P 2 Lincoln City Managers 1892-1947

Last updated : 14 May 2011 By Neil Hobbs


Scunthorpe may be Lincolnshire’s sole League yo-yo club and Grimsby Town may have enjoyed their time in the old first Division in the thrilling thirties but the Imps became the Lincolnshire G-force to be reckoned with in the Fab fifties.  If we  look back at the history books, the passion for football is as much a part of a yellow belly's fabric as it is in the North East.  Despite the Sincil Shambles Tilson is not even close when it comes to the worst manager in our history and we owe so very very much, warts, prawns and all to John Henry Strawson and Geordie lad Bill Anderson and of course the cavaliers that met at the Monson Arms on the High Street in the Summer of 1884.


During the course of our history the Imps have had 40 managers in one variation or another. Seven have been caretakers and eight held the post of Secretary-Manager, a curious job & title that saw the day to day running of the clubs administration combined with the organisation and training of the team only. The Directors would then pick the team and hire and fire (8 after a cup exit against the cods in 1885) accordingly with the Secretary having just the one vote in the selection process. Our first manager Joe McClelland, appointed in 1936, still had to submit his team to the directors for approval but with a 43% win rate they tended to trust his judgement. 

Our first secretary manager, John Henry Strawson, who also played for us in our first season, had two spells at the club. His first between 1884 and 1896 saw indifferent form, not surprising given he had all the balls in the air. He did the books found and trained the players and was even instrumental in building the ground and organising the move to Sincil Bank to celebrate us getting in as founder members of the second division. His second spell (1907-19) also saw him wield some magic as he continually kept us in the League by doing deals to ensure we won re-election meetings time and again. Strawson`s eloquence was renowned; perhaps we owe our very existence today to John who ensured we did not waste away like so many sides in those early formative days of football. The Football League rewarded him with a long service record in 1919, noting that he had even refereed for 7 years between 1888 and 1905. He also returned after the defection of David Calderhead Senior to Chelsea in 1907 after we had impressed in an FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge. David`s son would also manage us in yet another time of turbulence after World War 1. 

After Strawson George Frazer lasted a season (P 42 W 9 D 9 F 24) David Calderhead Junior 3 years (P 118 W 37 D 28 L 53) and Horace Henshall 3years (P 126 W 50 D 25 L 51). We would then hire the artful, the crafty, the one and only Harry Parkes. Our last secretary Manager would be our best one, with the Brummie (Ex WBA & Coventry) defecting from Chesterfield in 1927. He would bring us our first title in 31/32 a year after they had taken the same Division 3 North Title. We would come second and fail to be promoted after a controversial 2-3 defeat at their place sealed the title in front of 20,092. Parkes was an astute manager who signed Allan Hall (1931-33 Apps : 76 ; Goals : 68 ) and Johnny Campbell 1933/34-38/39) Aps 198(0) Goals 110 as well as numerous others as the club returned to Division two and financial stability. In his 376 games we won 178, drew 76 and lost 122 with him winning 
47.34% of his games. After being relegated two years after our triumph he was given a further two years at the helm before leaving for an ill fated season at Mansfield and two at County. 

McClelland then became Lincoln`s first true manager after an impressive spell at Halifax. He had been their first manager too, literally. He was present at the formation of the club in 1911 and even chipped in part of the £1 to incorporate it. He took them from the Yorkshire Combination League to the Football League and even layed the first turf at their Shay stadium. He left in 1930 and spent 6 years away from the game, until The Imps re ignited his passion for the game. Joe`s impact at Lincoln was solid though unspectacular and blighted by the Second World War. Joining in June 1936 his third season would be interrupted by the outbreak of the conflict, though he did run the interwar side and his record was a solid one. Under Joe The Imps played 168 Games, won 73, drew 29 and lost 66 with a 43.45 % win rate. He would relinquish control in 1947 to be replaced by the greatest manager Lincoln City has ever had, Bill Anderson, perhaps the one true Lord Of The Imps.

John Strawson Sep 1892-Feb 1896
P 97 W 31 D 11 L 55
WIN %AGE 31.96

Alf Martin Feb 1896-Mar 1897
P 35 W 9 D 2 L 24
WIN %AGE 25.71

James West Mar 1897-Sep 1900
P 106 W 34 D 22 L 50
WIN %AGE 32.08

David Calderhead Snr Sep 1900-May 1907
P 246 W 86 D 51 L 109
WIN %AGE 34.96

Jack Strawson Aug 1907-May 1919
P 228 W 62 D 49 L 117
WIN %AGE 27.19

George Fraser Sep 1919-Apr 1921
P 42 W 9 D 9 L 24
WIN %AGE 21.43

David Calderhead Jnr Apr 1921-May 1924
P 118 W 37 D 28 L 53
WIN %AGE 31.36

Horace Henshall May 1924-Jun 1927
P 126 W 50 D 25 L 51
WIN %AGE 39.68

Harry Parkes Jun 1927-May 1936
P 376 W 178 D 76 L 122 
WIN %AGE 47.34

Joe McClelland Jun 1936-Jul 1947
P 168 W 73 D 29 L 66
WIN %AGE 43.45