Lincoln City In The 1950's P1

Last updated : 04 May 2011 By Neil Hobbs


Everyone regards the Imps as a little team who dwell close to the bottom rung of the football league. If Barnet win and we lose to Aldershot on Saturday could well leave it for a record 5th time with big questions over whether we may return any time soon. But keep the faith we must and as well as remaining upbeat for the rest of this week.  


Here is a surprise for those who feel we are a nothing club with no history or reputation to be proud of. The Mighty Imps are the 30th most consistent side in football league History.  That's right if you include the 20 in the Premier League we would still end up 10th in the second level of the pyramid (now known as the Championship). Having played 126 teams on our travels we are undefeated to one, Aston Villa. In true Imp fashion we have never beaten them either, both games ending in draws.


Blackburn historically are our biggest regular scalp with 9 wins one draw and 4 defeats; if you exclude rivals Donny 46 wins, 28 draws and 28 defeats with 167 scored and 127 conceded. We hold our own against Manure too with 11 wins 4 draws and 13 defeats, scoring 40 and conceding 46. Our worst Bogey side is Burton Wanderers who have beaten us in all 6 fixtures. We have also failed to beat Chelsea in 6, 1 draw, and Middlesborough one draw and one defeat. Of course a 0-3 defeat away at Stamford Bridge would be perfectly acceptable, bringing with it a million quid.


Our Goolden era was around half a century ago, so let's take a glorious look at the facts, stats and heroes from that era.


Our 50’s record

1951-52 DIV3N 1st 69pts

1952-53 DIV2 15th  39pts

1953-54 DIV2 16th  37pts

1954-55 DIV2 16th  36pts

1955-56 DIV2 8th     46pts

1956-57 DIV2 18th  34pts

1957-58 DIV2 20th   31pts

1958-59 DIV2 19th   29pts

1959-60 DIV2 13th    39pts

1960-61 DIV2 22nd    24pts Rel

1961-62 DIV3 22nd    35pts Rel

1962-63 DIV4 22nd    35pts Re-election



The Imps have always been an attacking side who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Granted we’ve also been a few quid and a couple short of the finished article. Never more so than the nineteen fifties when an average of 16,500 topped by an FA Cup record attendance of 23,027 v Preston North End, January 30th 1954; worshipped heroes like the 2 G’s of Andy Graver and Johnny Garvie. In those days they were proud to wear the shirt before going into predominantly manual labour after their careers had finished. The shirt was a bit like a modern day ruby shirt with the red and white stripes extending to the arms and collar. A white sew on badge complete with the red City crest embossed with a white Imp finished off the smart top.


So who were these heroes?


To start the front 5 in our W for wow formation.


Andy Graver a centre forward born to score.

Andy, the gentle giant and gentleman still lives in Lincoln and still regularly attends Sincil Bank.

Started at Newcastle who describe him as one player that escaped the net. Andy was a youngster when he played against Man City in his one and only game for United, but signed for Lincoln City and his career really took off. Lincoln paid only £5,000 for the striker whoscored 6 goals in one game against Crewe. Three hatricks in the 51/52 season  of 36 goals and 24 in 53/54 ensures he gets into the 20 plus club twice. In 51/52 the Imps managed 121 goals in a season as thet stormed their way back into league 2 , winning Division 3 (North).  Leicester City paid £27,600 for Graver, and threw in a player called Eric Littler for good measure making the deal  £29,500 but after scoring in his first two games, he failed to sparkle alongside Arthur Rowley.  Graver had knocked in 107 goals in 172 games for Lincoln, before signing for Leicester then came back to notch another 37.  The returning hero came back to help Lincoln produce the most dramatic escape from relegation in League history (during the 1957-58 season). They were 2nd from bottom with only 19 points from 36 games, when they won their last six games in April 1958 and escaped relegation by one point. Graver ended his playing days at Skegness Town


Highest league scorer in clubs history

144 Between 1950 and 1961.

2 entries in 20 goals club

1951/52 35 aps 36goals

1953/54 40Aps 24 goals

3 hatricks in a season

1951/52 season

6 in one game v Crewe 11-1, 29 September 1951 (Div 3 North)

Matched by Frank Keetley in 1931-32 V Halifax (9-1)


DOUG WRIGHT (29.04.1917 – 12/92) right half and Captain An England international, winning one cap in 1939 against Norway he got a serious leg injury in world war two. Bill Andersson took a gamble giving us a classy leader who led by example. Man Utd had Duncan Edwards we had Dougie. This was an artist in the Hoddle mould mixed with the skill and determination of Paul Scholes. His timing in the tackle, ball control and tactical genius ensured he ran the show supported by probably the finest group of footballers Lincoln folk have ever seen. (1948/49-1954/55 233 aps goals 2) 



JOHNNY GARVIE (16/10/27 –1/96) The other half of the 2 G’s, a right half that tormented defences. Quick, powerful, strong, a creator as well as taker of great goals. Topped the Imps scoring charts 2 out of 5 seasons. (50/51-55/56 184 aps 78 goals)


Roy Finch (07.04.1922). The welsh wing wizard would weave his spell before delivering the sort of service the 2 G’s thrived on. He could turn inside switch from left foot to right and score a few too, netting 14 in one season and even scoring a Christmas day hatrick. (1948/49-1958/59 275 aps 56 goals)


ERNIE WHITTLE (25/11/25 – 8/5/98) the small, stocky, dark and dashing ladies man was a two footed inside forward. He never made it into the 20 goals club although he did manage 19 in 51/52. Is part of the exclusive 3 hatricks club, with 4 timer against Stockport, (49/50-53/54 Aps 145 Goals 62)