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Lincoln City : 1884-1915 : Pre-War

By Nathan Jackson
December 1 2005

1884 This was the year that the club was officially formed, however, the club itself actually dates back to the early 1860’s when staff from the local biscuit factory would play against teams from all over Lincolnshire. This continued in this year although there were now plans to involve the club in the football league.


1886-1887 – The club progress on 2 fronts, in the FA Cup, they managed to make it to the last 16, not bad considering there were 126 teams in the competition that season. The Imps were drawn to face none other, than Glasgow Rangers but the Scots comfortably beat the Imps 3-0, this still remains as the club’s best FA Cup run. City also win the Lincolnshire Senior Cup for the first time.


1889-1890 – Lincoln again make the 5th ground of the FA Cup, however, this time they were beaten by the Manchester United of the day, Preston North End. City won their first league trophy when they beat off stiff competition to win the Midland Counties League.


1891-1892 – Lincoln become the first Lincolnshire side to turn professional and prepare for their first every League season that followed the next year. City also won the Lincolnshire Senior Cup again.


1892-1893 – City set 2 landmarks this season. Lincoln become the first side to have City incorporated into their name and they also become founder members of what is now, the Championship. The other teams in the division are Darwen, Grimsby, Ardwick, Burton Swifts, Northwich Victoria, Bootle, Crewe, Burslem Port Vale, Small Heath, Sheffield United and Walsall T Swifts. City finish 9th, winning 8 (all at home) of their 22 games whilst losing 12. Strangely enough, Bootle were the team relegated because they resigned from the league, despite finishing 8th.


1892-1893 – In an expanded league of 15 teams, the Imps finish 8, winning 11 of 28 games. Middlesbrough Ironopolis and Northwich Victoria are the two teams relegated, like Bootle before them, they had resigned from the league. City shared the division with several teams that are now in the Premiership, League winners Liverpool, Woolwich Arsenal, Middlesbrough Ironopolis and Newcastle United.


1893-1894 – For the only time in the Imps’ history, they went through the entire season without drawing a game. City won 10 and lost 20 of their 30 league games as they finished 13th out of 16. Bury won the division that year. City shared the division with a team called Newton Heath, a team that are now known as a club some of you may have heard of, Manchester United.


1894-1895 – City announced plans to move to Sincil Bank, a new stadium in the middle of the City. Walsall Town Swifts are relegated via non-re-electionand replaced with Loughborough.


1895-1896 – City moved to Sincil Bank and opened it with a nice local derby against Gainsborough Trinity. However, City have a torrid season and avoid relegation by just 4 points. Liverpool again win the division whereas Burslem Port Vale, Rotherham Town and Crewe Alexandra are all relegated.


1896-1897 – A thoroughly miserable season for the Imps as City finish rock-bottom, however, despite finishing 8 points ahead of the Imps, Burton Wanderers were relegated. Notts County win the division


1897-1898 – City have a slightly improved season, finishing 14th. No teams were relegated this season.


1898-1899 – City continue to improve and finish 12th out of an extended league of 18. Blackpool and Darwen were relegated. Manchester City are champions


1899-1900 – Again, the Imps improve, finishing 9th, exactly 18 points off promotion and above relegation. The Wednesday win the league after winning every single home game. Luton Town and Loughborough are relegated.


1900-1 – Another improvement saw City finish 8th. In a strange occurrence, New Brighton Tower are relegated despite finishing 4th, their fellow relegation sufferers are Walsall.


1901-2 – This season is official the best in the clubs history. City finish 5th  in the 2nd Division (as it was known then), their highest ever position in the football league structure. City also secured their final 5th Round Appearance in the FA, where they lost out to Derby


1902-3 – City’s rise halted and they finished a less than glamorous 10th, despite being the favourites for the title that season. Doncaster Rovers are relegation whereas Man City win the title.


1903-4 – The slide continues as City finish 12th, just 8 points off bottom place. Stockport are relegated and Preston North End become champions.


1904-5 – A slight improvement saw City finish 9th, but this was over shadowed by another cup run which ended in the last 32 where a Billy Meredith goal gave Manchester City a 1-0 victory.


1905-6 – The division is again expanded, this time to 20 teams and the Imps finish 13th, no-one are relegated but Bristol City win the title.


1906-7 – City have a terrible season, finishing 19th out of 20 and only by the virtue of re-election, are they allowed to stay in the league. Burslem Port Vale and Burton Albion are relegated. Nottingham Forest are promoted.


1907-8 – Another terrible season sees the Imps relegated for the first time along with Stoke City. Lincoln won just 21 points out of 38 games and finished rock bottom. Bradford City won the league.


1908-9 – City win two trophies, not only winning the Lincolnshire Senior Cup for the 3rd time, but also winning the Midlands League, meaning promotion back into the league.


1909-10 – A mediocre season sees City finish 15th. 19th placed Grimsby are relegated and Manchester City win the league.


1910-1 – City’s return to the league lasted just 2 seasons as the Imps are relegated again after finishing bottom of the league, winning just 24 points from 38 games. West Bromwich Albion win the league.


1911-12 – City were founder members of the new Central League and became it’s first champions. City were promoted to the league.


1912-13 – A relatively good season for the Imps saw them finish 8th out of 20 teams. No teams are relegated, but Preston North End become champions.


1913-14 – Another miserable season see the Imps finish 19th again with only Nottingham Forest below them. However, no clubs are relegated and Notts County win the league.


1914-15 – Another unremarkable season sees City finish 16th. Derby win the league and no teams are relegated. This was the last season for 4 years due to the Great War (or World War 1 as it’s known now).

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