Non-League lessons to shoot your business into the Premiership By Lincoln City fan, David Russell A few weeks ago, in the FA Cup 3rd Round, Lincoln City visited Ipswich Town. The football fans amongst you may know that The Imps (Lincoln) drew 2-2 on the day after being the better side through much of the game and leading with just 5 minutes to go. Better still, in the replay, City beat the Championship side 1-0 with a goal in the last minute. It was a sell-out with 9000 Lincoln fans backing the team. What does this have to do with business in general and our industry in particular? Well, it’s all about building something special and creating success through momentum. As a born and bred Lincoln lad, who used to be at Sincil Bank (Lincoln’s ground) every other Saturday from the age of about 6 or 7, I travelled to Ipswich for the game and it turned out to be a fantastic experience. I don’t get to see City that often these days and there have been some dark times over the past few years as the team dropped out of the Football League around 5 years ago. Declining support, a team that was under-performing and a feeling that nothing good was going to happen resulted in a fairly miserable outlook. Then, last summer, something happened that has changed everything. The Club brought in a new management team – Danny and Nicky Cowley – brothers who had done well at another non-league team for a short time, but who were essentially at the start of their managerial careers. Young, very enthusiastic and with some new ideas, the brothers have set about transforming Lincoln City both on and off the pitch and it’s been a remarkable few months. The Club Chairman said recently that he couldn’t believe how they have changed everything in such a short time. Lincoln is now challenging for promotion and regularly getting attendances much greater than many teams in higher leagues. Back to the Ipswich game, where Lincoln had 20 www.thiis.co.uk
close to 5000 supporters fill the ground. It was the highest number of supporters for an away team at Ipswich for 20+ years – and that from a non-league team. The BBC covered the replay and so the Imps have now made a good deal of money from the Cup run and TV coverage – a very nice bonus for a Club that has been on a financial roll-a-coaster in the recent past. At one point during an interview, one of the BBC pundits said: “There’s something really special happening at this Club.” There is, but is it a miracle? Not really. City winning the Cup would have been a miracle. The transformation is mainly down to hard graft,
Brothers Danny and Nicky Cowley have done a great job in creating a buzz at Lincoln with some simple steps that can help to create a real buzz in any business too.
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