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Our Trust are entering the New Year with what we think are some good ongoing initiatives for our members and Imps fans generally to enjoy. I’ll touch on some of them here.

One of our priorities is to add to the club’s commitment to Fan Engagement. The Imps figure very highly in national surveys in how supporters are thought of and we like to think we contribute to that. We have had a stand in the Fan Village for the last few seasons now where we run competitions, stock Lincoln City-based books, display heritage items, have collectable programmes on offer, and much more. Our attractive but getting-increasingly-weary RICT marquee will be replaced in the next few weeks by our new Trust ‘pod’ which is under construction. It’s a purpose-built permanent structure that will not only be better for what we usually get up to but will open up many more opportunities in how we support the lovely pre-match people milling around before kick-off.  The pod is being provided by a fantastic local company who we will recognise and thank profusely on its opening day and in the months to come after that.

Our charity partner for 2024 will be our friends at Lincoln City Foundation. We already work closely with Martin Hickerton and his admirable team, but we will make more formal and more effective our support of them over the next 12 months. Our board will decide in the next few days which of the many LCF projects we will help with and how. They will be our fourth annual charity partner after the British Heart Foundation, the Sincil Foodbank, and MIND, and we look forward to building on our already rewarding relationship.

At the end of last year our Trust Nominations and Governance group embarked on our Future Planning campaign. That all sounds very posh, and basically means we’re looking for new people to get involved. One of the roles we need to fill is mine. I’ve been the Elected Supporter/Director for three-and-a-half years now, and with just shy of 6000 members we need to offer the role to someone new who can represent our members on the Imps board. That’s the point of a well-run Trust and an open football club…anyone can become a director if they meet some criteria and are passionate in taking our fans’ views to the boardroom table. It’s a position that should be made available every two or more years so that we have a healthy turnover of fans having their say. We’ve had some excellent potential candidates already and you’ll see some new faces involved with the Red Imps Community Trust in the coming months.

 Finally, although we’ve got lots more I could describe to you, we keep developing our heritage remit via our online museum and other projects. Having recognised the birthplace of the Imps at the original Monson Arms site we are now about to acknowledge another historic Lincoln City site in the city centre. Watch out for that. The future of our club is important but so is its history, and we’ll do our best in both directions.

 Happy New Year to you all and here’s to us all making our club the best it can be in 2024.

What’s in a word? There’s some well-used positive and negative ones in football. There are words in the sport that we love, like ‘emphatic victory’ or ‘promotion’ or ‘free burgers’. Of course ‘loss’ is a dead cert for the latter category. 
A home defeat for example is of course one of those. Sadly in this social media age there’s people around that would call that single slip-up horrendous, a disgrace, and claim that the club is riven with problems. That’s more than enough about them though. Let’s try and have some reasoned debate. Another sort of loss is the unexpected absence through injury of your star strikers. Ben House and Tyler Walker anyone? Get well soon fellas.
I was a bit surprised to read the minutes of the recent Lincoln City board meeting published on the club website where it said the club had made a pretty substantial loss and that it will be rectified by input by investors. I think that wording in the financial report unintentionally does those governing the club a little bit of a disservice. It might lead and probably already has to supporters thinking this is a reactive process and, on seeing that the sums don’t stack up, very generous people then agree to make sure they do. That’s not quite how it happens from where I’m sitting at the boardroom table.
Each year the club staff put together a forecast for the twelve months ahead. It’s based on all the income that club as a business will generate along with everything that is envisaged will have to be paid out. Then there’s an assessment of what additional monies will be needed to make the team more competitive bearing in mind we’re playing at a very good level. That’s where our in-house investors confirm in advance if they are prepared to cover that, and to date they generously have. 
Months later when the final accounts come out we see if the forecast was adhered to. Over the last few seasons it pretty much has because of astute financial controls, and the desire to avoid significant debt. So ‘losses’ in this context really means ‘planned investor income’ because that’s what’s been agreed months and months ago.
What’s good too is that Lincoln City and in fact Lincoln, the city itself, have been very attractive to people who wish to involve themselves in a football club. Clive, Liam, and many others have generated this by the work they do and to no lesser extent by the type of people they are. In fact it would be quite a loss if we didn’t have them on board.

The Trust aims to work with other LIncoln City organisations as you know. One example is to promote the services provided by the Red Imps Away Travel Section. Led by the indomitable Chris Ashton, our very own Andy Porter is also one of the travel team. They do an excellent job.
Mrs Bradley and I fancied the Wycombe away fixture and so it was we all set off at 9.45am last Saturday. It turned out to be a top day out and I can thoroughly recommend this way of following the Imps on the road. 
On the vulgar subject of cost, you can’t beat this means of travel for value. Rather than drive yourself and be frustrated in hold-ups, rant at other motorists, get lost four times, not find the ground, and arrive an exhausted nervous wreck still looking for somewhere to park, for less than the cost of the fuel you can sit in comfort and relax.
Stopping for a coffee at Cherwell Services was a stretch-your-legs opportunity for a chat with the others about the game and the club generally. As Trust chair it’s great to get fans’ views at all times. They’re a knowledgable bunch these well-travelled Imps. 
We resisted the temptation to buy sandwiches or similar which would have meant taking out a detached-house mortgage or signing up to the sale of two or more vital organs.
Chris, Alan Long, and the gang have travelled the highway and byways of England for many years. They know local knowledge-type facts whatever bit you’re passing through. And so it was, as advised, we saw loads of red kites above us as we approached High Wycombe. They inhabit the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and at six feet plus wingspan are a sight to see. 
What isn’t an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty however is the crammed industrial estate Adams Park finds itself at the end of. They have their Chairboys Fan Village outside the ground which isn’t bad, but I think our LNER one is better. 
All in all it was a good day. It had to be with a 98th minute equaliser. The next Travel Section trip is to Burton Albion on 3rd February so have a look on www.redimpstrust.co.uk and maybe join them? See you then if you do.

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