Rival Analysis: Lincoln profile
Every football fan loves a “Cinderella” story. And PAOK’s opponents tonight definitely qualify as such a story. Lincoln from Gibraltar, have already written a brilliant story this season by qualifying for a European compeition for the first time. Paokfc.gr’s Rival Analysis column presents the story of the Red Imps.
Although Gibraltar has one of the oldest football federations in the world, founded in 1895, naturally influenced by English rule in the country, one can not say that it has ever achieved much. This is perfectly normal, considering that the country only has 34,000 inhabitants. But football is life in the tiny nation.
This is the only way to explain the fact that the country has a domestic championship with 12 teams, but also three other smaller categories. Lincoln is the team that managed to record Gibraltar’s biggest football success in European competitions.
The top side in the domestic league in recent years, this summer they managed to become the first team from the small peninsula nation to reach the group stage of a UEFA competition, an unthinkable achievement, considering the fact that in the team’s squad you can find, among others, an electrician, a police officer, a librarian and a civil servant, while the club also had to go through four qualifying rounds to achieve their goal.
The club was founded on November 30, 1976 by Charles Polson and Charles Head, with the squad initially consisting of a police team and players from other local teams. The club first started playing in the fourth division as a youth team, and then gradually moved up to the first division in 1984. The team takes its name from Lincoln City FC, based in England, because a former English Lincoln coach gave them jerseys and was their main sponsor.
Lincoln has become the dominant force in the domestic league. Between 2003 and 2016 they won every Gibraltar honour with 14 consecutive titles, and made history, as together with Riga, they are the European teams with the most consecutive championship titles. They have won a total of 25 championships, 18 Gibraltar Cups and 11 Super Cups.
The team’s colors are red and black, and its club emblem features a red devil, hence the word «Imps» in the name, from the devils that are depicted on the city’s Cathedral which is its most important attraction.
Lincoln is coached by 60-year-old Englishman Mick McElwee, who took over the technical leadership of the team last season. The squad consists mainly of footballers from Gibraltar or Spain. The captain, Roy Chipolina, stands out, but also the 27-year-old Argentine midfielder, Bryan Gomez.
Victoria Stadium was built in 1926, has a capacity of only 5,000 spectators, and hosts all the matches in the national championship, the national team, but also the local music festival.
It is built next to the airport and is always covered by the shadow of the Rock of Gibraltar.
Th team’s progress so far this season
Lincoln started its European journey from the 1st qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. They qualified by beating Fola Es from Luxembourg after a 2-2 away draw and an emphatic 5-0 victory at Victoria Stadium.
They then met Cluj from Romania. They succumbed to Romanians’ superiority and with two defeats (1-2 and 2-0) said goodbye to the Champions League, and were then relegated to the Europa League. Slovan Bratislava was the next challenge. The Slovaks were superior in the first match in Gibraltar, prevailing 1-3, and with a 1-1 draw at home they went through at Lincoln’s expense.
Lincoln then continued in the Conference League Play Offs. Her opponent was Riga. The scorws were tied at 1-1 draw after normal time in the second leg. However, in extra time of the match in Gibraltar, the hosts found the way to victory, scoring twice to qualify and write footballing history.