U21 International With Top Flight Experience Seals Bromley Agreement

Lincoln City goalkeeper Sam Long has signed for Sky Bet League Two side Bromley on a permanent basis.

The goalkeeper joined the Imps as scholar at the age of 16, having previously been at Crystal Palace and signed his first professional contract in 2020. He debuted in the Papa Johns Trophy against Manchester United U21s in August 2021, while his league debut came in a 2-1 win at Plymouth Argyle later that season.

During his time with the Imps, the 21-year-old also spent time on loan at Gainsborough Trinity, Drogheda, and Falkirk. He appeared in the top flight of Irish football for Drogheda and was highly thought of before his return to the LNER Stadium.

Lincoln’s Director of Football Jez George said: “Sam is a very talented young man but it is just so difficult to come through as a young goalkeeper and establish yourself as a No.1. As we cannot provide Sam with this pathway, it is only fair to allow him to find that opportunity elsewhere.

“The fact that we have signed two 23-year-old goalkeepers this summer, who are both on that journey, shows the patience and time required. We retain a future interest in Sam and believe that in time he will have a really successful career. It is just that for him the next steps need to be at a club where first team football is attainable, and we don’t think that is currently at Lincoln City.

“Our club is now in a position where young players can come through our academy and even if they are not successful in establishing themselves in our first team, they can still go and have a career as a professional footballer. Our academy should still take massive pride in producing these players. We wish Sam all the best for his future and we will all continue to be invested in his development.”

During his time at Falkirk, the club won promotion to the Scottish Championship, going a full season unbeaten. He appeared in a single game for Bromley during a loan spell in 2021/22, but was recalled by the Imps shortly after.

The keeper is eligible for England and Scotland. He was called up to the England Men’s Goalkeeping Development Camp at St George’s Park in April 2021. However, in March 2022, he was called up to the Scotland U21 side

Long becomes the third Imps academy graduate to move on in as many days, with Hayden Cann joining Dundalk earlier this week and Elicha Ahui moving to Drogheda.

Writer’s View

Sam Long is a highly capable keeper, one who was identified early on in his career as having talent, but he hasn’t quite made it at Lincoln.

He’s played second fiddle to some top keepers, including Carl Rushworth and Alex Palmer, and the club now seems to be leaning towards bigger keepers, those touching six foot five or more.

Long might not as tall, but he’s the sort of keeper comfortable with the ball at his feet, and if that’s the profile Bromley are after, they’ve got a real bargain in Long, who has impressed in his stints in senior football.

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