Jak Hickman was one of many players tricked into filling in the gaps … but his career at King’s Lynn Town lasted only 36 minutes when he was injured at Wealdstone
– Photo credit: Ian Burt
There were some great days at The Walks celebrating the success of recent seasons. It seems strange, therefore, to point out that today’s events are worthy of equality.
It has been a terrible season. Not because Lynn struggled to win football games, but because of the circumstances off the field.
It is a little superficial to speak of the Covid pandemic in terms of its impact on a football game, but we have to. Every aspect of life is affected, so football – the greatest community sport of all – does not have to be left out.
But it is not just the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel that needs to be celebrated today, but the optimism: the next football season will be something like the old normal. Fans, noise, atmosphere – the around 600 fans of The Walks on Tuesday missed football. Those of us who were lucky hit what we missed. It was a little emotional, I have to admit. One or two regulars were a little quieter than usual. It was strange. Like so much from last year.
Given the public inquiries that are on everyone’s lips, it might be wise for the National League to take a long, hard look at itself. A little over a year ago, games could be played a week after all other games had ended.
Then it took a ridiculously long time to figure out how to fix the final tables and thus the promotion and relegation problems. Lynn benefited from the most obvious decision from the start – a point-per-game calculation.
But when the new season finally began, the greatest clanger of them all arrived. The teams agreed to continue playing as state funding was available through the National Lottery. This plug was pulled in the middle of the season. The government said that was always the plan, the National League said otherwise. But neither side had evidence.
It was a complete mess and it drove a wedge between the clubs that had cash and those that didn’t.
Dover was a club that did did not, and they called for a halt. Lynn wanted to follow suit. Then Dover was charged, so Lynn had to keep playing until they knew Dover’s fate. And it wasn’t good – a £ 40,000 fine and 12 point deduction at the start of next season.
If Lynn had stopped playing, they would have received similar treatment. So they kept playing, with players on vacation and “freebies” coming in from here, there, and everywhere just to make sure the season was over. They had to – a 12 point deduction would have reduced the favorites’ chances of winning to first place.
It was a scandalously arbitrary disregard of his member clubs – certainly those who were less well off. Your guilt for the financial burden they left has been somewhat lost in the excitement of returning fans.
The other reasons are closer to your home: Thanks to the stop gap players who run cartwheels have to make it through, the management team that worked with a blank canvas almost weekly, and an owner who figured out a way. Like it or not.
And then there are those we won’t see in a Linnets shirt again: Michael Gash and Ryan Jarvis are the first two. There will be more, but there are two players who reflect the last glorious years, two players who have made an important contribution to the success story.
Excellent on and off the field – and guaranteed many other offers on the table, which may be more personal than King’s Lynn Town.
It deserves to be a devious and emotional afternoon at The Walks. Getting through this season was almost as remarkable as it was immediately before.
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