FOOTBALL: By the time many of you are reading this column, King’s Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve and his manager Tommy Widdrington should have completed two meetings the pair had planned, writes Mark Hearle.
They will probably have been chewing the last remaining morsels of fat from the 2021/22 season and planning and plotting for the new life the club face in National League North come August.
Lynn completed their final National League fixture for a season at least with a 2-1 defeat at Wealdstone in a game that mirrored a fair chunk of the final third of the season as they took the lead only to be pegged back before conceding another late goal.
With the action on the pitch completed, it leaves the decks clear for the chats to begin and for the people that matter to throw their ideas into the ring as the planning starts.
It would appear from comments made by Widdrington ahead of his team’s final game that his notepad would have been rather full ahead of his meetings with his chairman.
Overnight stays for long distance trips north, along with training facilities and recovery areas all appeared high on the boss’ wish list ahead of his summit with the man charged with controlling the club’s finances.
The problem of a training area is not a new one. A couple of years ago I spent hours with Stephen driving to various sites in the area, checking out what was on offer and if the site fitted the criteria of the club’s needs. More often than not they didn’t and, if they did, the asking price of the land most certainly was not.
At the beginning of this season Lynn entered into an agreement with Heacham to use their facilities for training purposes as a short-term fix to the problem.
Lots of new-build stadiums include superb training pitches and areas set aside for game recovery time – Barnet being a good example – but with The Walks being a council-owned facility, the chances of that happening at present appear remote.
One thing that has become normal over the past few seasons is the club travelling the day before a game, staying in a hotel before the following day’s fixture.
There are some real corkers in relation to long-mileage trips next season – Blyth, Spennymoor and Fylde spring readily to mind for starters as ‘overnighter’ material.
However, for balance I remember a trip to Blyth on a wet, cold December afternoon on the day of the game and returning home with three well-deserved points!
The chairman has always assisted his managers with the provision of hotels for the team ahead of long-distance games and I see no reason as to why this will not continue.
All the early chat appears to show a desire for Lynn to make a quick return to the National League so it appears the powers that be are happy that the club will be ready if, at this time next year, they are celebrating promotion, as opposed to the gloom of relegation being felt at present.
Even though there will be some long away days for the Linnets next season there will equally be some much shorter ones too, notably to Peterborough Sports. The Turbines have enjoyed a steady rise through the leagues and I’m sure are looking forward to playing at their highest-ever level. The Linnets had to dig deep to beat in the FA Cup this season, despite being two levels higher that day.
Two former Walks favourites, Michael Gash and Ryan Fryatt, have both played their part in earning their team promotion and it will be good, hopefully, to see them back at The Walks.
How both, especially Ryan, were allowed to leave the club in the first place is beyond me and, in my opinion, have never really been replaced with a like-for-like player.
I’m sure another match all Lynn supporters will be looking out for when the fixtures are released is Kettering Town’s visit
Former boss Ian Culverhouse’s side missed out to Boston United by a couple of points for the final play-off place in National League North and will probably be kicking themselves because if they had won their game at Curzon Ashton they would have pipped the Pilgrims by a point for that much sought after spot.
Clunan answers in style
FOOTBALL: A good piece of news to be announced by the club in the last few days was of Michael Clunan being named the supporters’ player of the season, following a tremendous campaign for the popular Linnets captain.
I felt that Michael came in for some unfair stick from some supporters last season, who questioned if the local man could cope in the National League.
He has responded in the most perfect of ways in a season that has brought him numerous man of the match awards, along with two personal milestones – making his 300th club appearance along with scoring his 50th goal for his hometown team.
I know that MC’s performances are always greatly appreciated by his teammates, as he often gets through so much work for the team that goes unnoticed by some on the terraces.
He’s still a relatively young man and still has a great deal to offer the club.
For me I feel it’s very important to secure his signature as quickly as possible for next season before any one of a number of suitors come calling.
I’m sure that Michael will shine even more brightly at Step 2 level.
Finally for today, a reminder that I’m looking for your views as to why crowds have been so low at The Walks this season and what the club need to do to attract more back through the gates for next season.
I have already had a good response, with differing views on how the club can move forward following the disappointment of relegation.
If you would like your thoughts airing next week, drop an email to email@example.com or send a direct message to me at Twitter @kltfcmedia
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