Given his Norwich City past, it’s perhaps fitting that Ian Culverhouse’s exit mirrored that of his one-time Carrow Road counterpart.
Daniel Farke was absolutely adored for bringing two promotions and some of the finest football Canaries fans have ever seen. Yet he was sacked last month after a torrid start to life back in the Premier League.
Replace the German with Cully’s name and the Canaries with the Linnets and you’ve got a sentence that’s equally fitting for another managerial departure that took place in Norfolk this week.
Culverhouse’s impact at King’s Lynn Town was even more seismic than that of his illustrious counterpart. He propelled the club to its highest-ever position in the non-League pyramid – old or reformed.
But, despite the pain of watching it all unravel, the stock of Lynn’s manager finally went into the red on Saturday with an eighth league defeat on the spin. The untold amount of credit in the bank ran dry as the rain and misery poured on to The Walks.
Plenty of supporters are sad to see him go, while also conceding it’s the right call. It was the same for Farke. Whether it’s the level, whether it’s summer recruitment or whether it’s just the fact that the good times don’t last forever, Norwich removed sentiment from their decision and so did Stephen Cleeve.
Lynn’s chairman reached a mutual agreement to relieve Cully of his duties – which is ironic as it’s probably the first time the pair have agreed on anything for months. Their strained relationship, which saw Culverhouse leave for a first time in 2018 only to return, cast a shadow over The Walks’ air that was already becoming insufferably toxic. With director of football and middle man Robbie Back stepping away too, the tension turned up a notch. Cully has looked like a man who wanted out for weeks, while the Linnets have been sleepwalking towards the drop. If he was happy, he had a funny way of showing it during interviews and games.
He’s looked miserable and the same goes for the football on show from his players, especially during Saturday’s wretched display against fellow strugglers Aldershot.
Removing the man who has lost his magic touch might not be enough to save Lynn from relegation. The problems run much, much, deeper. But it gives them a chance. And it saves the heartbreak of watching it turn even more sour for Cully – a man who will forever be adored for the many, many, good times that arrived long before his sad departure.
The Culverhouse years
• Stephen Cleeve replaces Gary Setchell with Ian Culverhouse in February 2017.
• The former Canaries player and assistant guides Lynn to a mid-table finish before just missing out on promotion in his first full campaign.
• A play-off final defeat to Slough came after Lynn’s manager had already handed in his notice following a breakdown in his relationship with Cleeve.
• Just six months after his departure, Culverhouse – who had gone to Grantham – returns to Lynn in November 2018.
• The Linnets finish second before beating Warrington in the Super Play-off Final to gain promotion to National League North.
• Lynn go up again, this time on a points-per-game basis, thanks to the pandemic-affected campaign.
• A free National League hit in 2019/20 (no relegation but poor results) convinced Lynn to go full-time this summer.
• Culverhouse departs on November 29 with his side sitting second-from-bottom. Assistant Paul Bastock takes interim charge at The Walks.
Cue ace right to say sorry after amateur rant
Shaun Murphy has swapped sour grapes for humble pie.
The snooker player’s tasty comments about amateurs competing against professionals caused one hell of a stir after he, a pro, lost to Si Jiahui.
Murphy, who has pocketed more than £4million during his career, said “it’s wrong” that the 19-year-old was not “playing with the same pressures and concerns” that he was because “this is how I put food on the table”.
The widely-reported quotes came after Jiahui edged their first-round clash at the UK Open by six frames to five.
The remarkable rant not only smacked of a man who had got the hump that he’d been beaten by an amateur but stunk of hypocrisy, given Murphy tried to qualify for golf’s Open in 2019 as an, yep, you’ve guessed it, amateur.
The world No.6 did not take long to say sorry for his outburst that had been supported by some fellow and ex-pros.
Murphy told the BBC: “I think if I could go back in time I perhaps wouldn’t have said what I said, having just lost to Si Jiahu.
“I think it took the shine off his victory and I regret that, and I’d like to apologise to him for that.
“It was a great win, he played really well. He played better than I did, and he deserved
Shocks, upsets and underdog stories make sport all the more captivating and allows people to dream – long may it continue.