Lincoln City FA Cup success driven by two Greenwich graduates
Danny Cowley (left) and Nicky Cowley at Sincil Bank, Lincoln City’s ground.
Greenwich alumni Danny and Nicky Cowley are in the spotlight this weekend as Lincoln City, the football club they manage, heads for the 5th round of the FA Cup with an away tie against Premier League Burnley.
The brothers’ achievement is astonishing. Ten months ago they were full time PE teachers and Lincoln languished half way down the National League (that’s the 5th division for the non-footballers amongst us).
Today Lincoln heads the National League and is one of the final 16 teams to reach the 5th round. A total of 736 clubs start out in the qualifying rounds. Like last year’s Premiership winners Leicester City, Lincoln is surpassing all expectations.
Danny and Nicky both took Physical Education degrees at Greenwich, graduating with first class honours in 2002 and 2003 respectively. “We wanted a really good university offering a course leading to a teaching qualification. We loved our time there”, says Danny.
He says it was at Greenwich that he found a love of teaching: “The degree gave me direction, and the skill set to be confident as a teacher. It also taught me to be a lifelong learner, to be open and keep trying to improve.
Lincoln’s players celebrate their famous win over their Championship opponents Ipswich Town back in round 4.
Lincoln’s FA Cup run in numbers
“Knowledge is the bomb. The more knowledgeable, the more you are able to help people.”
And yes, there are similarities between teaching and running a football team. “It’s about making the most out of other human beings”, says Danny. “I enjoy working with people and I look for the best in them. I am there to maximise what they can do rather than focus on what they can’t.”
Both brothers started out wanting to become professional footballers but had to give up due to injuries. “The next thing was football management”, Danny says. They worked alongside each other as teachers too, at the FitzWimarc School in Rayleigh, Essex. Danny was Head of PE and Nicky Head of Boy’s PE. Both are married with young families.
“We’ve always been close, always lived in each other’s pockets”, Danny says. “The trust we have in each other is very important.”