The Linnets will be taking on a Norwich City team on July 16.

FOOTBALL: We have now got our pre-season fixtures arranged with the visits of MK Dons (July 13), Norwich City (July 16) and Peterborough United (August 3) all confirmed, along with trips to Bishop’s Stortford, Chelmsford City, Stratford Town and Alfreton Town, writes Mark Hearle.

It is a mixed set of fixtures where minutes on the pitch, new formations and players gelling are all very much the plan. 

I think it’s a very attractive set of home fixtures with the centrepiece of course being the visit of Premier League Norwich City on a mid July Friday evening. 

We are still living in Covid times and, as things stand, we will have to limited numbers of spectators inside the stadium for the first two fixtures, which is a great shame. Tickets are available to buy online at – click on the match tickets link. 

The club will be using the outstanding facilities at Heacham FC for training purposes when the team report back for pre-season training in a couple of weeks. The club have been looking for sometime for a facility to train on in the week following the confirmation that the club were going full-time a few weeks back. 

It is the aim to eventually have our own facility but in the meantime an agreement has been reached with the progressive Anglian Combination side for ourselves to use their facilities. 

Part of the deal is that a few of the players who have been left without a team following the club’s decision to drop their Thurlow Nunn League teams will play for Heacham next season, which is a beneficial move for both parties I am sure.

From my point of view, I can see the club’s decision to pull the plug on the youth team and why it has been taken. I’m a little disappointed in regards to the under 21/reserve team also being pulled though. 

Most, if not all, of the youth team are in the club’s and KES Academy set up and will play in the National League’s Alliance tier of football so that does make sense. 

I also know that a majority of last season’s u21 outfit was made up of a lot of the players from the youth side so at that age you don’t want to be burning out young players before they have begun their careers. We also cannot forget the huge gap we now have between the first and what was the old reserve side. 

Following the restructure, we now have three teams within the club – first, academy and ladies. 

The women’s team will be playing in the Eastern Region Women’s Premier Division following their promotion. They have a couple of open training sessions planned for early July for potential new players and are looking to add to their backroom staff. All the details are available to view on the official club website. 

Hopefully everyone is enjoying the Euros on TV. ‘Enjoying’ may be a loose term as some of those England performances haven’t been the best have they? 

As I write these notes our opponents next week are still to be decided but if it’s France or Germany at Wembley we have got to step up our game to compete. I’ve been really impressed with Italy and Holland but won’t be making any predictions on eventual winners – that went badly wrong with my tips for promotion from the National League so I will keep a respectful silence!

My next column will be on July 30, when I will bring you the latest news from The Walks when we will  be three weeks away from the beginning of the new season.