincoln were relegated to the Fourth Division at the end of the 1985–86 season, and the year after that they became the first team to suffer automatic relegation from the Football League. They regained their Football League place automatically via promotion as champions of the Conference at the first attempt. In the 1997–98 season, Lincoln were promoted from the Third Division (previously the Fourth Division), but were immediately relegated back on the next season. On 3 May 2002 Lincoln entered into administration. Lincoln City were relegated again from League Two on the last day of the end of the 2010–11 season after a home defeat to Aldershot Town.
In the 2016–17 season, Lincoln City under Danny Cowley were promoted as champions back to the Football League. In the 2016–17 FA Cup, Lincoln beat Championship side Ipswich Town, in a replay, after progressing past Guiseley, Altrincham and Oldham Athletic, before defeating Championship leaders Brighton and Hove Albion at Sincil Bank to make the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time since the end of the Victorian era. On 18 February, Lincoln went on to beat top flight side Burnley 1–0 to historically go through to the FA Cup quarter-final, the first time a non-league club had progressed to the last eight since 1914. In the quarter-finals, they were defeated 5–0 at Arsenal.
On 6 February 2018, Lincoln beat Chelsea U21s in the semi-final of the 2017–18 EFL Trophy, taking them to Wembley Stadium for the first time. They went on to win the Final against Shrewsbury Town on 8 April 2018. The winning goal was scored by Elliot Whitehouse in the 16th minute and was the only goal of the match. On 12 May, Lincoln drew 0–0 with Exeter City in the first leg of the League Two play-offs. In the second leg, on 17 May, Lincoln lost 3–1.
On 5 April 2019, Lincoln announced that Nettleham Ladies FC would be rebranded as Lincoln City Women from 1 June. Lincoln were confirmed as the champions of League Two on 22 April 2019, after a 0–0 draw against Tranmere Rovers, having been top of the table since 25 August 2018. Promotion from League Two represented Lincoln’s first season in the third tier since the 1998–99 campaign.
On 9 September 2019, manager Danny Cowley announced his departure to join Championship side Huddersfield Town, having guided Lincoln to two promotions in his previous three seasons alongside brother and assistant manager Nicky. On 20 September 2019, Lincoln appointed Michael Appleton as their first team coach. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Football League matches were suspended on 13 March 2020 with Lincoln in 15th place. Clubs voted to end the season in June 2020 with final league positions decided on a points per game basis with Lincoln subsequently being placed in 16th.
In the 2020–21 season, Lincoln finished the season in 5th place, qualifying for the play-offs. Lincoln faced Sunderland in the play-offs, the first match fans could attend since the COVID-19 pandemic which Lincoln won 2–0. In the second leg, Sunderland took a 2–0 lead to level the tie, however, Tom Hopper scored to send the Imps into the play-off Final. On 30 May 2021, Lincoln faced Blackpool in the 2021 EFL League One play-off Final at Wembley Stadium. Lincoln took the lead after 50 seconds thanks to an own goal from Ollie Turton, however, Blackpool hit back with two goals from either side of half time from Kenny Dougall as Lincoln missed out on promotion.
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