King's Lynn Elite u16 with the trophy

FOOTBALL: It was a proud day for King’s Lynn Elite Football Squads coach Dan Buhlemann at the annual Pilgrim Cup competition.

The two-day event is hosted by Boston United and saw 140 academy and elite teams in action at ages ranging from eight to 16.

Despite facing opposition from the likes of Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, York City, Doncaster Rovers, Chesterfield, Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Bristol Inner City and the hosts, the Lynn youngsters excelled, reaching a quarter-final and two semi-finals with the u16s emerging overall champions.

“Our players were not fazed,” said football development officer Buhlemann. “It proved to be our most successful year in terms of performances and finishing places.

“After two successive seasons of making it to the semi-finals, the u16s went all the way, “It was a great way for them to end their time with the elite football programme.

“The five other squads we entered all did well and only just missed out on promotion from the group stages, some on goal difference.”

The Pilgrim Cup offers something different for the players. No results are recorded, it is mainly about player development.

Buhlemann explained: “Winning is not something that has to happen at all costs. Players at a young age playing without fear of failure or making mistakes will develop a more technical and intelligent player.

“The Pilgrim Cup is something that changes this.

“There are results, tables and to progress you have to win. This is the only time within our fixture schedule the players have this added pressure but what was great is that it did not change the way they applied themselves.

“They were confident on the ball, made good decision, were willing to take risks in the right areas and we were very proud of the effort given by all players.”

* In July, the King’s Lynn Elite Squads host their player evaluations. They are open to anyone from any club that will be playing u8 to u16 football next season. The evaluations will also see the return of a girls-only programme.

For more details visit or contact Dan Buhlemann on