Our RICT Virtual Coffee Morning on 28th March featured special guests Grant Brown (GB), Gavin Gordon (GG), and Simon Yeo (SY). Those attending had an entertaining time hearing stories from their careers. Following is a summarised write-up of the morning in case you missed it.

Question – What are your favourite moments in football?

GG – There’s so many. I was with Cardiff City at the Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff of course, for our play-off final and it was the day after the Imps played there. That was a great weekend that I’ll never forget.

GB – It’s not so much individual moments that stick with me…rather it’s the feeling of togetherness after a win I enjoyed and still miss. An example of that after we won at Manchester City 1-0 to win 5-1 on aggregate. The emotion and elation at such times stays with me and will do.

SY – Me too. I loved the banter, the laughs, and the emotion. Like after that night when we won at Scunthorpe in the play-offs. You’ll remember that Rob because we all went to Ritzy’s back in Lincoln and you were at the bar!

Q – What about managers you played for and your partners on the pitch…fellow strikers or defenders?

GG – I was in digs in St Catharines in Lincoln when I first arrived but then Terry Fleming invited me to move in with him at Sleaford. Lee Thorpe and Colin Alcide lived there too. We spent lots of time together. Lee was a quality striker and we built up almost a telepathic relationship on the pitch. He’d flick it on and I knew where to be and vice versa. Junior Agogo used to supply the crosses and he was a good friend too. Of course he’s sadly no longer with us. Colin Alcide was great and a lovely guy. He was very underrated as a striker.

GB – I played under eleven different managers and I can honestly say they were all OK with me. You have to adapt when a new gaffer comes in. They all have their strong points and you need to work hard and gain their respect. For instance, Allan Clarke was great with the strikers. I honestly haven’t got a bad word to say about any of them. Steve Wicks didn’t get long but he was a really nice guy. Some got longer than others of course. I even played in three consecutive games once and there was a different manager in each one

SY – A bad player/manager relationship is no good to anyone. Did you see Kevin Ellison’s reaction when he scored against his former manager the other day? He’d been frozen out so he couldn’t resist it. Gary Taylor-Fletcher was superb to play with. He scored great goals and he created chances for me. We were completely different types of player but we gelled really well. I came to Lincoln from Hyde United to work under Keith. He didn’t care much about discipline unless we went too far. It was like the Crazy Gang with those lads but we all respected Keith so didn’t do too many really mad things. Not that many anyway. 

Q – Best goalkeeper behind you?

GB – Mazza was really talented. He struggled a bit in the early days but really came good under Keith. Andy Gorton was top class even though he wasn’t great in terms of training. Matt Dickens was talented and was eventually sold for a good fee. John Vaughn and Barry Richardson were good and very competitive. 

GG – I still see clips of Baz in the battle of Moss Rose. That was something else!

Q – What’s it like when a player like Ben Sedgemore comes to your club after you’ve battled against him…almost literally in that incident?

SY – One minute a player can be your ‘enemy’ and the next thing is you’re playing in the same team with him. That’s football.

Q – What’s it like playing against a team you’ve always supported?

GB – You’re more motivated if anything. You’ve probably got family and friends in the ground. I experienced this playing for Leicester at Sunderland in the early days.

GG – I support Man City and I was injured when we played them. I would have loved to play against them.

SY – I’ve played against Stockport County who I’ve always supported. I didn’t need any more motivation against them because I was always really motivated to do well.

Q – Chairman John Reames was manager once and he did well. What makes a good manager?

GG – I liked playing for John because he told me I’d be first choice striker. Some senior players weren’t too impressed he’d appointed himself as gaffer. It’s a specialist job. I can fully understand why he did it though. He was paying for most things and he’d felt let down a bit in some cases. Why shouldn’t he do it himself? Any manager needs to get over to you how he wants the team to play and he needs to get the team spirit right. The buzz in the dressing room is important.

GB – A good budget helps too. Keith was a master on a low budget. You need a lot of luck too. It’s different now with head coaches having specialist roles all around them. Stats, diet, and all of that.

Q – What do you think of the game now especially VAR?

SY – If I played now I’d make the most of every bit of contact I got in the penalty area. I didn’t when I played. VAR is farcical how it’s used.

GB – I’m a fan of VAR but not how it’s used at the moment. We see ridiculous offsides. You can’t celebrate when you’ve scored either in case it’s ruled out. It should be for clear and obvious mistakes not fine margins. The game’s not the same any more.

GG – Clubs aren’t clubs any more they’re big business. Local lads used to come through the ranks and often get in the first team. Now the big clubs just hoover up all the talent and then spit them back out when they’re not needed. I’m glad I played when I did.

GB – People are going off the Premier League because the football is getting boring. I much prefer the Championship.

GG – Fitting a microphone on the ref is a good idea. They do in rugby and players have much more respect for the officials. There’s be a real issue with bad language though.

Q – What do you think about the Lincoln City side this season?

GG – They’ll definitely make the play-offs. Obviously there’s been disruption with injuries….they’ve had a lot of bad luck with those

.GB – With such a fixture list even a player with a minor injury can miss 4 or 5 games. It’s a small squad too. They’re missing some really key players like Jorge Grant and Joe Walsh.

SY – It looks like it’ll be fated to be City v Pompey in the play-offs at the moment. All teams have bad patches and you’d have taken the play-offs if you’d been asked at the start of the season. Away from the bottom would have been very acceptable.

GB – The team has been a joy to watch. Obviously playing out at the back can produce a few mistakes. They’re bound to happen. The play-offs look likely but they need to get some momentum back. Fingers crossed. They’ve been very very good whatever happens.

GG – It’s certainly a good platform for next season. City are missing the players who helped bring about the good passing football at the moment. In a way fans being absent might help them while they’re struggling until they get going again

.GB – I was used to there being no fans. When I played there were hardly any in the ground sometimes!         

Write up courtesy of Rob Bradley. The Red Imps Community Trust would like to place on record their thanks for Grant Brown, Gavin Gordon and Simon Yeo for giving their Sunday morning up.