FOOTBALL: Tomorrow sees King’s Lynn Town complete their National League season with a visit to Wealdstone for what is a dead rubber, following confirmation of relegation last weekend, writes Mark Hearle.
As has been the normal since the start of the calendar year, the Linnets gave their all against Eastleigh on Saturday, taking the lead, then finding themselves behind before two late goals put them back in front again only to concede an even later penalty in a 3-3 draw.
That ended any chance they had of lining up in the top league again next August but, as it turned out, the two dropped points made no difference as closest rivals Aldershot Town provided the surprise of the day, beating play-off chasing Notts County 3-1 to condemn Lynn, Weymouth and Dover to the drop.
So what now for King’s Lynn Town? Following two seasons of struggle, both on and off the pitch, it is expected that they will line up in National League North, level two of non-League football, next season alongside the likes of Hereford, Southport and Chester.
Lynn supporters will be well aware of the toughness of this particular league, having been promoted from it via the points per game method in the summer of 2020, following the suspension of the season due to the start of the pandemic.
It is also expected that manager Tommy Widdrington will remain as manager, having signed an 18-month contract last December after Ian Culverhouse had left the club.
It’s after this stage where the questions begin to appear and as of yet most have no answers. The biggest is if the club will remain full-time or revert back to being part-time.
The argument appears to be that by staying full-time the club would have a much better chance of achieving a quick return to the National League, as opposed to the part-time model with the players training two or three evenings a week.
There were just a few full-time teams in the NLN when the club were last in there, with part-time being the preferred way for the majority.
The league is a tough one and there is no guarantee of an immediate return next season if you’re full-time or not.
If I was the chairman I would return to the part-time format for next term for various reasons. Firstly the club are crying out for some sort of stability.
If they were to spend the following five seasons in NLN that, for me, would be success. I think level two football is the highest level Lynn can operate at in their current state.
For the club to establish themselves in the league, putting in solid foundations as they do so would be ideal for a further push a few years down the line.
In any case would the club be ready for another crack at National League football in 12 months? The club need to be walking again before they even begin to think about running.
I do expect to see a turnover of players as Tommy begins to put his stamp on the squad but this will not be easy with players on contract running for another year as well as possible cuts to the playing budget following relegation.
I don’t think major surgery is needed on this current squad. It’s all very easy to become knee jerk in the situation the Linnets are now in but I would think four or five good quality additions would make a big difference.
The club will need all of Tommy’s wheeler-dealer skills to put together a side capable of holding their own in what is a very competitive, and at times, physical league.
Who has solutions to loss of support?
FOOTBALL: The Linnets’ supporters have endured what has mostly been a miserable last couple of seasons.
I would like to think the change of scenery that the National League North will provide may just be the tonic needed to refuel the energy tanks ahead of new challenges.
However, it seems that more than a few have got out of the habit of going along to The Walks every fortnight for their football fix.
I mentioned last week the disengagement between supporters and players earlier in the season, which thankfully appears to have been rectified. It does seem, however, that problems run deeper than that.
The club has a great catchment area and to see crowd levels of around 850 watching established National League clubs visit The Walks is embarrassing.
The standard of food and admission prices were cited earlier in the season as reasons why people were staying away.
Steps were taken to rectify those areas but were they enough? Does more need to be done by the club to encourage fans to part with their money again and support the team from the terraces?
That is what I want to know from you, the supporters of King’s Lynn Town.
What does the club have to do to increase the levels of support through the gates come August?
Is it a case of admission prices being too high? Is it the general matchday experience or is there another reason you think that support dropped away while the club were playing at the highest level it’s ever been at?
Do you, the club’s supporters want National League level football at Lynn or would you be happier to be playing Southern League football again when the club were the big fish in the small pond?
• At the end of the month this column will be taking its summer break, with just one column appearing at the end of both June and July before returning to the usual weekly format for August.
I want to hear from you, the club’s supporters between now and the end of May on what needs to be done at The Walks ahead of the new season.
What players do you want to see stay or which new ones would you like to come into the club?
Do you want Tommy Widdrington to stay or would you like to see another change in the hot seat?
Along with these and the earlier questions I raised let me know either by dropping me an email to email@example.com or send a direct message to my Twitter account @kltfcmedia
Over the remaining weeks of May I will print and discuss the best issues raised as the club begins to build and plan for next season.
All I ask is that you include a name to your thoughts. Don’t be shy!