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Credit where it is due for a brave move by Linnets owner

PUBLISHED: 13:56 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:56 27 July 2018

King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve, second left, watching the action last weekend 
Picture: Nick Butcher

King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve, second left, watching the action last weekend Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

The North Norfolk coast is a magnet, its clutches hard to resist – and those who venture in that direction will testify.

Crossing north Norfolk to King’s Lynn last Sunday was fine ... until I hit the main drag outside of town where traffic was nose to bumper, heading for sunny Hunny and beyond.

Having battled through the traffic I ended up in the shade of the main stand at The Walks – a place of respite from the sun for those who went along to watch the climax to an ambitious four-team tournament which featured the hosts, the Under 23 teams from Legia Warsaw and Glasgow Rangers, and an Under 18s side from Norwich City.

We were treated to two games – the third-place play-off between Legia and the young Canaries before the final between the Linnets and Glasgow Rangers, which the former won 1-0..

It was more than decent entertainment: fortunately, I don’t have to pay, and while I know there were a few moans and groans about the price of a ticket, there was also a more than decent deal to watch all four games over the long weekend.

And with all due respect to them, we are not talking about to non league sides within a 70-mile radius of The Walks – we are talking expensively-assembled teams, two of which stayed locally.

The next step for those playing for Rangers is the Scottish Premier League. In charge of them was Graeme Murty, who ended last season in charge of the first team, and Pete Lovenkrands.

When you raise the calibre of teams, the prices go up as well. I know Lynn owner Stephen Cleeve copped a bit of flak last season over ticket pricing, but if a big team, with lots of fans, come to play at Lynn, is it not reasonable to expect a couple of quid to be added to the admission price?

I heard one fan complaining about this in the bar at Lynn once – while he was drinking his body weight in beer.

It’s clear attendances for the Friday and Saturday games at The Walks weren’t great, but there was at least a decent crowd, maybe up to 400, to watch Sunday’s efforts – and top efforts they were, in the conditions.I applaud those who turned out, but it was a shame there were not more: the quality was always going to be there.

As, I suppose, was the risk of Cleeve and the sponsors, Pineapple Sports Management. The fact Cleeve took the risk is to be applauded. In his programme notes, he makes the point that he has expand commercial activities to try and make more money, to better the tea, to better the standard of football and to bring success to the club and its supporters.

“You have to think outside the box to bring the club to the town rather than expect the town to come to the club,” he said.

“Sure if you get a big cup game then it is Christmas and you don’t need to do too much (so I am told|). but on a day-to-day basis we need to find ways to broadening our appeal and widen our support.

“This tournament is, of course, one such way, but we also need to look at day-to-day events that work, irrespective as to what happens on the pitch.

“If all your commercial work is geared at your form on the pitch then you are in all sorts of trouble if you hit a bad patch which all teams go through from time to time.”

Purely coincidental to all this, I spent some time with Cleeve between games on Sunday, chatting to him for a feature in our next Pink Un Magazine - out next Saturday, as you asked, and well worth buying.

It was a fascinating chat which illustrated how difficult it is to run a football club – even before a ball is kicked in anger.

Out of luck

Watching young speedway rider Robert Lambert in action this season has been a education – in how this 20-year-old somehow manages to break new barriers.

Lambert has almost been writing his own headlines – this season he has retained his British under-21 title, added to it the full British title and last weekend made his GP debut, as a wild card at the British GP in Cardiff.

It was at the Millennium Stadium where the script went a bit awry, as the harsh facts of life intervened. Lambert was excluded from his first race when his chain fell off at the start line and he ran out of time to get it repaired. He was then excluded from heats five and 20 by referee Christian Froschauer following collisions with Tai Woffinden and Jason Doyle respectively.

The first was a poor decision, the second a horror. But this is also a sport which punishes those with lightning reflexes who are too quick off the mark at the start – even if they don’t actually break the tapes, which is forbidden.

Strange transfer

Curious to see that commentating giant John Motson – who has completed the longest ‘lap of honour’ following news that he was leaving the BBC – is to join the Talksport radio station.

I liked Motty, and while he was past his sell-by date, the difference between the Beeb and Talksport is immense.

It looks like Motty will cover some Premier League matches and will be involved in a new show “speaking to a host of footballing legends for a series of shows for fans to relive the best of football past and present”.

Talksport is the station which once allowed ex-footballer Ian Wright to chat away about capital punishment (really).

During this summer’s World Cup, presenter Jason Cundy had to apologise for a TV interview in which he said female football commentators were too “high-pitched”.

“For 90 minutes listening to a high-pitched tone isn’t what I want to hear,” he said.

As Motty himself might have said: “The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club.”

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