1. What is the connection between legendary Northamptonshire County Cricket Club scorer Leo Bullimer and Lincoln City?
Bullimer played in goal for the Imps between 1895 and 1897 under his birth name of Leon Antonin Boullemier. He adopted a shorter version of his name in later life because he was fed up with having to spell it for others.
'Frenchy' Boullemier was a very interesting character. He was the son of a French émigré who worked as a ceramics artist at Mintons in Burslem, and became a first class football referee when his playing days came to an end. At the same time, he became scorer for Northants and remained in the role for more than 50 years. His brother Lucien made more than 150 appearances for Burslem Port Vale before himself becoming a renowned ceramics artist. Lucien invented 'Boumier ware', still very collectable today.
2. On the subject of cricket, which City goalkeeper became a test match umpire?
Arthur Jepson, who made 58 appearances for the Imps between 1948 and 1950. Notably, he made his City debut in the 4-3 win over West Ham on 18 December 1948 in which Jock Dodds scored a hat-trick past three different goalkeepers.
He also played 392 first-class matches for Nottinghamshire between 1938 and 1959, and is one of only nine bowlers to take 1,000 wickets for the county. As per Phil Neale several decades later, Jepson missed the start of the 1949-50 season due to his cricketing commitments. He captained Notts in 1955 and retired with one first-class century to his name. He was the second Nottinghamshire cricketer to play in goal for the Imps after Notts County legend Albert Iremonger in 1926-27.
When his playing career ended, Jepson converted to an umpire and joined the county circuit in 1960. He umpired four test matches between 1966 and 1969 in addition to three matches at the inaugural Cricket World Cup in 1975. He officiated in his last first-class match as an umpire in 1985 at the age of 70, and continued umpiring NatWest Trophy games until 1987.
3. What is Billy Ashurst's claim to Lincoln City fame?
He was the first Lincoln City player to go on to be capped by England, winning 5 caps (0 goals) between 1923 and 1925. Defender Ashurst made 24 appearances for the Imps in 1919-20 season before moving on to Notts County in June 1920 for a sizeable £1,000 fee.
The other players to appear for England after leaving Lincoln are:
Harry Roberts 1 cap, 1 goal in 1931.
Tony Woodcock 42 caps, 16 goals between 1978 and 1986.
Mick Harford 2 caps, 0 goals in 1988.
John Fashanu 2 caps, 0 goals in 1989.
4. How did the discovery of a diary re-write Lincoln City history?
The diary belonged to striker Allan Hall, who for many years was believed to have scored 42 league goals as City took the Third Division North title in 1931-32. However, the diary revealed that Hall only scored 41. The erroneous goal stemmed from the 2-1 defeat at Chester on Christmas Day 1931 in which general news reports allocated City's goal to Hall; however, Hall himself noted that the goal was a George Whyte penalty.
Another example of inaccurate reporting from that era.
5. Did Lincoln City sign the wrong man? Who was he?
In June 1899, City signed outside-left John Walker from Heart of Midlothian. Walker was a very significant footballer, being the first black player to appear for Lincoln, and at the same time becoming the first black professional to appear in both the English and Scottish Leagues.
He was apparently the son of a West Indian docker working in Leith, where Walker was born in 1877. Starting his career with Leith Primrose in 1897, he joined Hearts from Leith Athletic for £50 in 1898 and immediately forced his way into their first team. However, he was released after just three appearances in the 1898-99 season and joined Lincoln in the summer.
There is some speculation that City signed the wrong John Walker, late of Heart of Midlothian. Around a year earlier, Hearts had sold a different John Walker – this one an established Scottish international - to Liverpool, where he was still playing. It does seem odd that Lincoln should have signed an unknown player with such alacrity. In those days before political correctness, Lincoln's John Walker was nicknamed 'Darkey' Walker – was it possible Lincoln did get it wrong?
What is certain, is that ill-health and a heap of expectation made it difficult for City's new winger to settle. He made his debut on the opening day of the 1899-1900 Second Division season in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough at Sincil Bank, and all seemed well. Unfortunately he lost his place after a 5-2 defeat at Grimsby in November and never played football again. Sadly there were already tell-tale signs of serious ill-health, and he returned home to Leith where he died of consumption on 1 August 1900, aged 22.
6. Which club record is held by Paul Farman?
The most appearances in a season by a goalkeeper (58 in 2016-17).
7. What was unusual about Edwin Bentley, who was City's groundsman for many years in the early part of the twentieth century?
Although employed specifically as groundsman, he also played for the club when required. Having joined the club in 1897, Bentley played regularly for the reserves in a variety of positions including in goal, and actually made ten appearances for the first team over a period of eight years. He made two appearances at left back in 1901-02 when City achieved their highest ever league placing of 5th in Division Two; three at left back and full back in 1905-06; and five more at left back in 1907-08 when City finished bottom of Division Two and were not re-elected. He also made seven more at full-back in 1908-09 as City won the Midland League title to win back their League place at the first attempt.
In 1911 he took over as trainer as well as groundsman, a dual role he continued well into the First World War.
Please refer to an excellent post by EddieDillsworth on page 1, which provides some more detail.
8. What amounted to £671,000?
The amount of money received in 2016-17 from live television broadcast fees (£639,000 for the four FA Cup ties and £32,000 for the eight National League games shown).
9. Which City midfielder won the FA Youth Cup with Arsenal?
Nicky Nicolau, in 2001. Arsenal beat Blackburn 6-3 on aggregate.
10. Where is this? What unlikely feat did City pull off there for the second time in three weeks?
The Drill Field, the now-vanished home of Northwich Victoria.
On 12 December 1987, City were leading bottom side Northwich 2-1 at Sincil Bank when the visitors equalised with two minutes remaining. Straight from the kick off, Bob Cumming ran the length of the pitch before slipping the ball inside to Phil Brown, who scored to win the game 3-2.
Incredibly, they did it again in the return game at Northwich on 2 January 1988, which is the date of the photograph. City were 2-0 down this time well into the second half, and goalkeeper Nigel Batch was incapacitated and unable to kick. With Steve Buckley forced to take goal kicks and cover for Batch, late goals from Brown, Clive Evans and John McGinley turned it around to give City their second unlikely 3-2 victory over the Vics in three weeks.
For many years, the Drill Field was believed to be the oldest football ground in the world in continuous use (from 1875) and was certainly the oldest ground in England to have hosted League football (between 1892 and 1894). It was demolished in 2002 and is now the site of a housing estate.
Just a thought regarding Question 3. Ashurst was the first former Imp who had played in the Football League to win an England Cap. Jack Robinson who was first choice goalkeeper from around January 1889 to the end of the 1890-91 season won 11 full caps for England.