Linnets players finally got the chance to celebrate their remarkable National League North title success in traditional style.Pictures: IAN BURT.

FOOTBALL: It was just like a long chapter of a book being closed last Thursday evening when the team were presented with the National League North championship trophy, almost a year after the season had begun.

Of course, and ideally, Michael Clunan would have lifted the prize to a huge roar from a few thousand blue and gold bedecked supporters. 

However, we all knew at present that wasn’t going to be able to happen so instead the lift was greeted with a rather polite round of applause from a small and socially distanced group. 

The players looked to enjoy themselves but you could tell that the celebrations were of a restrained variety but that eventually will be forgotten when the moments of reflection take place and they take a glance at the very impressive medal they were each awarded. 

The large trophy was equally as impressive and now provides another talking point for a trophy cabinet that hasn’t seen so much action for many years! 

The evening wasn’t only about the team being given recognition, with the club also making it a clean sweep of the division’s individual honours. 

It came as little surprise to anyone that Ian Culverhouse collected the league’s manager of the year gong after guiding town to their second promotion in two seasons. 

Striker Adam Marriott went one better with a double, being named the league’s player of the season as well as receiving a trophy for being top scorer across the division. 

The award capped off a truly wonderful season and an achievement that few thought possible a year ago. 

For me, the evening drew a line under what has been an epic journey, setting us up now for the next part of the adventure.

Captain Michael Clunan lifts the championship trophy.

Speaking of the next adventure, earlier in the week the club received some initial guidelines in relation to the start of the 2020/21 National League season. 

These are at present sketchy, to say the least, but the general theme looks to be to begin the new season on Saturday, October 3, almost two months behind schedule. 

This ties in with the Government’s plans for elite sport, which are due to come into force two days earlier, when spectators will be allowed back into sports stadia in what initially appears to be much restricted numbers. 

At present the detail is brief but, and this is the good news, we now have a date to work towards. 

There are other parts of the document that will provide the framework needed to begin the process of implementing the procedures that will allow supporters back into the ground. 

Of course it’s not only about supporters; things must be right for players and staff, with no one under any illusions about the task in front of us and the work that is needed. 

Once we are in possession of more details, that work will begin in earnest. 

Finally, I have sad news to report. I was contacted last week by Andy Harrod, who told me of the passing of his father, Bob Harrod, following a short illness. 

Bob was a staunch Linnets supporter of many years and sat in the Hospital End of the main stand, among the many friends he had made over the years. 

As well as his love for the Linnets, Bob was also a big speedway fan and was a regular at the Norfolk Arena as well as The Walks. 

Mine, and everyone’s thoughts at the club are with Andy and all of Bob’s family.

Culverhouse insists ‘lads’ will not let town down

FOOTBALL: After a highly unusual few months, King’s Lynn Town manager Ian Culverhouse admits the next few weeks are likely to be equally surreal, writes Chris Milsom.

Thursday saw the club finally receive their trophy for the curtailed National League North season and Culverhouse said: “It’s been a long time coming, but it seems more real now.

“When the judgement came through that we had made it, this put the cherry on top.

“I can’t wait for the fixtures to come out now and then it will make it more surreal. 

“It was great to get together with the lads. I haven’t seen any of them since the last game.

“The lads thoroughly deserve all the plaudits because they were outstanding last season.

“It was a long wait for the decision, but (chairman)Stephen Cleeve was active on it. I’m pleased for him as well as he put a lot of time and effort in.

“We just had wait to see what the EFL were doing and the National League followed suit. As soon as the decision was made that it was going to be points per game, we knew we would fall in line. 

“It’s been an unbelievable season; to go toe-to-toe like we did in this league, as it’s a very hard league, and you’re only as good as the players you’ve got.

“We’ve got a very special group here. 

“There’s a close bond and we’ve kept the core of the group again and added some quality around it.

“The lads won’t let this town down. I’m pleased for the town and the supporters as well.”

Promotion puts the Linnets just one step from the Football League and, remarkably, just three levels below Culverhouse’s former club Norwich City.

“We are at new heights here,” he said. “We go into the league above and I can assure everyone we will give that a real good go. I can guarantee these lads won’t let the town or supporters down.”