FOOTBALL: And then he was gone… Following frenzied speculation and rumour, King’s Lynn Town’s brief and to-the-point statement confirmed that Ian Culverhouse was leaving the hot seat came as no surprise to many.
Saturday’s defeat to Aldershot proved to be the last straw for Culverhouse, who had admitted after the game that he would be doing some soul searching before an expected knock on his door from the chairman. That duly arrived on Monday.
My colleague Gavin Caney has highlighted ‘Cully’s’ achievement’s in his column today so I will only add that Ian provided me with some of the most memorable times at the club that I will probably ever see in my lifetime.
For that I will always be grateful, and to the players who delivered back-to-back promotions, cementing their places in the club’s history.
Of course that is the past and what is more pressing now for Lynn fans, and those with any kind of interest in the club, is the future – more immediately what happens next.
Paul Bastock will be looking after team affairs on an interim basis and will steady the ship in the short term. With Lynn having a free Saturday tomorrow, the pressure is eased short term.
The emphasis now falls firmly on owner Stephen Cleeve and where he looks for a replacement.
He will have targets for sure; whether he can lure them to a club that look to be in a relegation dogfight is another matter. I still believe the situation the Linnets find themselves in is, by the most slender of margins, still retrievable.
You have to think that anyone coming in will get some kind of reaction from a group of players that must be low on confidence and a few wins would get the wheels moving again.
The club are also inviting applicants for the job and, in my time in and around the place, there was usually a surprise or two as the CVs arrived.
The clock is already ticking with the visit of Dover just a week away, meaning an appointment ahead of that game may be pushing things a bit.
However, reading between the lines from news filtering from the club this week, all applications for the managerial role must be logged by close of play today with the chairman saying that, ideally, the new man could be in place by the middle of next week so as to take in a couple of training sessions ahead of next Saturday’s match.
I totally understand the ‘there’s no time to waste’ attitude from the club in getting someone into the role as soon as possible. However, I do hope enough time is taken to get the appointment correct, even if that means Bastock taking charge next weekend.
It’s my opinion that this decision is one of the biggest Mr Cleeve will have taken in his tenure as chairman. He wants to stay in the National League and consolidate the club’s position at the premier level of English non-League football.
It is a big task but not an impossible situation that the new man will face.
The chairman will need no reminding what happened following Simon Clark’s appointment a couple of seasons ago – and this time Culverhouse will not be riding to his rescue (indeed, I rather suspect Rob Back and Neil Fryatt won’t be either).
Just as a safety measure, I would take a look at someone who has experience of the level of football below, just in case the Linnets suffer relegation, and also take a close look at their recruitment record. That will be vitally important in the weeks going forward.
There is little doubting that some wheeler dealing is going to be needed on the squad, and quickly, to give them any chance of surviving what has been a torrid season to date.
Even though new striker Ken Charles arrived last week, the team is in desperate need of a proven striker who can hit the ground running.
At present there appears to be no clear favourite as to who the new incumbent of the hottest seat in town will be.
I was contacted by long-standing supporter Callum Rix, who has suggested the joint management duo of Bernard Morley and Anthony Robinson, who were recently relieved of their duties at National League North Chester.
The name of Simon Rusk keeps popping up as well, following his dismissal from Stockport County a month-or-so ago.
Whoever eventually gets the job will have to produce results instantly and that is going to be tough.
After the six-pointer with bottom club Dover next week, the Linnets travel to high flying FC Halifax the following Tuesday before entertaining Nantwich in the FA Trophy the Saturday before Christmas.
The holiday schedule sees a home Boxing Day encounter with Notts County, followed by a trip to Grimsby before kicking of 2022 by visiting Chesterfield.
Facing a run of fixtures like that, the new manager can become an instant hit with the fans if he can collect points from those.