On the 22nd February 2020, 22 Junior Imps who had been successful in their application, took over key roles in the Lincoln City Vs Gillingham Game.
The Junior Imps are an exclusive membership scheme for Lincoln City fans under 17 where they receive numerous benefits such as access to discounted tickets and exclusive events or parties. For the past 3 years, the Lincoln City Foundation have worked in partnership with the Lincolnshire Co-op to run a Junior Imp Takeover Day, where Junior Imp members are given the opportunity to apply for some exciting roles within the club for the day, to get a key insight into different careers in sport, as well as meet their heroes.
This year 100s of Junior Imp Members applied for roles such as First Team Player, First Team Manager, Commentator, Physio. Our team worked hard to whittle them down to 22 lucky applicants, Elizabeth Welch, Marketing Manager for the Foundation tells us more. “Selecting the winning applications was a really tough process as we had lots of amazing applications. The winning applications were the ones who put that extra bit of effort in and you could tell really wanted to learn a lot from the experience.” The winning applicants, with the help of the parents and schools, were surprised at school with the help of club mascot Poacher and First Team Player, Neal Eardley.
The day itself was a huge success, with the 22 youngsters really getting stuck into their roles and learning all the tricks of the trade from their mentors. Harry Pennington was awarded first-team player for the day and tells us more about his experience,
"I felt really happy to get the first team player and really enjoyed the day. My favourite part of the day was meeting all the players." As first-team player, Harry was given the opportunity to spend the morning with the first team, warm up with them and even lead them out onto the pitch, a moment which left his parents bursting with pride.
Dad, Paul Allison’s two boys were both involved in the day as commentator and Media Manager. “Both boys saw and experienced more than they dreamed possible and enjoyed unique opportunities to carry out roles around their heroes. We all found the Foundation staff so incredibly supportive and enthusiastic throughout, and they genuinely went out to ensure the youngsters all had an amazing time.
Working with the media manager, Alfie filmed the players arriving at the ground, helped edited the video and load it onto the club's social media - he was buzzing at the amount for fans who had seen HIS video within minutes. After filming the warm-ups, he then spent the game in the press box (complete with EFL lanyard and press pass) updating the Junior Imps' Twitter feed for the match.
With announcer, Alan Long, Jack got to go absolutely everywhere - SLO meeting in the executive boxes, fan zone, dressing rooms, media suite, even the away fans' end to meet the visiting supporters.
The highlight was definitely pitchside welcoming the teams out before the game and at half time, and also making all the announcements during the match itself to almost 9,000 fans! I was so impressed by how much everyone put into the day and how much the youngsters all got out of it - well done!”
Charlotte Hornsby, the Operations Manager for the Foundation, played a key part in not only organising the day but also the running of the event.
“What a fantastic Junior Takeover Day, not just for all our Junior Imps and Coop Junior member but for all the Lincoln City staff team and the parents as well. In the young people, we had some great characters, lots of engagement and so many memorable moments which we hope they will remember for a long time to come and that we have inspired these children to consider a variety of alternative roles in sport."
"We can’t thank everyone involved enough for making it such an amazing day, including Lincolnshire Coop for their continued support. Bring on Junior Imp Takeover Day 2021.”
For the staff at the club, it is a great opportunity to share knowledge with the next generation, club CEO Liam Scully tells us more.
“After the success of the last two years, Junior Takeover Day has become an important part of the club calendar which we all look forward to and Saturday’s event exceeded everyone’s expectations.
It excites us all to meet the youngsters and it was no exception last weekend, you can just see by the look on their faces how much it means to be part of their football club. But not only that, the young people get stuck into every role they’re selected for and there is no doubt they are a credit to themselves, so to be able to bring the younger generation of Imps’ supporters even closer to the club is a pleasure for us all.
I think it’s safe to say we’re already looking forward to the next one.”
To find out more about becoming a Junior Imp Member visit: https://www.lincolncityfoundation.com/junior-imps-club-1
Check out the photo's from the day in the gallery below.