Bobby Linn: title victory at Lichties is the best feeling yet

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The team spirit at Arbroath has been particularly inspiring this season during their march towards the League Two championship.

It’s something every player has talked about since the title was claimed on that dramatic Saturday at Forthbank.

These footballers love the club, the manager, their teammates and the fans.

But Bobby Linn’s passion for the Lichties seems to go even further than all others.

When talking to Bobby about Arbroath’s title victory, the emotion was pouring through everything he said - this is a guy who is truly besotted with his club.

He’s won trophies before, he’s played for bigger clubs than the League Two champions, but this year’s achievement was very, very special for the 31-year-old.

He said: “This morning, I was getting changed and I had to take a moment to myself to sit and think ‘wow, we’ve actually just achieved what we set out to achieve’. It doesn’t seem real yet that it’s happened, it hasn’t sunk in yet.

“It’s an incredible feeling to go and win the league after the four years I’ve had at the club. We’ve had lows, we’ve had highs, but we’ve never quite got over the line and to do it finally means so much.

“It’s probably the best club I’ve played for to be honest. It’s a club I hold very close to my heart.

“The fans have been great with me, every manager has been excellent with me.

“I’ve really settled at Arbroath and the guys that have won the league are a credit to the club. Not one of us ever gave up, we always believed and we managed to finish the job.

“That was my third title, I’ve won titles at Greenock Morton and East Fife. People say your first one means the most but not for me.

“It’s this one that means the most to me. When I came here I was welcomed by everyone and I found it to be a very friendly club. The whole time I’ve been here they’ve looked after me, they’ve been great to me. As a club, a fanbase.

“I’ve given my all for the club and I feel appreciated by the club. Having seen what’s happened here, relegation and everything, it means so much to these people and it means so much to get them back up to League One after being here for that relegation.”

Those are some fabulous things to say about the club, and they’re not soundbites - it’s obvious what the club means to the guy.

Equally, Bobby oozes respect and admiration for Dick Campbell, a manager he says is among the best he’s worked under.

He said of the gaffer: “The manager just rubs off on you. His character, his charisma, it just rubs off on players. He makes you enjoy football and he makes you enjoy life. You come in happy, you go home happy.

“It’s a credit to the man he is and as a manager, he’s up there with the best I’ve worked with.

“One thing he’s done is bring in the whole package, it’s not just a player he brings in. It’s a player who will fit in with the dressing room, understand what he wants from us.

“Look at the squad, I think we’ve got a great mix. We’ve got guys who aren’t playing but they’re still content. You see other teams where those guys will have spat the dummy but not here. These guys have been crucial and every man makes the squad what it is.

“The dressing room and spirit we’ve got, we’ve got a lot of character and quality in there. Most of all we’ve got an unbelievable team spirit and that’s what’s kept us going, along with the experience of the manager and his team.

“I mean, five minutes before the game the gaffer’s got Bryan Prunty up singing. I’ve been in dressing rooms when people are banging their heads off of each other or the wall, then you’ve got Bryan Prunty singing a song five minutes before the biggest game of the season.”

The scenes following Arbroath’s 1-1 draw with Stirling Albion showed the world just how much the title win meant to the fans, but the players knew what it would mean to their supporters long before then.

Linn said he and his teammates had no option but to go and do it for the fans given how special such an achievement would be for them.

“The fans have always been there, they’ve always been to support us in the bad or good,” said Bobby.

“I’ve got photos on my phone, seeing the smiles on some of the fans’ faces - the kids’ faces - is just incredible. My family were up on Saturday and they couldn’t quite believe the response we got as a team. It was incredible.

“I’m made up to be part of a team to win the league for Arbroath and I hope the fans are happy, we’re over the moon and I’m sure they will be too. The fans have been in good numbers all season. They take a great travelling support whatever the game.

“As the weeks went by and we could really start to believe, we were seeing it on social media what it meant to them. We wanted to do it for them - how could we not go and win the league for them? For ourselves as well.”

Some of the players have commented on Forfar Athletic’s celebrations after they went 11 points clear of Arbroath in February, and Bobby was no different.

He said: “We were coming off and there were murmurings of ‘look, look’ so we turned around and there were guys on their knees, celebrating and high fiving each other. Some of us went out and watched it for five or 10 seconds. We went into the dressing room and we were dejected.

“We expected the gaffer to come in and go through us but he did the complete opposite. That is Dick Campbell’s quality. He came in and said ‘everybody needs to relax, I’ve got belief in you, you need to believe in yourselves that you can win this.’ From that day it left a really bitter taste in our mouth.

“It definitely put a fire in our belly and fired us on. I remember going home that day, still believing in us and I was thinking the celebrations were a bit over the top.

“I’m not going to say Forfar ignited our season, it wasn’t a case of that. It was a case of the celebrations on our park hurting us.

“We’d had one over them before that game then they beat us 1-0.

“I just think something crept into them that day.”