Imps Could Rename Ground

Last updated : 07 April 2008 By Tom Crocker

Chairman Steff Wright has admitted that the club may consider selling the name of Sincil Bank to a private sponsor. The move has already raised money for Accrington Stanley, York City and Boston Utd, and it could be that in the near future Lincoln will be trotting out at 'The Lindum Stadium', or 'Jackson Building Centres Bank'.

"We are always exploring the possibility of increasing income through sponsorship" said Wright. He went on to list the names of clubs mentioned above, and stated it'd be as easy to rename the stand as it would be to name a new stadium.

However Wright did say that any move wouldn't progress without the approval of fans who would be consulted on the change.

The club has played at the ground since 1894, so any move would break 114 years of tradition. It currently has an overall capacity of 10,127 and is known affectionately by fans as "The Bank".

The largest stand at Sincil Bank, which holds approximately 5700 people, is the Coop stand. The stand is located on the Sincil Bank street side of the ground and is home to the majority of the Imps' support, although the block nearest the I.M.P.S/South Park stand is given to visiting supporters. There used to be uncovered terracing on 'the Sincil Drain' side, but due to ground improvements the terracing was cordoned off in August 1994 and demolition work soon began. The stand, which was at the time the first cantilever construction at any football ground in England - was officially opened on March 4 1995. The stand cost around £1 million to build and meant that Sincil Bank had been completely redeveloped from its previous state in the 1980s. Over the years the stand has been known under three different guises, depending on sponsorship contracts. These names could possibly be those that the club considered for the whole ground. It was first known as the Linpave Stand and, in 1998, was sponsored by Simons Construction. It was named the Lincolnshire Co-operative stand in 2001, but is more commonly known as the Co-op stand.

Opposite side of the ground the St Andrews Stand is situated. Constructed in 1987, the structure replaced the old St Andrews Stand, which was named after the street that runs all the way from Lincoln City Centre to Sincil Bank. The old stand was constructed in 1932 (replacing a small predecessor) and was made out of timber. It had a total capacity of 2,250, comprising of a seated enclosure and a small bank of terracing at the front. By the mid-1980s, however, the entire stadium was in a state of decline and a renovation project began when the stand was demolished in the close season of 1986, meaning that City had a building site on one side of the ground the year they were relegated from the League.

The new stand opened in November 1987 but was smaller in size than originally envisaged, partly due to City's drop into Conference League football, albeit for one short season. It seats 1700 people and also holds the press box and Directors' enclosure. The stand is known around the ground as 'The Library' due to the fact it holds most of the clubs 'less vocal' fans.

The Stacey West stand is the traditional 'Lincoln fans' end' of Sincil Bank. Built in 1990, the Stacey-West Stand is named after two lifelong supporters (Bill Stacey and Jim West) who died in the Bradford Fire. The Stacey-West Stand first had areas of terracing at either end with a large area of seating in between so that supporters had the choice of sitting or standing at games. However, when The Imps were promoted to the old Division Two in 1998, the stand was made virtually all seater with just a small terraced area. This was because a number of large clubs in Division Two, such as Manchester City, Stoke City and Burnley were expected to bring large travelling support to Sincil Bank. The club then handed the traditional 'home end' to the away supporters, much to the disgust of home Imps fans. When the club was relegated back to the old Division Three in May 1999, the club fitted 2,000 extra seats to replace the Stacey-West Stand terracing which meant that Sincil Bank, for the first time in the history of Lincoln City, was an all-seater stadium.

After popular demand the stand was given back to home fans in 2002. This meant that visiting fans were moved back to their previous match day home, in the corner of the Co-op stand nearest to the I.M.P.S. Stand. The Stacey West end is the spiritual home of many Imps fans who remember sitting behind the goal thanks to it being slightly cheaper to go into during their childhood.

The I.M.P.S. Stand was built in 1992 and houses 17 executive boxes, Stikers bar for supporters and companies using the executive boxes and the Centre Spot, a fans' bar that welcomes both home and away supporters. It replaced the old South Park stand, which consisted of a small seated area and a terrace. The South Park stand was a rusty wooden contraption that famously suffered a 'collapsed wall' during a cup tie with Stoke in 1976.

In 1958 the ground played host to a visit from Queen Elizabeth II. A major rock concert was staged at the ground in May 1966 which featured The Who, The Kinks and The Small Faces. Sincil Bank has played host to many sports including local cricket finals, boxing, wrestling, athletics, cycling, lawn tennis, and American football.

In 2006, the international pop band Westlife and other supporting acts including Liberty X, Blue's Lee Ryan and Journey South performed in front of over 13,000 fans at Sincil Bank which the biggest concert ever to take place in the city of Lincoln. Since a Bonfire Night 2006 live event has been held, and though on a much smaller scale (over 5,000 spectators), it featured several "top" artists such as Lee Ryan once more, former Steps star Lisa Scott-Lee's brother Andy Scott Lee, Icelandic outfit Nylon and 2ToGo of X-Factor fame.

As well as these events the ground has witnessed many emotional moments for fans. Who could forget waiting on the pitch in 1998 for the result of the Torquay v Leyton Orient game, with City having moved into an automatic promotion spot? Or perhaps more poignantly May 2nd 1988 when the Imps famously secured promotion from the GMVC at first attempt?

Sincil Bank and Lincoln City go together like Bonnie & Clyde, Ant & Dec or even England and Wembley. It's not possible to have open without the other, and despite the financial benefits to the club, LCM will support any movement to stop the grounds name being changed. This season money has bought the League 2 title. Money bought Boston's tradition of playing at York Street. In Italy money buys referees and money even bought Wimbledon and turned them into the McDons. Money should not be allowed to buy Sincil Bank, the name or the ground.