Canaries and Linnets can sing in perfect harmony next season
PUBLISHED: 19:35 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:35 16 May 2019
While Norwich City won promotion to the Premier League, Norfolk's second biggest club are also celebrating. Nick Conrad says its time both sets of fans embraced each others teams
Sitting outside a carwash on Saturday I was tuned into BBC Radio Norfolk, avidly following King's Lynn's play-off match with Warrington. Fellow customers, waiting for their cars to be scrubbed, would have been oblivious to what was happening in the north west. That didn't stop me punching the air with joy at the final whistle. The 3-2 victory means that next season the Linnets will be back in tier-two of the non-league system for only the second time in their history. Now let me give you an interesting fact which will make you smile.. King's Lynn and Ipswich Town are now only separated by League One and The Conference! What a boost for our county to have two teams on the up. I'm a massive Norwich City fan but I really believe those of us enjoying the Premier League next year should also support our neighbours further down the football pyramid.
The fixtures in the Premier League unpredictably bounce around the week. If you, like me, enjoy the set routine of Saturday football you'll be frustrated next year. But The Linnets could ride to the rescue. When The Canaries aren't in action it would be lovely to see our fans migrating west to The Walks. There you'll find traditional football in a beautiful atmospheric stadium. The opposition will also be of sufficient quality to appease Norwich fans' high standards. This year York City, Kidderminster Harriers and Hereford, among other teams who've recently experienced the professional Football League, visit The Walks.
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I'd love to see Norwich City acknowledge our role as the senior county team by offering to help Lynn out. A pre-season friendly at Carrow Road, with the profit from the game going into the West Norfolk club's coffers would be a lovely gesture. The recent testimonial for Wes Hoolahan and Russ Martin saw a bumper crowd rock up. The whopping attendance was helped because the match coincided with the promotion parade; however, I think quite a few of us should troop along to support The Linnets. You might question the notion of a 'top-down economy' but at least in football we can ensure that some of the riches at the top spiral down to the grass roots.
I have been asked if this county could really support and sustain two professional football clubs. It's a silly question - of course we can! I'm often travelling to parts of the UK, with a smaller populace than Norfolk, which boast two professional sporting teams. Often fans in these geographical areas hold affections for both teams, with the rivals being located in different cities. So, Norwich fans can go and support Lynn with a clear conscience. Ipswich will always be our enemy.
More than 1,600 supporters turned out at The Walks to watch their side book their place in the super play-off final on Bank Holiday Monday. It would be great to see this level of support at more games next year. We often hear fans bemoan the demise of 'The Beautiful Game'. At the Walks you'll witness 'real' football in all its glory. Void of prima-donna millionaires, this is proper Roy of the Rovers stuff.
Often people forget that there is more to our county than just Norwich-centric stories, achievements and issues. Our friends in the west often feel maligned and forgotten. Well now is the time to exercise our voices to demonstrate our passion for all things Norfolk. Good luck to King's Lynn next year and let's hope the whole county gets behind the team.