Pic: Andy Nunn
NATIONAL League champions and the first Non-League club to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals in over a century – it’s no huge surprise Lincoln City picked up yet more silverware on Wednesday.
The Imps, coming off a dream season that ended in promotion back to the Football League, were crowned the Red Insure Team of the Year at Stamford Bridge as well as picking up the Acerbis Cup Run of the Year.
Paul Farman was the Reusch Goalkeeper of the Year, Sean Raggett was named Sportsbeat Young Player of the Year, Danny Cowley was the FieldTurf Manager of the Year and Alex Woodyard picked up the Mark Harrod Player of the Year.
While many of our awards have plenty of worthy winners, there won’t be many that question why Lincoln’s name was called out as Team of the Year
Since relegation in 2011, City hadn’t finished higher than 13th, let alone get close to reclaiming their place amongst the elite 92.
Following their fantastic campaign with unfancied Braintree Town, Lincoln turned to manager Danny Cowley and his brother, assistant Nicky, to galvanise the club stuck in the Football League graveyard that is the National League.
The Cowleys were already highly-rated due to their success at Concord and then Braintree but even the brothers themselves couldn’t have predicted the season they ended up having.
“We’re delighted, it’s gone better than any of us could have believed and it shows what can happen when you have so many people pulling together and working hard,” said Danny.
“We’re winners and we enjoy winning. We’ll be looking to be competitive next year, we’re very respectful of the league that we’re going into but we are a Football League club.”
As well as amassing 99 points and returning to the Football League, the Cowley brothers orchestrated history for Lincoln City when getting to the FA Cup last eight.
Sean Raggett’s late goal at Turf Moor that shocked Burnley will live long in the memories of not just Lincoln fans, but all Non-League followers.
Arsenal may have proved a step too far for the Imps but the scale of their achievement was made clear by the fact that they were the first Non-League team to reach the quarter-finals in 103 years.
Non-League’s loss is the EFL’s gain as the Cowley brothers and Lincoln look to challenge again in League Two – and who would bet against them?
“It’s needed Non-League people to get us back into the League and we’re very proud of that,” Danny said.
“That’s testament to the staff and the players, and for a lot of us this will be our first experience of the Football League.
“You’re only as good as your players and they’ve been absolutely first-class, and we’re forever thankful for that first opportunity we had as managers of Concord Rangers ten years ago.
“They’ll always have a special part of our development and we’re very fortunate to be here.”
And standing alongside his assistant and brother Nicky, Danny spoke of the bond the pair share that has seen them reap such great rewards so far.
He said: “We’ll look to stay together, we know we’re only half as good if we split up and it’s a real privilege to accept this award because there are so many people to credit for us getting to this point.”