The great escape

Our dad used to take us to Sincil Bank to see Lincoln City play in the then Second Division of the English football league – every other Saturday afternoon at 3pm. We also sometimes went to see the Reserves on the alternate Saturdays. The biggest event that happened in that time of growing up with ‘The Imps’ was the great Escape of 1958.

It all began on a snowy day in March. Lincoln were playing Cardiff City. Already relegation was looming, and Cardiff were leading 3-0 at half-time. What a relief it was for us when the referee abandoned the game at that stage; we had another chance.

With 6 games to go, City were at the bottom of the table and relegation seemed certain. In theory they had to win all their remaining games to have a chance of staying up.

Records show that they then beat both Barnsley and Doncaster 3-1, Rotherham 2-0, and then Bristol City 4-0. We started to believe it could happen. Then a 1-0 win against Huddersfield.

On the last day it was between Lincoln and Notts County to go down with Doncaster. And it was the replayed game with Cardiff. What a game it was. We were euphoric as Cardiff were convincingly defeated 3-1 – the Imps now seemed invincible. Forwards Roy Chapman and Ron Harbertson, recently signed by magical manager Bill Anderson, were our heroes. Then the news came through that Notts County had failed to win. Lincoln had escaped!

It might have been a cup final, the crowd jumped over the low wall and rushed onto the pitch to congratulate the players. Us too.

Anything seemed possible after that.

Lincoln City FC Official Archive


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