Setchell has stayed true to his word by making ‘brave’ changes to his King’s Lynn Town squad

12:00 01 June 2012

New signings for King

New signings for King's Lynn Town Football Club (from left) Lewis Webb, Sam Gaughran, Russell Dunkley and Richard Bunting. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

Gary Setchell promised he would make changes to his side after they limped across the finishing line last season, and it’s not taken him long to stay true to his word.

Few fans would be able to disagree that King’s Lynn Town, who failed to win their Step Five league two seasons in a row, needed to make improvements to be able to cope at a higher level.

And as the Linnets prepare for next season, those developments – on a playing level at least – were only going to come by making tough decisions.

While releasing the popular Ashley Deeney, Luke Thurlbourne and Kieron Davies may, in some parts, have caused a slight stir, telling club legend Jack Defty his time in a blue and gold shirt was over created debate that almost registered on the Richter scale.

How dare Setchell release a man who has performed so outstandingly for his hometown club during his 10 seasons at The Walks? Questioned many fans. Why have we got rid of a player who was leading scorer in the past two seasons? Was what others asked.

While the facts about Defty don’t lie – 161 goals in 405 appearances for the club in its former and current guise – neither does the most important stat.

Setchell is the boss and he makes the calls. He will live and die by his decisions and he is paid to stick his neck on the line. The buck stops with him.

Whatever was discussed in the meeting between player and manager on Saturday may never come out in the open. As to why he has been shown the door, we may never fully know.

But, Setchell clearly thinks his team can cope without Defty, even if the big striker has been sensational for Lynn.

Maybe the arrival of Long Buckby’s equally talismanic frontman Russell Dunkley, who gave Ross Watson and Stuart Wall a torrid time during the side’s meeting in April, ended Defty’s days.

However, the simple fact is this. While legends are never forgotten, most leave clubs at some point. Those that don’t, like Ryan Giggs at Manchester United and Jamie Carragher at Liverpool, will eventually retire.

Football waits for no one and in Setchell’s mind now was the time to end Defty’s, and the three others’ time at The Walks.

Perhaps the bravery in making ‘not easy’ calls deserves applauding because sentimentality cannot get in the way in the Evo-Stik Division One South. The teams in the Northern League, full of better quality players, will take no prisoners.

Richard Bunting ran the game during Lynn’s loss at Buckby and Setchell will need a dominant force in the midfield engine room more than ever.

Lewis Webb has played at a higher level, as has the supremely talented Sam Gaughran. More often than not, teams with the best players challenge for honours. And that is what is expected at Lynn.

Setchell said he learned a lot about his players towards the end of the season. Much of it was not good. Finishing runners-up twice was disappointing enough.

But it’s clear already that Lynn don’t just want to consolidate at Step Four. They want to kick on again. And bringing in fresh faces is a way of doing that.

New arrivals will be keen to impress. Familiarity can breed complacency, but competition for places can only instill a winning mentality. The cream in the squad will rise to the top.

That cream went sour at the end of last season and Setchell simply can’t afford to let it happen again. Because if it does, he might be the next one heading for The Walks exit door.

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