Imp For A Day – Lincoln City’s Day Out in London

This story was originally published on London Multimedia News

In 1992, Arsenal travelled to Wrexham – the whole population of which, at the time, could have fit into the Gunner’s Emirates Stadium – for a third-round tie in the FA Cup.

Arsenal had won the league the year prior, the team enjoying what would be their first tastes of glory in the modern era with stars like David Seaman, Ian Wright and Lee Dixon.

However, on swapping North London for North Wales on an early January evening, the magic of the Cup proved too much for the Gunners; Wrexham ran out 2-1 winners, in what was dubbed the greatest cup shock of all time by ESPN.

Football Association

Now, with the gulf between leagues seeming ever bigger, fans of National League high-flyers Lincoln City crowded into a unique pub on Holloway Road, eager to take in the atmosphere preceding their quarter-final tie against Arsenal, a stage no non-league team has reached in over a hundred years.

Budweiser turned a pub on the road, a mile or so from Arsenal’s ground, into The Lincoln Imp for the afternoon, complete with complimentary beers, local food, an official press release featuring Graeme Le Saux, and the original pub’s landlady, Avril Pickard.

The Lincoln Imp, aka The Edward Lear, on Holloway Road

Soon after midday, red and white shirts spilled out onto the road. Every time a fan bus rolled by on its way to the stadium, cheers would erupt as it passed. The loudest point of the day came when a lone, unfortunate Arsenal fan happened to walk by in his replica kit. The Lincoln fans, to their credit, were welcoming enough. Though Graeme was nowhere to be found.

Lincoln’s eventual 5-0 drubbing by the Gunners does no credit to their extraordinary run. Our piece, however, does credit to the fans’ dedication, even in the face of Premier League opposition.

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