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Cans & Megabus Away Guide: Everything Sunderland fans need to know about their trip to Lincoln

Imps, a steep hill and a cathedral that incited the wrath of the actual Devil - here’s everything you need to know about Sunderland’s trip to Lincoln on Saturday.

Danny Roberts

Who Are These Jobbers?

When choosing a nickname, sports teams often opt for a beast or item that will strike fear into the opposition. The Blades - yeah, good. The Eagles - love it. The Grizzlies - class. The Gunners - yes! The Toffees - weird vibes, but cool. The Cottagers, erm... yeah, cool, let’s go with it.

Lincoln City in all their wisdom chose the imp to be their symbol. An annoying, little goblin sent by the Devil to raise Hell (GET IT?!?!) in 14th-century Lincolnshire. I know what you’re asking, “why would Beelzebub, the King of Darkness, Mephistopheles, be so narked with the city of Lincoln?” well, turns out old Satan has a real penchant for interior design.

Lincoln City v Oldham Athletic - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

So fuming was the big man at the finished design of Lincoln Cathedral that he sent down two imps to tear sh*t up. Unfortunately, the D-man’s plans were foiled (they tend to be in these stories, one day I’d like to hear something from the Devil’s perspective, but I guess we can’t have everything in life) as an angel turned up and managed to petrify one of the imps, as it was aiming rock at its head.

You’ll also find that there’s not much loyalty in the imp world, as the remaining goblin scarpered leaving his pal to live in Lincoln for the rest of eternity. So, like some kind of weird village cult, the people of this fine city have adopted the imp as their city mascot and forms the football club’s crest.

The imp is also a very poignant icon for a football club that once hired Chris Sutton as their manager who, we can all agree, is a tall goblin.

Coca Cola League Two: Northampton Town v Lincoln City Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

What’s The Ground Like?

You know what every ground in the country needs? An air raid siren every time the home side gets a corner. Lincoln are somewhat underappreciated pioneers in this regard as the rest of the footballing is take up this shit hot idea.

The Imps have been calling Sincil Bank home since 1895 and, after a series of renovation, the stadium of 2019 has very strong League One vibes. Akin to Bristol Rovers, the hierarchy at “Sinny Bank” have collected a series of different stands, moulding them into some semblance of a full stadium.

However, I am reliably informed that despite this hotch-potchery, the Imps supporters do generate a lively atmosphere and, given the proximity to the city centre, you can enjoy an excellent view of the cathedral from your seat.

Sunderland supporters are housed in both the Stacey West Stand behind the goal and, presumably, a small section of the Bridge McFarland Stand which hug one side of the pitch.

Lincoln City v Peterborough United - Checkatrade Trophy Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

How Do I Get There?

For fans of idiot-proof driving instructions, you are going to love the route to Lincoln.

Hop on the A19 and A1(M) until you reach the quaint hamlet of Markham Moor. From there join the A57 heading east and following the signs for Lincoln. Take Carholme Road into the city passing the university and taking a right onto High Street, then a left onto Scorer Street and the ground will be signposted.

There is no parking available at the ground but you better believe there’s plenty of street parking. If you get lost put LN5 8LD into your sat nav.

After you railway fanatics have indulged in connecting at Doncaster or Newark North Gate, you’ll arrive at Lincoln train station slap bang in the city centre. It’s a 15-minute walk from the ground, just walk in a straight line along Sincil Bank and you’ll find its namesake stadium.

Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?

Lincoln is nice - it’s just a nice place to be. You’ll walk around it and think “yes, this is nice”. You’ll see a big cathedral, you’ll see a river, you’ll a lot of oldie worldie buildings. Yes, this is very, very nice. So, obviously you’ll want to spend your time in a fanzone outside Sincil Bank, right?

If you do happen to be at a loose end around Lincoln City’s illustrious home, you can enjoy a delicious local ale in the Golden Eagle on High Street. However, the real action is in the city centre where all the pubs have lovely, kitsch names such as The Dog & Bone (this actually looks pretty legit mind, and regularly racks up awards) on John Street.

Do you want to go in the pub voted best in Lincoln by the good readers of Lincolnshire Live? Of course you do! Get yourself in The Horse and Groom Pub on Carholme Road. Maybe you don’t want to drink in the best pub in Lincoln voted by the good readers of Lincolnshire Live, maybe you prefer a student union overlooking a marina, then The Swan on Campus Way is for you.

If you want another charming pub overlooking the river then get yourselves in The Royal William IV on Brayford Wharf. Enjoy a nice ale within walking distance of the train station at The Treaty of Commerce on High Street or be one of those craft beer guys at The Crafty Bottle on The Strait.

The Golden Eagle

Is There Anything Worth Doing Around Here?

Of all of Sunderland’s gallant opponents in this hellscape division, Lincoln does find itself in a rather lovely part of the world. And, if there was anywhere you could spend a relaxing weekend away, it would be here.

The first stop is naturally Lincoln Castle, which houses actual copies of the Magna Carta - in your FACE Milton Keynes! The city also has a proud military history and has been the home of the RAF for over 100 years, celebrate this by visiting the International Bomber Command Centre, a pleasant visitor centre and peace gardens to commemorate those who fought in World War II.

Enjoy a thick slice of contemporary culture by swinging by the Sam Scorer Gallery in the Cathedral Quarter and admiring the painting and sculpture created by local artists. For all you enormous nerds, you’ll be pleased to hear that The Linc-Con 2019 takes place at the Engine Shed on Saturday with all your favourite superheroes in attendance.

Lincoln Castle Lincolnshire Grossbritannien Photo by Andre Poling/ullstein bild via Getty Images

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