Despite being 4,324 miles away from LNER Stadium, David Johnson holds the Imps close to his heart after stumbling across the side whilst playing popular video game series Football Manager following our 2016/17 FA Cup run.
The self-confessed City fanatic expressed how he only got into the sport around 15 years ago when playing in an indoor football tournament in California. It was after that tournament when David was shown video mixtapes of football skills, and in his own words, he was mesmerized by the game.
“I grew up in Houston, Texas but I moved to Missouri when I was a Freshman and baseball was a gigantic part of the Midwest, it was that and then American Football.
“My school didn’t have a soccer team, I couldn’t have named one soccer fan I knew when I was at school,” explained the American.
“I always thought soccer was boring but watching Thierry Henry around the 2006 World Cup changed my mind and I couldn’t stop watching different videos of players doing crazy skills, it was mesmerizing, I owe my buddy that for showing me them videos.”
So how can someone go from watching the 2006 World Cup to supporting the Imps? David explained how the 2016/17 FA Cup run first drew his attention to the Lincolnshire club: “I had never heard of Lincoln City until the club’s FA Cup run.
“Prior to that I followed Manchester United because of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, but I always had a nagging feeling that I didn’t deserve to be a fan of them.
“Every time they came here, I would watch them, I had MUTV subscriptions but if I spoke to someone it would always be 'of course’ I supported Man United, despite the fact I knew so much about the club, I wasn’t following them for the glory."
I couldn’t even get access to Championship or League One football out here, until I found out about iFollow, there is nothing apart from Premier League coverage. So, when Lincoln faced Burnley and Arsenal, I thought the story of the club was cool so I would continue to look up how they did, and it snowballed from there.
If you add the global exposure of the Imps (thanks to the FA Cup coverage) and the club’s namesake of President Lincoln, you have a reason to follow the Imps as David says.
“The real introduction to the club came through Football Manager, a friend I have in England recommended the game to me. I was trying to take a small club from a lower league up to the Premier League.
“I thought I'd try to find the most American sounding club; I went through eight tiers of English football to find that team, I noted down a list of potential clubs to pick, and funnily enough it came down to Boston United and Lincoln City.
“The reason I picked Lincoln City was because I didn’t want to be the Pilgrims, but with Abe Lincoln and Lincoln City, it just clicked. The jerseys were okay, and everything just made sense with Lincoln.”
David went on to speak about how Lincoln soon went from being a second team, to the club he follows with a passion.
“To start with, I would check Twitter, the club website and EFL websites to check the score because I didn’t know about iFollow. It carried on like that then one day I was playing Football Manager and it just clicked, I said to myself, ‘I think I’m a Lincoln City fan’ that was it.
“I questioned if I was being disloyal to Manchester United, but it was at the stage where if I had five minutes to spare, I would be reading about Lincoln City. It was the beginning of this year where I found out about the iFollow platform, so I subscribed, I dived into it properly.”
The American Imp continued by expressing his passionate feelings towards the club; “I am just a random dude, but here I am sat at the table of the club that owes me nothing, literally nothing. I have been able to speak with David (Lowes) and Clive (Nates), I feel infinity connected to Lincoln, more than I did in 14 years with Man United.
“It is totally different, there is so much more passion supporting Lincoln, there is a connection there, something more special than what it was like with Man United. I can speak to 30 people on Twitter about Lincoln and feel more part of something than with 1,000 Manchester United fans from 1,000 different cities.”
David confessed that supporting the Imps has taken over his life: “I feel part of a family with Lincoln. I feel like it’s my mission in life to make the club as popular as possible here in America. I was up at seven in the morning watching a friendly, I even did my hair for it, I can’t remember the last time I did that.
“I watch everything related to the club on the internet, I want to know every detail, I have read the Wikipedia page hundreds of times. You guys make the Away Days videos throughout the season, I watch them all the time on YouTube randomly, I love them a lot!
“On a match day, iFollow is all I have because it is so much better than having to wait a day to see how we did, to me iFollow is my life raft, I don’t have any other way to watch the club.”
With the 2019/20 season cut short due to Covid-19, David finished by explaining how he wanted to do his part for the club.
“When the virus started, I wasn’t aware of how much it effected the smaller clubs in England. I soon realised how many clubs were getting zero revenue so I would start to donate to small clubs, if I can’t be there physically, I want to play apart from over the Atlantic.
“I won the auction for Max Melbourne’s shirt, so I am so excited to get hold of that! Whatever I can do to make me feel like I am doing my part, I will do as a fan of the club.
“There are so many unappreciated jobs at clubs that get zero recognition, I felt like I should try and help, if I was there, I would have volunteered to do whatever was needed to be done.”
David has also kindly offered to buy pizza for supporters who helped volunteer during the earlier months of the year following coronavirus; “I saw a post about volunteers being needed to help prepare the stadium, and I thought I could maybe buy pizza for the people who stepped forward and I got a few emails back.
“Here in America if you do a community event, or you help your friend out you’ll get pizza, so I just wanted to take care of the people who had helped the club.”