Ian Culverhouse and Stephen Cleeve.

His departure left a sour taste in the mouth.

Ian Culverhouse’s exit from King’s Lynn Town would have been hard to handle at the best of times. But when it came via a Non-League Paper interview, and in the run-up to the reformed club’s biggest game, it’s a surprise the former Norwich City defender wasn’t chased out of town with burning pitchforks.

The Walks has long been the home of the county’s most incredible non-League soap opera. Yet even the most creative scriptwriter would have struggled to dream up the latest Linnets’ saga.

Culverhouse, the man who took Lynn to within one win of National League North/South, is back. Back working for a chairman with whom his relationship seemingly broken down beyond repair.

Perhaps the grass wasn’t greener away from Lynn. Because it certainly isn’t now thanks to a dramatically improved playing surface – the state of which clearly irked Lynn’s returning manager during his first tenure.

That public show of dissent seemed to be the moment that the bridges between Culverhouse and chairman Stephen Cleeve started to burn. Their relationship appeared to have completely gone up in smoke by the time they went their separate ways. However, now they’re back working together perhaps they’ve been extinguished and rebuilt. 

Returning to Lynn was far from the easy option and it shows that both men have been able to put aside their differences, or found a way forward regardless of them.

Plus, it helps that while, to many, Culverhouse went from hero to zero thanks to his departure, plenty of others still adore him.

He’s taking on a very similar squad to the one he left and a group in a much better frame of mind thanks to the sterling work of Rob Back and Neil Fryatt. 

There’s a long, long way to go and, if Lynn can get anywhere near to the sort of form they showed last term, they’ll soon start collecting enough points to fly back up that table.

With so many points to play for, and Culverhouse’s second coming getting back off to a winning start, you wouldn’t put it past him to reignite a second promotion push.

With the fans behind him it won’t take long for that momentum to build and the smiles to return. Let’s just hope this time they last right up until the final ball of a season has been kicked because it’s the very least Cleeve and Lynn’s fans deserve. 

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