It’s time for the final part of our Your Corner student initiative as Springwood Sixth Form’s Jonathan Senter pens his second column of 2020/21
West Norfolk is home to a lot of clubs, players, and supporters of football. However, one club are head and shoulders above all else.
Since King’s Lynn Town’s reformation in 2010, the club have seen little else but success and promotions, going from level nine of football’s pyramid to the National League in 10 years.
As much as this could be pinned down to luck, or just the quality of the coaching staff and team, it’s intriguing to dive into the reasons why this may have happened. Especially when compared to Wisbech, a similar town just a couple miles west in Cambridgeshire.
When Lynn were reborn, they and their A47 rivals were playing at the same level. Both clubs were of similar stature, though Lynn had a bit more of a history. So why are Lynn now fighting to stay in the National League while the Fenmen are stuck at Step Four?
Both clubs were going through a lot of changes when Lynn returned as a new club, while Wisbech ditched Fenland Park for a new ground.
One change could have been the boost given to Lynn to get away from their arch-rivals.
Gary Setchell departed the dugout at Wisbech to become joint-boss, and then sole boss, at The Walks.
That was a real blow to the Fenmen and their fans as Setchell – who did return for a second spell after being sacked by Lynn in 2017 – had built a good reputation, steering the club from relegation contenders to a defined presence in the league.
The losses for Wisbech didn’t stop there though, with players such as Alex Street, a record-breaking goalkeeper at Lynn, and Jordan Yong, who spent seven years with the Linnets, as well as a couple of others following Setchell across the border.
It could be suggested that when Setchell took his leave and brought a few players with him, it slowed the major development that he made at Wisbech, which kept them from developing further. The club have been promoted once in the last 10 years and generally being underwhelming in league tables ever since.
However, there could be many other pieces in play. Lynn having a close relationship with Norwich City has its benefits, bringing in such instrumental figures as Archie Mair, Simon Power and Alfie Payne on loan.
It seems Lynn have more connections, and with Setchell’s move had a lot more room to grow, compared to Wisbech.
However, with how unpredictable English leagues can be, who knows what could happen next?
Gash a missed man at The Walks
It’s without a doubt that Michael Gash is widely known as a Lynn legend.
His four seasons of service saw him involved in some of the club’s most successful moments; from his late extra-time winner against Warrington in the Super Play-off Final, to watching the club go all the way to the National League.
He made many memories, scoring 42 goals before departing in May 2021.
The reason for Gash’s departure was that he could not commit to full-time football, because he works as a tree surgeon.
Shortly after leaving Lynn, he signed for Peterborough Sports, who are in the Southern League Premier Central Division, where he has scored two goals in four starts.
It’s sure that he’ll make many more memories and fans there, as he seemed to gain quite a following at Lynn, with fans sad to see him go.
Sports’ manager Jimmy Dean also has nothing but praise for Gash, saying that he adds undoubted quality to his competitive squad.
Money matters at ‘top’ level
It could be suggested that the takeover of King’s Lynn Town by Stephen Cleeve has been a big influence on their success in recent years.
But Lynn aren’t the big hitters they used to be now they’re at the top of the non-League pyramid. That is apparent when compared to some of their National League rivals.
It’s been tough for teams like Lynn over the last year due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic.
Donations have had to be asked for to stay afloat and many players have needed to be furloughed to cut costs.
However, just like Lynn were to other clubs not too long ago, there are a few teams in the league who still can spend large, such as Wrexham, due to investment from Hollywood film stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
Clubs such as Wrexham and Salford City – who were taken over by former Manchester United players and are now in League Two – have received heavy criticism and have been told by fans across the country that you can’t buy the lower leagues of English football.
This is being backed up by not much, or slow, progress being enjoyed after the large investments.
As many fans would also agree, you can’t buy the passion that is found around clubs such as Lynn – even though they may not be ‘big hitters’ any more.