King’s Lynn Town boss Gary Setchell is a champion in the art of rebuilding his Linnets

Shane Tolley celebrates his title-winning goal against Sheffield. Picture: Matthew Usher Shane Tolley celebrates his title-winning goal against Sheffield. Picture: Matthew Usher

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
4:12 PM

A year ago today the Linnets won the title. Gavin Caney looks at how the club have progressed since that memorable April night.

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Gary Setchell. Picture: Matthew UsherGary Setchell. Picture: Matthew Usher

The supremely-talented goal-poacher’s 77th-minute header against Sheffield exactly 12 months ago sent the thousands who had squeezed into The Walks wild with delight as the Linnets clinched the Evo-Stik Division One South title with a game to spare. It was a stunning finish to a memorable campaign that will never be forgotten by anybody connected with Norfolk’s biggest non-league club.

Setchell’s side had defied the odds by challenging for the title in the first place and showed courage beyond the reformed outfit’s tender years to overhaul Coalville and lift the championship on that memorable April night. The date will forever be remembered. April 30, 2013, the night King’s Lynn really got their football team back.

For while Town had been in existence since Buster Chapman breathed new life into a Walks ground which was locked-up in late 2009, they had huffed and puffed in a level of the part-time game that the club had no aspiration to be in.

The ‘old’ Lynn were always described as a sleeping giant and harboured dreams of one day reaching the Football League. The ‘new’ Lynn though were enduring the nightmare of playing in surroundings that seemed to be more accustomed to the Sunday League.

From left: Sam Mulready, Chris Ward, Gary Setchell, Dan Quigley, Ryan Fryatt and George Thomson. Picture: TIm SmithFrom left: Sam Mulready, Chris Ward, Gary Setchell, Dan Quigley, Ryan Fryatt and George Thomson. Picture: TIm Smith

However, back-to-back promotions – albeit with a lucky one thrown in thanks to Long Buckby not going up – soon propelled Setchell’s side back to the level that the defunct outfit had played at before the light went out on the brightest star of the area’s semi-professional scene. Town are now recognised as a glowing light that has risen from the dark gloom of financial ruin. Their latest chapter came in this term’s Evo-Stik Premier Division – a Step Three league that is not for the faint hearted. Where men are monsters. And where sleeping giants are starting to awaken from their slumber. On the surface, an 11th-placed finish – for those who have their head in the clouds – is not good enough for a club of Lynn’s size. But surely those day-dreamers forget that this current set-up is a mere raindrop in football’s vast ocean? Town have been around for four years. They had to start from scratch. And what they’ve done since then is nothing short of a miracle. And yes, that includes this season.

While those in yellow flirted briefly with the play-offs, Lynn have still done excellently. None more so than the man at the helm who continues to work wonders. While some seem keen to forget this campaign has been about rebuilding and consolodating, let us remember that Tolley and eight of his squad members who carved their names into Town’s short history books a year ago are no longer at the club. Setchell gave them a chance, like he said he would, but has had to move on. Jason Lee, Jordan Yong, Sam Mulready, George Thomson and Dan Quigley are even better players now than they were that successful spring night. A season at a higher level will have done their progress, and that of Ryan Fryatt – a used sub against Sheffield – the world of good. And placing Mulready, Quigley, Fryatt, Thomson and Chris Ward on contracts until the end of next season has ensured less changes will already need to be made this summer.

Setchell and Lynn are, slowly, still moving in the right direction and if he gets it right this summer, expect to see many more memorable Walks moments come next season.

- Have your say on how the Linnets have fared this season by answering our short end-of-season survey here.

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