Lincoln City, who trained at the West Ham United training ground before their FA Cup match with Arsenal, have gained promotion to the Football League Two after spending six years adrift outside the league. The team has spent the most time of any club in the Football League without appearing in the first division, and while the team took at least one Premier League scalp during their run to the quarter-finals, winning 1-0 at Burnley back in February, a run up the table to the Premier League seems only possible in the daydreams of supporters or a dedicated effort by someone playing Playstation or Football Manager on their computer.
While Lincoln City has spent a majority of its history in the Football League, they appeared to be stuck in the Conference after five uninspiring years before the Cowleys took over last summer. The team flirted with relegation to the Conference North during the 2012-13 season, avoiding a further relegation on the last day of the season. Despite another poor run of form, Lincoln managed to finish 14th in 2013-14 and 15th in 2014-15. Last year they finished in mid table mediocrity last season, placing 13th in the 24 team Conference Premier.
The Cowley brothers, Danny and his assistant Nicky, grew up in Essex as West Ham fans, and started their coaching careers managing a team of refugees. West Ham blogger HeadHammerShark, who writes the brilliant The H List, went into detail on his relationship with both the Cowley brothers and their father who coached his youth team. A vast majority of people outside of Essex lower division football teams would have had no idea who Danny and Nicky Cowley were before Lincoln’s amazing FA Cup run this season, and while he is now known as a hot coaching prospect from the non-league ranks, that success can be considered fleeting.
Congratulations to all at Lincoln City Football Club on Promotion back to the Football League, Graham Taylor & Keith Alexander are Smiling pic.twitter.com/jcedxtmJrv— Stewart C.Bailey (@Stewpot) April 22, 2017
The late Keith Alexander never moved up the league ranks beyond Peterborough United despite taking little Lincoln City to four straight Division Three/League two playoffs. It remains to be seen if the Cowleys will stay at Lincoln or if a bigger club comes calling. The coaching carousel at the end of the season might see them tempted to move on. But for now, everyone in Essex can celebrate a local boy succeeding, even if the success is at a place like Lincoln City. And while wishing anyone the hot seat at West Ham would be a little cruel, a number of West Ham fans would probably like to see them coaching the Hammers some day.