Family is meant to be there when you need it the most.
It might not be the closest. It might not be the smallest or largest. But when the proverbial hits the fan, it’s family that usually rallies around to provide support in a time of need.
Lots is written about the ‘football family’ and how it comes together in a time of despair or desperation. And, in some senses, the arms that have been thrown around King’s Lynn Town during their hour of need shows that having the beautiful game in the blood is all it needs to pull together.
Fans of the Linnets, supporters of Norwich City and others have pledged money to help support Norfolk’s cash-strapped National League club during their sad and worrying conclusion to a first campaign in non-League’s top-flight.
However, those clubs in the top tier with the haves are clearly happy to cut adrift those in their family who are evidently the have nots. And let’s not get started on those whose job it is to run the so-called elite league.
Thirteen clubs to seven voted to continue the National League campaign despite some, like Dover, being left on the brink of financial ruin. With no fans allowed in grounds still and an expected round of second grants not forthcoming, the fittest are only interested in their own survival.
Owner Stephen Cleeve can’t just keep ploughing his own money into Lynn. Loans look the most likely option and that’ll leave a financial noose around his club’s neck for the foreseeable future. You can argue risks have been taken and players have also been signed while begging bowls have been out. Yet don’t forget extra funds seemed likely to arrive through fans returning or further financial support being secured.
It looks like the Linnets have found a way to continue thanks to a mix of furloughing players and using some who will play for nothing. But Ian Culverhouse is going to be left with a threadbare squad to finish a term that no longer has any relevance to those not eyeing the Football League.
As it stands there’ll be no promotion into Lynn’s level, which means no relegation out of it. That might change yet as the farce and confusion around 2020/21 in the National League and its feeder North and South divisions continues. With talk of fines, points deductions or relegation for not fulfilling games, Lynn have to keep finding a way – like they did with an amazing 2-2 draw at Notts County on Tuesday.
They’ll have to try to stay afloat alone though because it doesn’t look like the National League family are that bothered if they sink without trace.
Hats off to Cocky and his Pedlars
The latest lockdown continues to bring the best out of people.
Jonny Cockerill, a name and face who will be well recognised among the local football and running scene, decided to take on a February challenge to raise money for mental health charity Mind.
The plan for him and the Swaffham Town A team he co-manages was to run, walk or cycle a combined total of 500 miles to raise £500.
So far they have raised more than £1,150 by covering 1,022 miles.
‘Cocky’ ran 165 of those himself, while the other 17 Pedlars players clocked up 857 miles between them.
“Everybody is at different levels when it comes to their fitness so everyone has smashed it in their own way,” said the Renegade Runner and goalkeeper I played with at Gayton last season.
“There’s been some amazing efforts from all involved. I’m very proud and the donations have blown us away.”
• You can donate until May 1 at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/500miles
New motto reaping its rewards
As everything in my body was screaming for me to stop, I remembered what I’d signed up to.
When you join Renegade Runners there’s a motto that underpins every aspect of the most supportive group I’ve ever been part of. That is ‘No Surrender’.
Whether it’s that battle to complete your first Couch to 5k, tackling a mad distance-based challenge or trying to better yourself, founder Matt Pyatt’s ethos inspires us all.
After two months of hard but structured 2021 training and more than 300km pushed through my legs, everything came to a head on Saturday.
Pyatt’s guidance and my determination had got me peaking at the right time but nothing quite prepared me for the mental battle that lay in wait as I took on my first time trial of the year.
This one, over 10km, was part one of a four-goal approach to taking running seriously. The aim, put simply, was to beat a personal best across that distance set at the 2017 Grand East Anglia Run (GEAR).
That 38 minutes and 52 seconds effort has provided four years of frustration for someone who has run primarily for added 11-a-side football fitness.
Despite battling some serious demons at the 7-8k mark, the words ‘No Surrender’ dragged me through the pain to a new PB of 37.26.
It feels like a breakthrough run and I’m ready to put myself through more suffering to achieve my other goals.