MARSHALLING SUPPORTERS AWAY AFTER TRAVELLING WITH WINGS
Feedback on the atmosphere at matches at the LNER Stadium is always universally positive: it is certainly greatly appreciated by the club’s players and by its management team. They also heap praise on the support that they receive at matches away from home: fans travel everywhere in great numbers. They come from far and wide, using various different methods of transport. One of the options open to them is the coach service provided by The Red Imps Association in conjunction with the club. On average, about 10% of supporters attending away games also buy coach tickets.
In 1969, the Travel Section was set up to co-ordinate the arrangements. It was founded by a couple of the Association’s stalwarts, Bill Stacey and Bill Robson, with the assistance of an enthusiastic teenager. Wings, a firm based in Sleaford, where Bill Stacey lived, was used to provide the coaches.
Much has changed over the years. There has been some sadness. In 1985, Bill Stacey was at Bradford City in his usual role with the Travel Section when his life was taken in the tragic fire. The other Lincoln fan to die that day, Jim West, had also journeyed on one of the coaches and taken his customary seat next to Bill for the match. The naming of a stand at Sincil Bank after them is a truly fitting tribute. The part played by the Red Imps Community Trust in assisting the funding of an extension to that stand is to be commended.
The Travel Section has continued to evolve in a positive manner as the years have gone by. The Wings business was absorbed into Sleafordian Coaches. The firm currently providing the transport is Marshalls of Sutton-on-Trent.
Not everything has changed, however: one thing has remained constant. The youngster who was involved from the outset has retained his enthusiasm, still playing a hugely important part to this day: that teenager is perhaps more accurately described nowadays as the one and only Chris Ashton.
Long may the club and the Travel Section continue to work together for the benefit of those supporters wanting to travel by coach from the city as part of the exceptionally large following at all away matches. The journey is an important part of the complete experience of an away game: please enjoy it!