A fan's-eye view from Turf Moor, with Stephen Cummings

ONE of the by-products of following the Clarets away from home is that it allows you to visit various nooks and crannies of this green and pleasant land which would otherwise remain unseen.

Sometimes this is a good thing - the picturesque surroundings of York and Shrewsbury are well worth strolling around for a couple of hours. Other days you get Rotherham.

And sometimes you get days like last Saturday which brought with it a visit to the surreal city of Lincoln. The first indication that something was awry came at about 2.30pm. We were wandering around the back of the stand which housed the majority of Lincoln fans, yet there was barely a soul to be seen. And this just half an hour before the game started.

A further sign that the people of Lincoln were not totally enamoured with their football team came in the shape of the many miniature Man United replica kits stuck in the bedroom windows of a number of terraced houses which were on the same street as the ground itself.

Yet not even this prepared us for the frankly bizarre notice in the front window of one of the houses. It read: "For sale - one slipper - £3." I am not making this up. I have witnesses. I am still in a state of utter bewilderment as to who this notice was meant to appeal to. There again, maybe there is a high concentration of one-legged souls in the city - in which instance the current England coach would be well advised to stay away from the area.

At the ground itself the madness was stepped up - as were the admission prices - £13 to stand. Having parted with that amount of cash we would have welcomed the opportunity to sit down and recover from the shock. Instead we were "entertained" by the club's mascot - a red imp. The creature didn't look as though it had been spewed from the fiery bowels of hell to cause mischief and mayhem. In fact it bore a closer resemblance to an explosion in a fuzzy felt factory.

Not that the silliness ended there. Every time Lincoln won a corner or a free kick near our penalty area an ear-splitting air raid siren started up. One assumes this was to encourage Lincoln. But all it succeeded in doing was deafening those unfortunate enough to be stood nearby - ridiculous in the extreme. Still, this was Lincoln, we should have expected as much.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.